Kerry to talk with State Department employees critical of Obama’s policy in Syria

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Photo: TMN / Jialu Liu

Kerry said the cable "was very good" after being asked if he had seen the document by a college student in Washington.

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that he is planning to meet with the 51 State Department employees who signed an internal cable that criticized the Obama administration’s policy in Syria and called for direct U.S. strikes against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Kerry said the cable “was very good” after being asked if he had seen the document by a college student in Washington.

“I’m going to meet with them,” Kerry said of the diplomats, mostly midlevel career State Department officials.

The cable, first reported by The New York Times, was pushed though the department’s “dissent channel,” a medium for Foreign Service officers to challenge existing U.S. policy.

It calls for U.S. airstrikes against Assad’s forces to stop violations of a shaky ceasefire between the U.S., Russia, Syria and U.S.-backed rebel forces. The cable says that the U.S. policy has been “overwhelmed” by the violence in Syria and calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process,” according to The NY Times.

The U.S. military is not targeting Assad’s forces in Syria, although the Administration regards Assad as a brutal dictator, responsible for 5 years of war and a half million deaths. The U.S. policy toward Syria involves overseeing a peaceful political transition away from Assad’s government.

The U.S. is directly bombing ISIS in Syria, and supporting rebel forces on the ground who are also taking the fight to the extremist group.

Russia, who is allied with Assad and has been militarily engaged in Syria since September, urged against targeting Assad’s forces following the leak of the cable. A spokesperson for the Kremlin said that it “could plunge the region into total chaos.”

Russia has vowed that it would work with the U.S. to oversee a political transition.

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