US looked for ‘cracks’ to mount coup against Assad: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad celebrate during a referendum on a new constitution in Damascus. (Reuters)

The United States looked for “cracks” inside the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in a bid to orchestrate a “military coup” in the Arab country, according to an investigative report.

Citing a former senior official, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the administration of President Barack Obama was exploring “cracks in the regime” and “offering incentives for people to abandon Assad.”

US intelligence officials identified officers who potentially could lead a coup against the Assad government, former US officials and current European officials told the Journal.

In August 2011, President Barack Obama publicly called for Assad to step down.

According to the Journal, by the summer of 2012, White House efforts to overthrow the Syrian government had failed and instead shifted to support the militants operating inside the country.

The Obama administration’s core message, meanwhile, never strayed from the line that Assad ultimately had to step down, said the report.

The rise of Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in 2013, however, caught the Obama administration off guard.

Militants, many of whom would later join the Daesh group, were trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government.

The United States and its allies have been insisting that Assad cannot be part of any future government in Syria.

Obama speaks at a press conference in the White House on December 18, 2015. (AFP photo)

Last week, Obama reiterated the US strategy, saying Assad "is going to have to leave in order for the country to stop the bloodletting and for all the parties involved to be able to move forward in a non-sectarian way. He has lost legitimacy in the eyes of a large majority of the country."

This is while Damascus, Iran and Russia insist that Assad's fate should be decided by the Syrian people alone.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted a resolution, calling for Syrian peace talks on a transitional government to begin in early January. It also called for a nationwide ceasefire in the country.

The years-long crisis in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and displaced millions of others.


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