‘Despite 400,000 civilians killed in Syria, US State Dept wants military action against Assad’

© Bassam Khabieh
Fifty-one State Department officials are pushing for military operations rather than diplomacy and working with the Russian government to achieve peace in Syria, former US State Department official Ann Wright told RT.

Dozens of US state department officials have signed an internal memo calling on Barack Obama to carry out strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The memo signed by 51 staff members apparently calls for a judicious use of air and standoff weapons against Assad's forces to boost the diplomatic process. It's also said that it doesn't provide a scenario for a post-Assad Syria.

RT: What does this memo indicate about the current stance of the Obama administration on Syria?

Ann Wright: I am very intrigued with this memo - 51 State Department officials saying that there should be military action to force Assad to the negotiating table. I was a diplomat. I wrote a dissent channel cable just like these 51 did, but in mine, in 2003, it was to stop any military actions on Iraq, stop the overthrow of Iraq. And I am afraid that these 51 State Department officials are encouraging military operations rather than continued diplomacy and working with the Russian government to continue to put pressure on Assad for the ultimate purposes of peace in that country. There is no indication at all of any sort of a plan for post-Assad Syria, which was exactly the problem for post-war Iraq.      

RT: But shouldn’t it be a bombing campaign against ISIS and not Assad?

AW: Well, indeed. When you are looking at all of the parties that are wreaking havoc upon the citizens of Syria - whether it be the Assad government that’s dropping barrel bombs on civilians, whether it is ISIS, whether it is the various militias groups or whether it is the US - the bottom line is that the level of violence on the civilian community is abhorrent. We have 400,000 people already killed in Syria, and we have diplomats saying ”Let’s kill a few more and that will bring Assad to the negotiating table,” I’m afraid that doesn’t make any sense at all to me.    

RT: Do you think the next US presidential administration that will come to power in less than a year could toughen the stance?

AW: Unfortunately, I think from the rhetoric of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and their known stances on the use of military power to resolve essentially political issues, I think both of them will be strong for military operations in Syria to affect the change and that would be the overthrow of the Assad government. The US government still has major policies to overthrow other people’s governments. And we can certainly see that that does not result in peace and tranquility for the civilian population, whether it was in Iraq, whether it is in Syria, and it will not be that way for Syria.  

RT: According to the Washington Examiner, three committees in the House of Representatives are launching concurrent investigations into allegations the White House manipulated intelligence reports from Syria and Iraq, ultimately allowing the Islamic State to thrive indirectly. What are your comments?

AW: I certainly hope that is not true. The issue of how the US is supporting rebel factions wherever it is, that is always dangerous. When the US decides it is going to back certain groups in the overthrow of governments; we know for sure the Republican lead in the House of Representatives will be trying to do everything they can do to discredit the Obama administration in every way possible. That said I am hesitant to say that there may not be some level of truth to that because I don’t think our government knows exactly who they are giving the weapons to and where they actually end up, and some of them probably have ended up in the hands of ISIS.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.