The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The U.S. military will maintain the threat of force against Syria in case the regime fails to abide by an agreement to relinquish control of its chemical weapons, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday.

“We should keep that military option exactly where it is. We have assured the president that our assets and force posture remain the same. We are prepared to exercise any option that he would select,” Hagel told a press conference.

“We are prepared to exercise any option that he would select.”

Hagel’s comments made clear the United States had no plans to withdraw destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean, which had been prepared to launch cruise missile attacks to punish Damascus over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

He said it was clear “the credible threat of U.S. force” helped to persuade Syria to agree to a U.S.-Russia accord that calls for the regime to turn over its chemical arsenal to international control.

U.S. defense officials told AFP four destroyers equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles remained in place in the eastern Mediterranean, ready to launch a possible attack if diplomacy fails.

Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, the military’s top-ranking officer, also said the administration was still considering whether to have the Pentagon take over the arming of Syria’s rebels from the Central Intelligence Agency, which would involve larger scale assistance.

Despite agreeing to the deal on securing Syria’s chemical weapons, Washington and Moscow remain at odds over who carried out the August 21 chemical attack outside Damascus.

Russia says the Syrian regime has handed over new evidence implicating rebel forces in the deadly incident.

But U.S. President Barack Obama has said it was “inconceivable” that anyone other than the Syrian regime could have carried out the attack.

AFP Photo/Chip Somodevilla

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rep. Tony Gonzales

Photo by CQ/Roll Call

The Republican House member who represents Uvalde, Texas, where 19 kids and 2 adults were shot to death in an elementary school on Tuesday, has said in the past that he will vote against any gun safety legislation in Congress.

In September 2021, Rep. Tony Gonzales tweeted in response to a provision on firearms included in that year's annual defense spending bill, "I will fight against any attempt to restrict our 2nd Amendment right, which is why I joined in urging the stripping of red flag laws from the final version of the bill." Gonzales was one of 161 Republican House members who signed a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in October of that year urging that the provision be removed.

Keep reading... Show less

Beto O'Rourke, back to camera, confronts state officials over Uvalde school shooting at press conference

Not long after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his entourage showed up on a stage in Uvalde, Texas, to offer the usual thoughts and prayers that follow a gun massacre, Democratic rival Beto O'Rourke suddenly strode up to confront him.

Pointing a finger at the governor, he yelled: "You're offering us nothing!"

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}