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U.S. reviewing military options in Syria to end conflict

U.S. reviewing military options in Syria to end conflict

Post ID: 31889 | POSTED ON: Feb 08, 2012
 
 

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — The U.S. government has begun a preliminary internal review of U.S. military capabilities in Syria in the event U.S. President Barack Obama calls for them, senior administration officials told CNN on late Tuesday. The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media, said the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command are looking into military options in Syria to end the ongoing crackdown. The officials emphasized that U.S. policy for now remains the use of non-military options. “Before we start talking about military options, we very much want to ensure that we have exhausted all the political, economic and diplomatic means at our disposal,” U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. Obama has also said he believes it is possible to end the conflict without outside military intervention. It is the first time U.S. officials have confirmed that the Pentagon is looking into military intervention in Syria, although such a review is not unusual. “The Pentagon is closely monitoring developments in Syria. It wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t put some ideas on the table,” one of the officials told CNN. “But absolutely no decisions have been made on military support for Syria.” There have been increasing calls for military intervention as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently stepped up his bloody crackdown against the popular uprising. Earlier this week, U.S. Senator John McCain called for the United States to help arm the rebels against the Assad government. Responding to McCain’s statement, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said arming the rebels is not the answer to end the conflict. “As the President himself made absolutely clear [..], we don’t think more arms into Syria is the answer,” she said. “We think the answer is to get to a national democratic dialogue, for the violence to stop, for the regime’s tanks to come out of the cities, and then for monitors to be able to go back in.” Syria has been part of the wider Arab Spring movement which began in early 2011 and has been riddled by violence ever since. Pro-democracy demonstrations have spread across the country since mid-March, resulting in a fierce government crackdown which has left more than 7,000 people killed. The Syrian government has repeatedly claimed that violent acts against protesters have been carried out by ‘terrorists dressed as soldiers,’ although international observers have rejected these claims. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad previously admitted that mistakes were made, but claimed protesters were no longer being targeted.

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