Kerry: Obama Syria policy is collapsing, al-Qaeda poses a threat to US

Kerry: Obama Syria policy is collapsing, al-Qaeda poses a threat to US
Tue Feb 4, 2014 09:55:54

Two prominent Republican senators say that US Secretary of State John Kerry told them – along with 13 other members of a bipartisan congressional delegation – that President Barack Obama’s administration is in need of a new and more assertive policy on Syria.

He added that Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria pose a direct terrorist threat to the US homeland.

Kerry is said to have made these blunt assertions Sunday morning behind the closed doors of a cramped meeting room in the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, as the 50th annual Munich Security Conference was coming to a close in a ballroom two floors below.

A day earlier, Kerry, in a joint appearance with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the ballroom stage, gave an uncompromising defense of the Obama administration’s level of foreign engagement, saying that: “I can’t think of a place in the world where we’re retreating.”

Kerry’s presentation to the congressmen suggests that, at least in the case of Syria, he believes the U. could be doing much more.

His enthusiasm for engagement and dissatisfaction with current policy, is in one sense no surprise: Kerry has consistently been the most prominent advocate inside the administration of a more assertive American role in Syria.
Kerry’s Sunday briefing was meant to be private, but the Senate’s two most prominent Syria hawks, Republicans John McCain – the leader of the US delegation to the security conference – and Lindsey Graham provided a readout of the meeting to three journalists who flew with them on a delegation plane back to Washington.

According to Graham, Kerry gave the clear impression that Syria is slipping out of control. He said Kerry told the delegation that, “the Al-Qaeda threat is real, it is getting out of hand.” The secretary, he said, raised the threat of Al-Qaeda unprompted.


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