Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the impact of Syria’s civil war. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who chairs the committee, asked Blinken to explain what ‘Plan B’ was with regards to Syria.
According to a Wall Street Journal report:
The Obama administration threatened to pull out of talks with Russia over a collapsed cease-fire in Syria and has renewed an internal debate over giving rebels more firepower to fend off a stepped-up Russian and Syrian assault on their Aleppo stronghold, U.S. officials said.
The White House put the weaponry debate on hold earlier this year to give Secretary of State John Kerry an opportunity to try to negotiate a cease-fire with his counterpart in Russia.
Mr. Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a phone call on Wednesday that the U.S. was preparing to suspend its engagement with Moscow on Syria if Russia didn’t take “immediate steps” to halt the Aleppo offensive.
The renewed debate on what is referred to within the administration as Plan B, according to U.S. officials, centers on whether to authorize the Central Intelligence Agency and its partners in the region to deliver weapons systems that would enable CIA-vetted rebel units to strike Syrian and Russian artillery positions from longer distances.
Blinken dodged Corker’s question a total of four times, never giving a clear explanation of a “Plan B.”
“Let me just say what we already know,” Corker said. “There is no ‘Plan B,’ and when I refer to Secretary Kerry as a sympathetic figure, I say that because he gets up every day – some say he should resign over lack of support or at least threaten to – but there’s no support.”
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