Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken could not say what the Obama administration’s new policy in Syria is during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday.
When asked by committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) what the new policy is the day after Secretary of State John Kerry threatened his Russian counterpart to end bilateral engagement in Syria, Blinken dodged the question repeatedly.
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Obama administration officials have said they are considering other options to resolve the Syrian civil war after the latest diplomatic outreach to Russia failed, with Russian and Syrian forces continuing their assault on the city of Aleppo. The Kremlin dismissed U.S. threats on Thursday.
"I’d like to understand what Plan B is," Corker said. "The mysterious Plan B that has been referred to since February, the mysterious Plan B that was supposed to be leverage to get Russia to quit killing innocent people, to get [Bashar al] Assad to quit killing innocent people. Just explain to us the elements of Plan B."
"In the first instance, Plan B is the consequence of the failure as a result of Russia’s actions of Plan A, in that what’s likely to happen now, if the agreement can not be followed through on and Russia renege totally on its commitments," Blinken responded.
"Which it has," Corker said.
"Which it appears to have done, is this is going, of course, to be bad for everyone, but it’s going to be bad first and foremost for Russia," Blinken said.
"I want to hear about Plan B," Corker said. "I understand all the context here."
Blinken went on again to say that the failure of peace now would make things worse for Russia, instead of saying what the United States intends to do.
"What is Plan B? Give me the elements of Plan B," Corker demanded.
Blinken said that President Obama has asked all agencies to put forward options for review and that it is still being discussed. Blinken then said Congress would be briefed on a new policy once it was completed.
"So, let me just say what we already know: There is no Plan B," Corker said.