Corker Warns Of Lack Of Clarity In U.S. Syria Strategy

Calls For Post-Assad Plan And Congressional Consultation Prior To Significant Change In U.S. Involvement

Thursday, April 11, 2013

During a hearing on the crisis in Syria with senior Obama administration officials, Senator Bob Corker, R-Tn., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned that an ad hoc, reactive approach leaves the United States vulnerable to being drawn into “very dangerous circumstances” without a clear strategy. Senator Corker called for a clear articulation of U.S. goals and plans, advance preparations for the eventual fall of the Assad regime, and close congressional consultation prior to any significant change in U.S. involvement.

“Without clear objectives, principles, or parameters, events might pull us into a very dangerous circumstance where we have too little control – or where we miss a critical opening to do what’s necessary.  I am also concerned that we could overestimate the value of and underestimate the difficulty of a limited military involvement, such as a no-fly zone. There is a clear humanitarian imperative to bring Assad’s barbaric violence to an end, but there are long-term challenges in Syria that we can’t solve with a quick military fix,” said Senator Corker in his opening statement.  

“I’m very interested in what our preparations are for the ‘day after’ the Assad regime falls, as it eventually will - we all hope.  Are we making preparations with our allies in the region?  Are we preparing for the chaos of sectarian violence that may explode among opposition groups when they lose their common enemy?  And if we are preparing for these eventualities, how so?”

Referencing a letter to the president this week, Senator Corker repeated his expectation that Congress’s constitutional role in authorizing foreign assistance and military action overseas will be respected in Syria. 

“While we may have little control over events in Syria, we do have control over our own decision-making process for foreign assistance and for involvement in a war.  Earlier this week, I sent a letter to the president noting the constitutional role of Congress in such decisions and my expectation that major changes or engagements can lawfully proceed only with Congress,” he said.

Testifying before the committee Thursday are Robert Ford, U.S. ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic; Elizabeth Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs; Daniel Glaser, assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of Treasury; and Dennis Ross, counselor, Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

For full committee testimony and live video coverage of the hearing, visit: http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/us-policy-toward-syria.


Crime Stoppers: Armed Robbery At Highway 58 Family Dollar

Crime Stoppers and the Chattanooga Police Department are seeking information and the identity of the suspects of an armed robbery at the Family Dollar at 4749 Highway 58, Chattanooga.  On April 7, at approximately 8:10 a.m., Chattanooga police responded to a robbery at the Family Dollar.  Two masked suspects entered the store and demanded the money from the registers. ... (click for more)

Cleveland, Tn., Woman Missing Since 2011 Turns Up In Mississippi

A Cleveland, Tn., woman who had been missing since 2011 has been found Tuesday in Mississippi. The Biloxi Sun Herald said 50-year-old Tammy Renee King, 50, was walking along Mississippi 613 when a citizen stopped to help her. The Good Samaritan called the sheriff's office. Members of a local church plan to drive her back to Cleveland after she is checked out at a hospital. ... (click for more)

Time For Tennessee To Act On Climate This Earth Day - And Response

Tennessee will join the rest of the southeast region, the nation and countries across the world in celebrating Earth Day on April 22. The entire month of April is a great time to reflect on the strides we have made to reduce pollution over the last 44 years, and assess current environmental conditions while evaluating our personal responsibility to a cleaner environment.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: That Billboard & Much More

Now that early voting has started and our strawberries have hopefully survived this last blush of winter, allow me to catch up on some things but, first, here’s a letter from a concerned reader I feel compelled to share: “There is something I have noticed throughout Brainerd, East Brainerd, Dayton, etc. A billboard has been put up, I believe by the Health Department of Hamilton ... (click for more)

Cuonzo Martin Leaves Tennessee For Job At California

Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin apparently took his name out of the coaching search at Marquette so he could put it in a hat at the University of California at Berkeley. On Tuesday, Martin broke ties with the Volunteers and accepted the head coaching job with the Bears. Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart admitted Martin’s move surprised him. “Not from my perspective,” ... (click for more)

Mocs Win Women's Southern Conference Championship

The Chattanooga Mocs are your Southern Conference Women’s Golf Champions. That’s five straight team titles and sophomore Emily McLennan (Queensland, Australia) made it the fourth consecutive sweep winning medalist honors. McLennan was solid shooting 222 for her 54 holes on a tough week for scoring. She won by four strokes over Furman’s Taylor Totland and was seven clear of ... (click for more)