Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Rift Is Developing Between The U.S. State Department And The Pentagon On The Syrian Ceasefire Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia earlier this month in Geneva. Credit Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

New York Times: Details of Syria Pact Widen Rift Between John Kerry and Pentagon

WASHINGTON — The agreement that Secretary of State John Kerry announced with Russia to reduce the killing in Syria has widened an increasingly public divide between Mr. Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who has deep reservations about the plan for American and Russian forces to jointly target terrorist groups.

Mr. Carter was among the administration officials who pushed against the agreement on a conference call with the White House last week as Mr. Kerry, joining the argument from a secure facility in Geneva, grew increasingly frustrated. Although President Obama ultimately approved the effort after hours of debate, Pentagon officials remain unconvinced.

On Tuesday at the Pentagon, officials would not even agree that if a cessation of violence in Syria held for seven days — the initial part of the deal — the Defense Department would put in place its part of the agreement on the eighth day: an extraordinary collaboration between the United States and Russia that calls for the American military to share information with Moscow on Islamic State targets in Syria.

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WNU editor: Some are looking for excuses to not participate in the Syrian ceasefire deal .... Syria ceasefire deal rife with legal, liability questions (AP) .... while for others there is scepticism and doubt .... Sceptical Pentagon drafts military cooperation plans on Syria with Russia (Middle East Eye).

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