Thursday, March 8, 2012

Obama asks Pentagon for military plans on Syria: Gen. Dempsey

Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey (R) and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta attend a meeting of the Senate Armed Services committee on March 7, 2012.

Source: Press TV

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey says President Barack Obama has requested from the Pentagon military options against the Syrian government.

According to a Wednesday report by prominent US daily The New York Times, Dempsey declared in a US Senate committee hearing in Washington that the Department of Defense was preparing military alternatives with regards to the existing situation in Syria for Obama’s review.

The top American military chief made the remarks during a Wednesday hearing of US Senate’s Armed Services Committee.

Dempsey added that potential measures considered by the American military ranged from “aerial surveillance of the Syrian military, the establishment of a no-fly zone, naval monitoring and humanitarian airlifts.”

The top general’s latest remarks on the Syrian issue come a few days after veteran US Senator and the previous Republican presidential nominee John McCain urged Washington to conduct airstrikes against Syria in collaboration with allied Arab regimes as well as other NATO countries.

However, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was also attending the committee hearing, criticized McCain’s suggestions and said the Obama administration recognized that there are “limitations of military force, especially with US boots on the ground.”

Syria has been dealing with what appears to be a foreign-led unrest since mid-March 2011. Syria’s arch-enemy, the Israeli regime, has openly expressed support for opposition forces within Syria that have been fueling the unrest with scattered demonstrations and armed attacks against the country’s security forces as well as ordinary people.

The United States and a number of other Western allies, including the UK and France, and regional countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have supported measures against the Damascus government.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday that the Syrian people have “proven their capacity to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms along with the fight against foreign-backed terrorism.”

Assad endorsed a newly drafted constitution on February 28 as part of the promised reforms in the country. The draft was put to vote in a February 26 referendum and won the overwhelming support of Syrian voters.

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