According to a number of US government officials, the United States government under President Barack Obama has started to consider strict action against Syrian government as a response to the latter’s assault on Aleppo. The Syrian regime is backed by Russia.
The US is considering a number of options-including military ones- with the ratcheting up of tensions with President Putin’s Russia. Diplomatic solutions to problems are not only fading in Syria but also in other parts of the world like Middle East and Ukraine.
The officials said that the new discussions continue to be held at the “staff level”. These are yet to generate any recommendations for President Barack Obama. The President has earlier stopped any kind of military action to be taken against Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria. The country is mired in a multisided civil war.
The timing of these deliberations coincides with John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, threatening to stop any diplomatic activities with Russia on the issue of Syria. He said that Moscow should be held responsible for dropping the incendiary bombs on Aleppo’s rebel held areas. For the Russians, it was the toughest warning they received from the United States from the time of truce collapse in September 19. The truce was brokered by both Russia and the United States.
Uncertainty and distrust
Even American officials are uncertain about what the American response will be, and what Obama would do at this juncture. One official said that Washington should first go through the threats made by Kerry and then cut off discussions with Russians concerning Syria.
American distrust of President Putin has risen with Russia using heavy airpower in the skies above Syria. They are wary of Putin’s geopolitical intentions- not only in Syria, but also in Ukraine. American officials say that Russia has supported cyber-attacks on American political targets. American officials pointed out that diplomatic failure in Syria has left Obama administration with little choice. They must consider a number of alternatives. Some of them involve the use of force.
A few of such alternatives involve permitting US allies in the Gulf to supply rebels with advanced weaponry. Washington has opposed such a strategy until now. An American strike on a Syrian air base was also considered- but dismissed as it may cause Russian casualties. Any option however would not involve any large scale commitment of the American troops.