A former US army chief has claimed that Barack Obama is eyeing intervention in Syria that would go beyond a mere deterrent against chemical weapons to damage the military capacity of the Assad regime.
General Jack Keane, a former vice chief of staff of the US Army, told BBC Radio 4 that he had spoken to senior Republican senators who had been briefed by the US president on Monday, and had been assured that Mr Obama planned to do significant damage to the forces of Bashar al-Assad.
But Gen. Keane said he understood Mr Obama was planning a more substantial intervention in Syria than had previously been thought, with increased support for the opposition forces, including training from US troops.
He said the plans could involve “much more substance than we were led to believe”.
After speaking to Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who attended the briefing with Mr Obama, Gen. Keane said: “What he won’t do is topple the regime. There’s a distinction here.
“What he has told the two senators is that he also intends to assist the opposition forces, so he is going to degrade Assad’s military capacity and he is going to assist and upgrade the opposition forces with training assistance.”
“I think, if I may use some rich language here, the humiliating defeat the Prime Minister suffered in Parliament, I can only surmise was stunning to the President and I think it impacted on him.
“I think that’s one of the motivations that introduced what I call palpable fear and one of the reasons why he is seeking political cover himself.”
Full article: US general says Syria action could be ‘more substantial than thought’ (The Telegraph)