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Senators Begin To Question Obama’s Regime-Change Agenda in Syria

Sept. 17, 2015 (EIRNS)—We previously reported that during yesterday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, numerous of the Senators attacked the abject failure of the U.S.’s "train and equip" program to fight the Islamic State in Syria. But it is now reported from the hearing, that some of the Committee’s members are having second thoughts about the U.S. commitment to remove President Assad from power.

A hint of this development was publicly displayed in the questioning by Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.) of Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth. Sen. Shaheen first questioned Wormuth about the recent Russian activity in Syria, and her response that she thinks Putin is worried about the stability of the Assad regime. Shaheen elicited a concession from the Undersecretary that well, yes, "The assessment right now is that the regime is not in imminent danger of falling," Wormuth said.

After exploring with the witnesses the possibility of Russian air defense systems threatening coalition aircraft, Shaheen asked, "... given the total failure of our ability to influence the outcome of the Syrian civil war, are we assessing whether we should take a different response with respect to Assad? And engaging with the Syrian troops?" Wormuth replied that the Pentagon continues to view the best solution as achieving a political transition with Assad removed, but retaining the governing structures "so [that] you don’t have a situation of chaos on the ground," and that Russia could contribute to such a result. Shaheen asserted that there is no incentive for Russia to do that, and was clearly unsatisfied with Wormuth’s response.

But more was being said "on the sidelines" of the hearing. Julian Pecquet yesterday posted an article on the Al-Monitor website, "Congress rethinks anti-Assad stance."

Pequet quoted Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) telling him

"I don’t know that it helps for us to keep banging the table about Assad. I think it would be better for us to be as effective as possible in fighting [IS] and restoring some kind of security environment that shifts back the flow of refugees."

Sen. Shaheen was quoted,

"I think we’ve come to a poinar on me about what I think that should be, but I really think we’re at a point where we need to reassess, because what we’ve been doing is not working."

Pequet reported that "Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he’s worried about the ’void’ left by Assad’s removal in the absence of any viable moderate opposition. ’Who are you going to replace him with? What are you going to do? Leave a void?’" Sen. Manchin continued,

"That hasn’t worked with Saddam [Hussein] or with [Moammar] Gadhafi. It’s a royal, royal mess, and we’re just throwing more money at it and making it messier."

Lyndon LaRouche of course supported the Senators’ criticisms of Obama’s policy, but said the question is getting rid of Obama.