51 U.S. State Department officials signed an internal memo protesting Obama’s U.S. policy in Syria. The document called for military airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to call for a regime change in order to defeat ISIS.
The “dissent cable channel” was signed by 51 State Department officials who say that U.S. policy in the Middle East is not doing much to quell the violence in the region. The cable calls for a “judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”
The Wall Street Journal first reviewed and reported on the classified draft of the memo.
The U.S. officials that signed the cable have critiqued U.S. policy for taking sides in the Syrian War. Many of them are career officers who have been involved in Syrian policy for several years. President Bassar al-Assad has been accused of violating ceasefire agreements and Russian-supported forces have attacked rebels that were trained by the United States.
The State Department officials have a similar view that harsher military action needs to be taken in Syria to force the president to negotiate diplomatic solutions to the problems. Secretary of State John Kerry holds the same stance.
U.S. officials said complaints regarding White House positions are common, but the amount that have complained is unusually high.
State Department officials have wanted to send the memo, but have put it off until their hand was forced after negotiations with Russian over Syria have collapsed.
The Obama administration has been tentative towards attacking the Assad regime because they do not want to get into a direct conflict with Russia or Iran.
The cable could shape how foreign policy could roll over into the next presidential administration. Hillary Clinton said she would take a more aggressive stance against the Assad regime while Trump said he would be harsh towards ISIS but would work with Russia in Syria.
The memo calls for the United States to have a stronger relationship with rebel’s that aim to battle Assad’s forces and ISIS.
The cable also states that the United States is losing potential allies among Syria’s Sunni population that the regime currently “continues to bomb and starve.” They could be used to fight against ISIS.
“Failure to stem Assad’s flagrant abuses will only bolster the ideological appeal of groups such as Daesh [ISIS], even as they endure tactical setbacks on the battlefield,” the cable says.
Russia called for a long term ceasefire in the city of Aleppo after assisting Assad’s regime’s forces. Russia has been providing military air support to Syria’s army and their allies.