The Great Satan US is revisiting plans for Syria, including renewed military options, to step up pressure on the Syrian government and its Russian allies amid stalled international negotiations, according to a report.
Growing frustration with the stalled talks in Geneva and Russia’s refusal to put pressure on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has prompted the White House to reconsider “military, diplomatic and intelligence options” which were abandoned in favor of pursuing the talks, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“As the president has made clear, we are constantly looking at what options we can take to resolve the crisis in Syria. We are going to continue to work with all of the parties concerned to try to move forward on a diplomatic solution,” said White House National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.
“There is a general sense that it’s time to take another look,” a senior US official said of the military options, adding that the White House could engage in high-level discussions as early as this week.
Senior US officials have already notified their European counterparts of the decision to reevaluate the plans for Syria, the paper said.
Secretary of State John Kerry has been a “leading advocate” of reconsidering the options which range from using long-range missiles to prevent the Syrian government from flying its aircraft and training and equipping the militant forces fighting to topple the government.
Kerry has accused Damascus of stonewalling the Geneva talks thanks in large part to support from Russia.
“Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be distributing so much more weapons and so much more aid that they’re in fact enabling Assad to double-down. Which is creating an enormous problem,” he told reporters Monday in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
Exasperated by stalled talks, the top US diplomat recently sat down with retired Army Gen. and former CIA director David Petraeus to discuss “military and intelligence options” in Syria, the Wall Street Journal said.
President Barack Obama brought the US to the brink of an offensive missile campaign against Syria last summer – following reports of a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on Damascus.
Military officials say the Pentagon remains prepared to carry out the military options presented to the White House last year.
“We have forces in the region. We have ships in the Med. Everything we need to carry out a military option is there,” a senior military official said.
Senator John McCain, one of the key voices in US Congress on Syria debate, has recently called on the Obama administration to use its military plans against the Syrian government.
“The only way to achieve success at Geneva is to change the balance of power on the ground,” McCain said in a statement on Saturday, referring to the failure of the so-called Syria peace talks. The second round of negotiations ended on Saturday without any concrete results.
“There are options far short of an Iraq-style invasion that can, and should, be employed to change the calculation of the Syrian regime, stem the violence, and ultimately achieve a negotiated political solution,” McCain added.
The US has been funding and supplying arms to the militants fighting to topple the Assad government.