It was then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, along with CIA director David H. Petraeus, developed a plan of arming and training Syrian rebels to overthrow Syrian President Assad in 2012. Will Clinton kick off an all-out war against the Syrian leader if she assumes the presidency?
US proponents of a muscular foreign policy in Syria are pinning their hopes on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and with good reason: since the very beginning of the Syrian turmoil then Secretary of State Clinton had advocated tough approach towards Damascus.
Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler of the New York Times narrated that back in 2012 then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton privately teamed up with CIA director David H. Petraeus to develop a plan of arming “the Syrian resistance” to topple Bashar al-Assad — the Syrian legitimate leader.
“The idea was to vet the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons. The plan had risks, but it also offered the potential reward of creating Syrian allies with whom the United States could work, both during the conflict and after President Bashar al-Assad’s eventual removal,” the journalists wrote in February 2013, adding that the plan was rebuffed by Barack Obama as a risky one.
However, after she had left the White House Clinton continued to call for more assertive and aggressive US foreign policy in Syria.
For instance, she propagated the creation of a so-called “no-fly zone” in Syria in 2015.
“I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air, to try to provide some way to take stock of what’s happening, to try to stem the flow of refugees,” Clinton told NBC affiliate WHDH in Boston.
It is worth mentioning that NATO’s airstrikes that bombed Libya into chaos were preceded by the implementation of a strikingly similar no-fly zone in the region.
Furthermore, in late September 2015 Hillary Clinton told NBC News that she regarded defeating Daesh and toppling Bashar al-Assad as equally top priorities.
Moscow’s involvement in Syrian affairs has seriously upset the applecart of military intervention proponents in the US political establishment. Still, there are clear signs that they are not going to give up: a recent diplomatic memo by 51 State Department Diplomat calls upon Barack Obama to launch an all-out military campaign in Syria against Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Arab Army.
“It is true that Barack Obama has kind of been a barrier to some of the more aggressive policies that have been emanating from both the State Department and the Pentagon… Certainly, if Hillary Clinton is elected, I imagine many of these war mongering State Department officials are appointees or friends of Hillary Clinton, people who agree with her approach,” Karen Kwiatkowsky, retired US Air Force officer, told RT, commenting on the memo.
“So, I do see this as somewhat aimed at engaging politically in the domestic events here in the US. We have an election coming. Clinton is very besieged by many things. But she is the neoconservative candidate. She is the candidate who will make this war, if this war on Assad is to be stepped up. She is the one that will do that and these are her people. And they don’t have a lot of time left,” Kwiatkowsky underscored.
Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies echoed Kwiatkowsky’s stance in his interview with Sputnik. According to Landis, the memo is an attempt to push Obama’s successor in the direction of military intervention in Syria. It is also a signal that many of them hope that Clinton will assume the presidency.
“It also indicates that many diplomats believe that they will not be punished for speaking out as we [the United States] will be getting a new Commander-in-Chief soon who is well disposed to a more muscular foreign policy. Diplomats may feel coming forward may actually advance their careers with Hillary,” Landis stressed.
But could Washington’s potential intervention solve the Syrian crisis? Unlikely, Kwiatkowsky believes.
“This is not a new strategy; this is not a replacement strategy. This is bomb and ‘show the flag’… There is very little strategy there. What they are putting forth won’t work,” Kwiatkowsky emphasized.