Hagel suggests US moving forces closer to Syria

522287973[Imperialists are on the move to carve up Syria. The USA is moving preparing for deepening its involvement in creating chaos in Syria. Last year, it was reported in the mainstream press that the West was preparing a “false flag” chemical attack as a pretext to acting against the Assad regime. Read more here. There are so many questions that have not been answered, yet the Western media is rushing to judgement. What is clear in this complex conflict is that the imperialists, especially the Western imperialists are seeking to use the conflict to increase their power in the region. They seek to weaken Iran, weaken the Palestinian resistance, etc. The Syrian people are being bleed for imperialist interests. We must oppose imperialist intervention in Syria. We must oppose imperialism everywhere! — NP]]

Hagel suggests US moving forces closer to Syria

(AFP)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday strongly suggested the Pentagon was moving forces into place ahead of possible military action against Syria, even as President Barack Obama voiced caution.

Obama has said Washington must be wary of costly and difficult foreign interventions, as calls mount for action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over alleged chemical warfare.

US commanders have nevertheless prepared a range of “options” for Obama if he chooses to proceed with military strikes against Damascus, Hagel told reporters before landing in Kuala Lumpur.

“The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for all contingencies,” Hagel said.

“And that requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets to be able to carry out different options — whatever the president might choose.”

But Hagel declined to provide any details on the deployment of US ships, aircraft or troops, as the Obama administration reportedly contemplated cruise missile strikes against Assad’s forces.

Hagel’s comments came as a defence official said the US Navy would expand its presence in the Mediterranean with a fourth warship armed with cruise missiles.

The US Sixth Fleet, with responsibility in the Mediterranean, has decided to keep the USS Mahan in the region instead of letting it return to its home port in Norfolk, Virginia.

Three other destroyers are currently deployed in the area — the USS Gravely, the USS Barry and the USS Ramage. All four warships are equipped with several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The reinforcement would allow the Pentagon to act more rapidly if Obama were to order a military strike.

“The president has asked the Defense Department for options. Like always, the Defense Department is prepared and has been prepared to provide all options for all contingencies to the president of the United States,” Hagel said.

The Pentagon chief made clear that no decision had been taken on whether to employ military force as the more than two-year-old conflict rages on.

US newspapers have suggested disagreements within the administration over the risks of another American military intervention in the Middle East.

In an interview aired earlier Friday on CNN, Obama voiced caution.

He said Syrian opposition allegations that hundreds of people had been killed in a gas attack near Damascus this week were more serious than previous charges against Assad’s regime.

“What we’ve seen indicates clearly this is a big event, of grave concern,” Obama said.

One year after warning that the use of chemical arms in the vicious Syrian conflict would cross a US “red line”, Obama said Americans expect him to protect their long-term national security interests — but avoid foreign entanglements….

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