Obama views Aleppo’s destruction as preferable to risky U.S. intervention

Josh Rogin writes: U.S. military strikes against the Assad regime will be back on the table Wednesday at the White House, when top national security officials in the Obama administration are set to discuss options for the way forward in Syria. But there’s little prospect President Obama will ultimately approve them.

Inside the national security agencies, meetings have been going on for weeks to consider new options to recommend to the president to address the ongoing crisis in Aleppo, where Syrian and Russian aircraft continue to perpetrate the deadliest bombing campaign the city has seen since the five-year-old civil war began. A meeting of the Principals Committee, which includes Cabinet-level officials, is scheduled for Wednesday. A meeting of the National Security Council, which could include the president, could come as early as this weekend.

Last Wednesday, at a Deputies Committee meeting at the White House, officials from the State Department, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed limited military strikes against the regime as a means of forcing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to pay a cost for his violations of the cease-fire, disrupt his ability to continue committing war crimes against civilians in Aleppo, and raise the pressure on the regime to come back to the negotiating table in a serious way. [Continue reading…]

The New York Times reports: Secretary of State John Kerry criticized Russia on Tuesday for pointedly ignoring the Syrian government’s use of chlorine gas and barrel bombs against its own citizens, and he left little hope for an early resumption of talks with Russia about a cease-fire.

Speaking here before the opening of a conference on Afghanistan organized by the European Union, Mr. Kerry said that the United States would continue efforts to end the fighting in Syria through the United Nations, but that Washington had little hope of persuading Russia to give up its unqualified support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

The Obama administration announced on Monday that it was suspending bilateral talks with Russia on a cease-fire. [Continue reading…]

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