White House rules out ‘regime change’ among options for Syria
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answers questions about US Secretary of State John Kerry's earlier statement about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and other issues. AFP photoThe White House ruled out any military effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power today as President Barack Obama ponders options in response to last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria, Reuters reported.
“The options that we are considering are not about regime change,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “They are about responding to a clear violation of an international standard that prohibits the use of chemical weapons.”
Obama is considering cruise missile strikes against Syrian targets in response to the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that U.S. officials are increasingly confident was launched by the Syrian government.
Carney said the United States expects to release in coming days a public version of a formal report by the U.S. intelligence community on the use of chemical weapons. The report is expected to conclude the Syrian government was responsible for the attack.
Carney said there “should be no doubt, for anyone who approaches this logically, that the Syrian regime is responsible for the use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 outside Damascus,” according to Agence France-Presse.
Any attempt at “regime change” by the U.S. would draw Washington deeply into a conflict that Obama has been determined to avoid. The president has already ruled out putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.
The U.S. wants al-Assad to leave power, but as part of a negotiated political settlement with the Syrian rebels.
Carney said the U.S. has a variety of options from which to use, not just military options. Most of the talk about Syria in recent days, however, has been about a limited cruise missile attack.
Carney reiterated that Obama had not made a decision on how the United States will respond to what it believes was an attack on civilians by the Syrian government.
“When the president has an announcement to make, he’ll make it,” Carney said.
Britain not seeking to topple al-Assad: Deputy PM
Carney’s remarks came after British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said today that Britain was considering a “serious response” to the use of chemical weapons in Syria but is not seeking to topple al-Assad.
“What we’re considering is a serious response... What we’re not considering is regime change, trying to topple the al-Assad regime,” Clegg said, after it was announced Parliament is to be recalled from recess for a debate on possible action.