US army chief keeps Syria intervention option secret


The US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has refused to disclose his advice to President Barack Obama about the option of intervention in Syria.

General Martin Dempsey said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his re-appointment for another two-year term that the military has provided the Obama administration with “options” regarding the conflict in Syria without divulging any details.

“That issue is under deliberation inside of … our agencies of government, and it would be inappropriate for me to try to influence the decision with me rendering an opinion in public about what kind of force we should use,” he said in the Thursday session.

The top American officer has been opposed to a military action against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Members of this committee have been briefed on them (military options) in a classified setting. We’ve articulated the risk,” he said in reply to Senator John McCain. Dempsey said the hawkish senator has shown him as the one who is holding back a US military action on Syria.

The US has for months been training anti-Syria militants in Jordan and Turkey and has coordinated the shipment of thousands of tons of weapons to the armed groups fighting to topple the Assad government.

Weeks have passed since Obama ordered the CIA to provide the militants in Syria with weapons. However, the measure has faced with strong opposition in the Congress, bringing the plan to a standstill.

A significant number of lawmakers are against any increased US involvement in Syria’s conflict and fear a slippery slope into another Middle East quagmire.

“Providing a small amount won’t be enough to change the trajectory on the battlefield, and we’ll be called upon to give more, and more sophisticated weapons… I think the risk is too great that once we get in, it will be very difficult to get out,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.


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