The White House has ruled out a US military attack against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, saying the outcome of any such action would not be in America’s best interest. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that President Barack Obama “is determined to make sure that the United States does not make the unwise assessment that somehow we can succeed in imposing a military solution on Syria.”
He made the remarks in response to an internal memo signed by over fifty US State Department officials, who called for military intervention in Syria. Earnest stressed that any invasion of the Arab country would entail unclear results. “It’s also unclear exactly how that would have a positive impact on our efforts to degrade and ultimately [destroy] ISIL (Daesh),” he added.
The official said the first concern of the White House is “how do you do that without harming innocent civilians?” “Second of all, I’m not sure exactly what legal authority the president would rely on to do something like that. And three: It seems like a slippery slope,” Earnest noted. Secretary of State John Kerry met with eight of those “dissent cable” diplomats at his office on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Kerry and the authors exchanged views on whether there was a way to use US military forces to end the Syrian conflict before Obama leaves office at the end of this year. The diplomats’ urgent call for military action closely resembles the arguments Kerry has been making in Situation Room debates on how to force President Assad to accept a transition of power, administration officials said.
The United States and its allies formed a coalition that has been conducting airstrikes against purported Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014, without having any authorization from Damascus or the United Nations. The coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh. Daesh terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.