How should John Kerry’s contradictory statements about Syria be interpreted? Until now, it was assumed that the Secretary of State was formally negotiating peace with Russia, while secretly orchestrating the war with his allies. As a good Yankee businessman, Mr. Kerry was playing a double game, which his Russian counterpart has stayed away from.
However, since he took office as Secretary of State on February 1, the situation on the ground has turned around: the Syrian Arab Army has liberated the coastal areas and is regaining the north, Aleppo and Idleb. It is clear that if the Syrian offensive continues, Washington and its allies will lose.
The memory thus reemerges of John Kerry’s "flip-flop" image during his unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign.
In the circumstances, Democratic Party hawks, under the leadership of Bob Casey, chairman of the Middle East subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, kicked off a campaign urging for war. They were manifestly disturbed by the refusal of General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to bomb Syria (12 June), followed by nothing more than a verbal response by the U.S. to allegations about the use of chemical weapons by the "regime" (13 June).
The Secretary of State held a closed meeting last week in Washington with Congress members involved in the Syrian issue to provide them with details about the secret engagement of the U.S. in the conflict. It would seem, however, that this meeting did not shed any light about the actual military support to the "rebels." The failure of the "Friends of Syria" meeting last weekend in Doha, has only deepened the impression of incompetence.
Everything is unfolding as if Washington had gambled on a possible conventional military intervention in case of complications on the ground, but was unable to flex its muscles in time for want of military operational capability. Hence the question: do budget cuts in Washington imply a U.S. defeat in Syria?
Syria in Congress
"Nouvelles oppositions au Congrès contre le plan Kerry-Lavrov de paix en Syrie," Réseau Voltaire, 24 March 2013.
"New US Senate bill on Syria," Voltaire Network, 20 May 2013.
“Menendez-Corker bill on Syria passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Voltaire Network, 22 May 2013.