Testimony Reveals Hagel-Kerry Rift on Syria

Testimony Reveals Hagel-Kerry Rift on Syria | Kerry touts rebel ties

Dueling testimonies to Congress reveal an increasingly deep rift between the US State Department and the Pentagon’s civilian leadership, with each taking virtually opposite positions on where the US stands with respect to the Syrian Civil War and the rebel movement.

Secretary of State John Kerry took the line that everything is going swimmingly with the rebels, that the US aid is bring them closer together than ever and that America’s focus should be on forcing President Bashar Assad to step down in favor of them.

That’s been his position for awhile, but Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told a dramatically different story of the rebel movement’s increasing internal conflicts and a growing sense of confusion among Pentagon officials over where the rebels actually are, and which factions are the prime movers in them.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey seemed to be moving closer to Hagel’s side on the matter, saying that his previous claims that the US was able to identify which rebel factions to arm and which not to arm no longer was true, saying there was a big shift in the past six months and the situation had gotten a lot more complex.

Hagel also sought to emphasize his opposition to intervention in Syria, warning that joining the “lengthy and uncertain” war could have unforeseen consequences and push the US into a full-scale regional conflict. He added in testimony that Congress “better be damned sure” before they approved US military involvement, saying even the “minor” actions like a no-fly zone or a humanitarian corridor could force the US into a protracted commitment far beyond what they were expecting.

 

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Cat fight! My money is on Hagel.

  • mojo

    Is about time for someone to say NO to state department.., stop your stubborn mind and think for a moment…, rebels are by no means your friend nor they are going to be your friend in feature.., because if they were they wouldn't be on the payroll of Saudis and other tyrants in persian gulf…, if USA helps out with their demand it means that USA is helping these tyrants…, not that usa is not helping these tyrants to remain in power.., but kerry is very much eager to keep following Hillary Clinton footsteps.., where she learned from Madeline Albright to ignore the human suffering…, and so is with state department..,

  • RickR30

    Go Hagel!

  • Bianca

    Everything is going on just great. Except, we are training and inserting into Syria Salafists using Jordan territory. Here is the problem. The very religious movement — Salafi — that is the core of the Sunni "rebellion" is BANNED IN JORDAN. Now, how on earth can we say that King of Jordan is fully within HIS rights to ban Salafists and their mentors, Vahhabis — while in Syria, Assad wa not allowed to BAN them? And not only that, we are ARMING THEM so they can topple Syrian government that is protecting all religions — to prop up to power extremists that other countries, like Jordan are BANNING. So, how is Jordan pulling this off? How can they "bring" Salafis to be trained by US and shipped off to Syria, while banning their activities in Jordan. What an unholly mess we got ourselves in.

  • nomange

    Thank god, there is someone with some brains upstairs in the Administration on this issue. Up to now it has been a disaster. Maybe it will become a semi-disaster. Israel and Congress with its infected brain (Mad Bibi disease), and their most recent concoction, Sen. Res. 65, are still wild cards. As for Obama, he is more and more being revealed as both an untrustworthy cipher and a manipulated tool lacking moral center, vision or statesmanship, who has done no more than create or perpetuate chaos and destruction in the region- in this case, with the hope of destroying an Iranian axis and the competitive economic threat it might pose to Israel. He doesn't know how to rebuild our domestic economy and his bosses have forgotten how, and they don't know how to do it abroad.

    However, in the end it is the military, and especially Dempsey that may have the greatest influence over Obama. So, let's hope something good will come out of it. This observer never thought in his wildest dreams that the neocons and multinationals and Israelis would continue to carry such sway for so long with these wars or that our foreign policy would be so adrift. Why in heavens name do we have to hope rather than expect that our leaders exercise good judgment and serve the national interest?

  • Ben_C
  • Ben_C
    • Stu

      What's to "ahem" about? All he said in the video was that he agreed it would take force for Assad to go. This doesn't mean he agrees force should be applied by the U.S. directly. Yes, Hagel is hardly better than any of the rest of the Washington crowd, but there is nothing in this video that contradicts what has been written in the above post.

  • Andrewp111

    Getting rid of Assad is besides the point. US interests are best served by keeping the Muslim Civil War going, and by ensuring that no one wins. We should give covert assistance to whichever side is losing, but not too much assistance. Both sides are enemies of the USA, so it is best to keep them fighting, for the rest of eternity if possible.

  • Andrewp111

    Getting rid of Assad is besides the point. US interests are best served by keeping the Muslim Civil War going, and by ensuring that no one wins. We should give covert assistance to whichever side is losing, but not too much assistance. We need to keep our own forces out of the combat zones. Both sides are enemies of the USA, so it is best to keep them fighting, for the rest of eternity if at all possible.

    • ML3

      What a warmongering douchebag. Why so sick and bloodthirsty? No longer maybe you can get it up in bed. And this makes you angry at foreigners who didn't do you any wrong.
      People thousands of miles away should fight forever and die by the thousands because you are frightened easily, like an old man with no more potency. The lot of people who think like you are antithetical to peaceful purposes. Please try not to fall in the bathtub and split your Nazi head open on the tiles old man – though not too many people will be weeping at your demise.

    • mojo

      Why would you or your falsified democratic government want to get rid of Assad for.., what Assad or any Syrian people have done to america or american people, beside not wanting to become another lapdog regime in middle east.., like that jordanian king or that Turkish sunny muslims government or that muslims brotherhood in egypt and….. what is your explanation or political coalification or perception for Syria and Syrian people if Assad leave…,

    • paulBass

      neither side is the enemy of the usa, and your plan would make both sides in to enemies

  • Andrewp111

    Getting rid of Assad is besides the point. US interests are best served by keeping the Muslim Civil War going, and by ensuring that no one wins. We should give covert assistance to whichever side is losing, but not too much assistance. We need to keep our own forces out of the combat zones. Both sides are enemies of the USA, so it is best to keep them fighting, for the rest of eternity if at all possible.

    • ML3

      What a warmongering douchebag. Why so sick and bloodthirsty? No longer maybe you can get it up in bed. And this makes you angry at foreigners who didn't do you any wrong.
      People thousands of miles away should fight forever and die by the thousands because you are frightened easily, like an old man with no more potency. The lot of people who think like you (often diseased and hateful old white Americans and Brits) are antithetical to peace and need to follow the Military in always creating new conflicts to profit from. Please try not to fall in the bathtub and split your Nazi head open on the tiles, old man – people at Fox News might miss your hatefulness.

  • Truthster

    That post form Andrewp111 sounds like it comes right from the apartheid regime in Tel Aviv.
    It is absolutely true that the policy of Israel/US neocons is for the nations of the Middle East to submit to US/Israel and accept a puppet government or be destroyed – as Iraq and Libya have been.
    But that is in fact not in the long run interests of the people of the US who will bear the undying enmity of those in the Middle East who suffer – nor is it in the interests of the people of the world.
    Time for the US Empire to call it quits and come home for the first time since its inception.

  • the Lion

    Hagel is aware that there just isnt the money to send troops into Syria, Kerry doesnt care cause its not out of his budget.

    Who will win, probably Hagel on the basis of why should we send troops into a civil war!

  • Strange how the reports of Assad being assassinated went down the rabbit hole.

  • dink

    "Hagel is scheduled to visit the Middle East next week, with stops in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Much of the trip is expected to focus on Syria." says
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/mid

    Why? US intervention using Sunni money to expand Israeli influence against Shi'ite: Hezbollah, Iran, Bashar Assad of Syria Alawi who dominated the Baath Arab Socialist Party, a secular Arab nationalist party which has ruled Syria under a state of emergency since 1963. Its about meddling. This one is so stupid. They think they can rule the world.

  • paulBass

    How things are going is of coarse relative to what your goals are.

  • didi

    It appears to me that President Obama is losing control of his administration.

  • Ron F

    Note how in Washington Hagel cannot defend his position by making a moral argument. By saying that the U.S. government is militaristic and simply interested in Napoleonic expansionism to conquer foreign countries and install subjugate regimes there. He's limited to making a cost-benefit analysis that an aggression against Syria may fail or have bad reprecussions. The trouble with the argument that no matter how bad the reprecussions, Americans are not projected to suffer substantially from it. The U.S. is not going to end up like Germany in 1945. So the proponents of imperialism just counter him by effectively saying 'well, let's gamble – we might succeed'.

    It's as if a militaristic society is never stopped except when either devastated by its wars, or by economic meltdown. As long as neither of these 'calamities' happen – the internal forces to continue expansion always end-up overwhelming internel forces attempting to temper or resist the expansion.

    • Mark S.

      Very interesting analysis.

      I had some hope that Obama hadn't completely sold his soul to the devil when he appointed Hagel.

      Kerry, OTOH, sickens me every time I see or hear him, or think about having voted for him in 2004.

      Clinton is even worse, and I would vote for Rand Paul in a heartbeat if he ran against her in 2016.

  • Yankee2

    The United States Government acts with impunity and arrogance. Militarism and Corporatism are the only things those in power seek. The masses of people are looked at as nothing but human sacrifices on every count. The real criminals are the White House and Congress……America is one of the most corrupt nations in the world yet nobody would know this because the Corporate-State Media represses the truth about things like American poverty in rural and urban areas as well as the decay of the state apparatus.