Kerry praises US cable calling for strikes in Syria

Kerry praises US cable calling for strikes in Syria
US Secretary of State John Kerry has described a cable calling for military action in Syria as "very good", after the it revealed discontent with Obama's official policy among diplomats.
2 min read
21 June, 2016
The comments reveal differences within the Obama administration [AFP]
The US Secretary of State said on Monday that a memo calling for airstrikes against Bashar al-Assad was "very good."

John Kerry made the comment on the "dissent cable" - sent by a group of frustrated diplomats urging for direct military action the Syrian regime - at a public event for college students,  adding "I'm going to meet with them."

On Monday, the US State Department said the 51 serving US officials will not face reprisal for speaking out despite it being seen as a criticism of President Barack Obama's cautious approach.

Dissent cables are approved procedures by which diplomats can voice opposition to official policy in the US.

John Kirby, Kerry's spokesman clarified it was not a public endorsement but suggested the senior official found it "a well-written argument."

"Obviously, whatever views, advice or counsel he [Kerry] presents to the president needs to remain private," Kirby said, adding that the secretary "has made no bones about the fact that he is not content with the status quo in Syria. We are not content with the status quo in Syria."

The deliberately leaked memo insists Obama has a moral obligation to stop the carnage and must force Assad into real peace negotiations by launching airstrikes.

The diplomats argued that such a policy could increase the cost of Assad's intransigence and perhaps stem the suffering of millions in Syria.

But the White House responded swiftly, stating it is not ready to embark on such a 180 degree shift.

"The president has always been clear that he does not see a military solution to the crisis in Syria and that remains the case," White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman said when the memo was leaked last week.