Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today called on President Obama to immediately set up an advisory panel made up of former Secretaries of State, ambassadors, statesmen and senior military officers to assist his administration in dealing with the situation in Syria.
Democrat Jim Moran, meanwhile, commended Obama for his response to the continuiing atrocities in Syria and implored Congress to act swiftly to prevent more egregious events.
â€œPresident Obama was absolutely right in setting a red line against the use of weapons of mass destruction by Bashar al-Assad. The United States has the only true ability to prevent the use and proliferation of such weapons,â€ said Rep. Moran. â€œAbdicating this responsibility will only allow for their deployment to become the new norm.â€
â€œNow it is up to one of the most divisive, least productive Congresses in history to authorize an intervention and protect the credibility and viability of a US response to Assad’s horrific crimes against humanity,â€ Moran concluded.
Wolf said former Secretaries of State Jim Baker and Madeline Albright, former Ambassadors Edward Djerejian, Theodore Kattouf and Ryan Crocker and Generals John Abizaid, Anthony Zinny and David Barno would all be good candidates to serve on what he calls the Syria Advisory Group.
Wolf, the author of the legislation creating the Iraq Study Group, said the group could be used as strategic envoys and negotiators in Damascus and elsewhere and would provide a dual-track approach to what the Obama Administration pursues.
â€œI do not pretend to think that a Syria Advisory Group is the key to a just and lasting peace in a land where much blood has been spilt,â€ Wolf wrote in a letter to the president today. â€œBut I see little downside in enlisting their aid and venture that a war-weary nation would embrace such an approach.â€
Wolf traveled to the region earlier this year and met with Syrian refugees in Lebanon about the horrific violence taking place, the vulnerability of religious minorities and the influx of foreign jihadist fighters into the country. Click here for a copy of his trip report.
In addition to sending the letter, Wolf said he remains deeply concerned about any U.S. military action in Syria and, if a vote were held today, he would vote against a strike. He raised concern about whether such a move would empower radical Al-Qaeda connected jihadists and if a U.S. strike would result in a retaliatory strike on the United States or American interests abroad.