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Dempsey opposes military action in Syria

Top US military officer General Martin Dempsey said in a letter to a congressman that the Barack Obama administration opposes intervening militarily in Syria because it does not believe the rebels will support US interests, Associated Press reported Wednesday.

 

“Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides… It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not,” the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a letter addressed to US Representative Eliot Engel on August 19.

 

AP reported that Dempsey wrote in the letter that the US can destroy the Syrian regime’s air force, but added that such an action would move the US into another war.

 

"We can destroy the Syrian air force… The loss of Assad's air force would negate his ability to attack opposition forces from the air, but it would also escalate and potentially further commit the United States to the conflict. Stated another way, it would not be militarily decisive, but it would commit us decisively to the conflict,” AP cited Dempsey as writing.

 

"The use of U.S. military force can change the military balance… But it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict."

 

Dempsey held talks in Jordan last week on ways to help the Jordanian military tackle fallout from the Syrian conflict. A Pentagon statement quoted Dempsey as saying that the types of possible US support that were discussed include border surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance assistance and training Jordanian special operations forces.

 

According to media reports, Dempsey and the US Department of Defense oppose military action in Syria, while US Secretary of John Kerry has called for more robust action against the Bashar al-Assad government.

The use of U.S. military force can change the military balance… But it cannot resolve [its] underlying issues.