A pair of Republican senators told reporters that Secretary of State John Kerry admitted to them he lacks confidence in the administration’s Syria policy, the peace talks have produced no viable results and the Obama administration’s foreign policy initiatives, to the extent which they exist, are failing in the country.
Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham told The Daily Beast, The Washington Post and Bloomberg News, that the secretary of state acknowledged as much Sunday in a private, off-the-record meeting with 15 members of Congress.
“[Kerry] acknowledged that the chemical weapons [plan] is being slow-rolled, the Russians continue to supply arms, we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy,” Graham said.
The secretary of state told the members of Congress that he now favors arming Syria’s rebels to block the local al-Qaida affiliates who have designs on attacking the homeland, according to McCain and Graham. The Daily Beast reports that a Kerry spokesperson denied that Kerry spoke of weapons supplies.
Kerry’s private remarks are in contrast to what he and other top officials in the Obama administration have repeatedly told the public: that it favors a diplomatic solution that leans on Russian diplomacy to lead the chemical weapons disarmaments that still headline international debate.
The off-the-record meeting is not the first time Kerry has strayed from the administration’s script on the Syrian conflict.
Last year in September, Kerry spoke off the cuff several times in a congressional hearing on President Obama’s plan to launch limited strikes against Syria.
Kerry’s insistence that this was a “Munich moment,” a comparison to the U.S.’s dramatic early slide into World War II, and then his later claims that any military action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime would be “unbelievably small,” were mocked by many.