New reports filed this week suggest that the an attempt to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad orchestrated by French and Saudi governments was recently abandoned after US President Barack Obama refused to involve America in the attack.
Sources reporting to the Debka news agency in Israel say that a Franco-Saudi plan to oust Assad from his rule in Syria was all but implemented in recent weeks, but the White House’s reluctance to offer US assistance eventually eroded what chance existed for ending Assad’s rule.
According to military and intelligence sources reporting to Debka, a complex plan relying on air strikes and bombardment from the sea was believed to be on the table. When prompted to add US manpower to aid in the attack, however, President Obama repeatedly refused to get involved.
Debka’s sources say that, before being voted out of office, French President Nicolas Sarkozy “spent his last days in the Elysée Palace in long telephone conversations with the White House” in which he attempted to persuade the US president to align American troops in the attack. Along with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman, Sarkozy hoped that President Obama would provide supplemental forces that would be required to destroy Assad’s palace and, in turn, execute the Syrian leader, his family and the top leaders of his government.
Specifically, the Franco-Saudi plan called for 12 hours of air strikes on Assad’s presidential palace northeast of Damascus that would be accompanied by American fighter jets launched from a US aircraft carrier stationed in either the Mediterranean or Red Sea with their sights set on the Syrian air defense system. Additionally, Obama was asked to approve US warplanes to keep the Syrian Air Force grounded and perhaps even call upon America’s cyberwarfare capabilities to keep Assad’s radar systems and anti-missile programs offline, reports Debka.
The sources say that the White House refused to involve American forces in an anti-Assad military assault because it would “increase the carnage,” but no one in the Obama administration formally refused to engage in future operations in Syria.
Earlier this week, it was reported that, along with Saudi Arabian and several European allies, US troops participated in a mock-invasion of Iran during a training exercise in the Middle East. Around 12,000 troops from more than 19 nations participated in the Eager Lion 2012 exercise, and spectators and experts suggest that the drills carried out were met to emulate an assault on either Iran or Syria. Major General. Awni el-Edwan of the Jordanian Operations and Training Armed Forces refused to confirm those allegations, however, telling reports, “The exercise is not connected to any real world event,” reports CNN. “This has nothing to do with Syria. We respect the sovereignty of Syria. There is no tension between the Syrians and us. Our objectives are clear.”
Days earlier, the US was linked to a shipment of anti-tank missiles believed to be sent to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.