In an extraordinary move, 51 diplomats at the State Department have signed an internal memo criticizing the Obama Administration’s policy on Syria! (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/17/world/middleeast/syria-assad-obama-airstrikes-diplomats-memo.html?_r=0) They are highly critical of the lack of any response by the US to Russia’s support for Pres. Assad, given that it is US Govt. policy that there can be no resolution of the Syrian debacle unless Assad is removed from power. By showing no initiative and allowing Russia a free hand in supporting Assad, the US is in effect undermining its own interests and its policies.
The Memo calls upon the Obama Administration to take concrete military action against Assad’s forces, the Syrian Army supported on the ground by Hizbollah and elements of the Iranian National Guard. By failing to do so over the past few years this has allowed Assad to stage a come-back and his forces, with Russian air power, are now staging an expansion of their territory in the Aleppo, Deraa and Raqqa areas. In Aleppo and Deraa the forces that are mainly being targeted are elements of the democratic insurrection against Assad’s regime and in Raqqa Assad’s forces, although fighting IS, are gaining ground in competition with the force of the Kurdish Pesh Mega allied with Syrian Arab forces with US ground support.
This lack of any actual implementation of moves to support US policy has undermined US credibility in the area and shown the Russians and others that the US is passive and afraid to act in support of its declared policies. This is typical of Obama’s lack of action in the face of opposition that has caused America’s allies in the region, notably Israel and Saudi Arabia, to conclude that they must make other arrangements for their own survival, that they cannot currently depend on US resolve. Thus, PM Netanyahu has made several visits to Russia to meet with Pres. Putin and Saudi Arabia has initiated discussions with Israel. Israel has also announced a pending deal with Turkey to renew diplomatic ties that have been cut since the Mavi Marmara incident six years ago.
This lack of US resolve or action in the Middle East is part of the paralysis of American foreign policy that has occurred under the Obama presidency that uses liberal excuses, such as avoiding war and allowing local forces to take action, that is in effect an excuse for American inaction. This should be one factor in the next election for President, since no-one should want to see a continuation of such a failed policy, and it should galvanize the next President to change course and take a more courageous stand in support of declared US policies.