Corker Says Complete Failure Of U.S. Policy In Syria Necessitates New Approach

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

At a hearing to examine next steps for U.S. policy toward the conflict in Syria after the failure of recent peace talks in Geneva, Senator Bob Corker on Wednesday said the failure of a sound strategy necessitates new policy ideas, including legislation in Congress, to find a way to end the Syrian conflict, which U.S. intelligence officials have said threatens the U.S. homeland. 

“We have no strategy in Syria; we haven’t had one since day one,” said Senator Corker in the hearing. “U.S. policy has completely failed to shift the balance of power, improve the humanitarian situation, or achieve the president’s stated goal of removing Assad. Today, I hope we can use this hearing to generate new policy ideas on Syria—creative, alternative legislative proposals for Congress to propose that will move U.S. policy, and by extension the future of Syria, in a better direction.”  

Senator Corker also noted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s position on the ground in Syria has been strengthened since the chemical weapons agreement with Russia last September stopped U.S. plans for military strikes in Syria. 

“This removal of chemical weapons…[is] the very thing that has validated [Assad]; it’s the thing that we did to put him in the strongest position he’s been in since this conflict began,” added Senator Corker. “The reason he’s dragging his feet is because as long as he’s important to that process, he’s going to continue to be buoyed up…1,200 people were killed terribly with chemical weapons. Forty thousand people have been killed since then…It’s kept us from really having any kind of coherent Syria policy.  I’m not blaming our country for what has happened in Syria; it’s something we didn’t create, but to act like we have some policy…is very disappointing.”

In February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before Congress and also raised concern that Assad’s position has been strengthened since the agreement to remove chemical weapons. 

“The prospects are right now that [Assad] is actually in a strengthened position than when we discussed this last year, by virtue of his agreement to remove the chemical weapons, as slow as that process has been,” said Director Clapper at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Feb. 4.

In an exchange with Senator Corker at Wednesday’s hearing, Dr. Vali Nasr of Johns Hopkins University also noted the consequences of the chemical weapons agreement and the mixed messages sent by U.S. policy. 

“We gave a signal to the neighborhood that we’re going to take care of this crisis, and then we didn’t,” said Mr. Nasr at the hearing. “And then when the neighborhood witnessed that we weren’t participating in the crisis -- and also I agree with you that through the chemical weapons deal essentially we turned Assad into a partner in an international agreement that requires his acquiescence -- the region decided that they have to take care of their own interests on their own…and therefore we now have a much more complicated situation.”

For footage of Wednesday’s hearing and complete witness testimony, visit:

Many Photos Of Fairyland Development Featured In New Hiener Photo Book

Many photos of the Fairyland development on Lookout Mountain are featured in the new historic photo book being published by Garnet and Frieda Carter carried out the fanciful development in the 1920s. It was during the construction that the game of miniature golf was invented when a golf ball was hit through a drain pipe at the job site. It was first called ... (click for more)

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Chairman Freeman). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. “Mayor’s Proclamation for Domestic Violence Awareness Month” Councilwoman Carol Berz and the Family Justice Center V. Ordinances – Final Reading: POLICE a. An ordinance ... (click for more)

Bobby Stone, Is It Really A Win?

It brought a smile to my face this morning when I saw where the case was thrown out of court against Mr. Stone and the domestic violence charge.  I have supported his cause from the beginning, but I do feel heartbreak because his personal life had to be tossed out there for all of us to see.   I truly hope and pray things turn around for him and his wife, while I feel ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Rallies To Beat Cleveland 37-24 In Key Region 4-5A Battle

Shaking off three lost fumbles and an interception in the first half, Ooltewah settled down and rallied from a 10-point deficit to pull away late and defeat Cleveland, 37-24, in a Region 4-5A football showdown at James N. Monroe Stadium on a chilly Friday night. The visiting Blue Raiders took full advantage of the Owls’ early mistakes and built a 24-14 halftime lead. ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Falls To Knox Catholic In AA Final

MURFREESBORO – There were five state championships awarded for high school volleyball at MTSU’s Murphy Center Friday, but none of them came back to Chattanooga. Baylor finished second to Briarcrest while Signal Mountain also had to settle for the runner-up award after losing in three straight sets to Knoxville Catholic. The Lady Irish, improving to 32-11 for the season, won ... (click for more)