Administration “Actively Seeking” New Leader for Syria

Since the UN report implicating Syria in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Bush administration claims to be seeking diplomatic solutions. From the 10/21 State Department briefing:

QUESTION: Are you discussing or will you discuss military action [with Syria]? This is a nervous capital. People think this Administration resorts to force as a way of solving problems.

MR. ERELI: I think the record of this Administration is clear and commendable, that we seek peaceful negotiated diplomatic solutions to problems. That is certainly the course that has been set forth on this issue and that’s where our focus is.

Actually, the administration is actively seeking to replace the Syrian president and is pursuing military options. The 10/9 Financial Times reported:


[T]he US is actively seeking an alternative who would take over from President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources close to the Bush administration. Washington has consulted its allies in an inter-agency search co-ordinated by Stephen Hadley, the president’s national security adviser. The US is also said to be considering military strikes on the Syrian border in response to its alleged support for Iraqi insurgents.

Hadley isn’t working alone. Condoleezza Rice has also put military options against Syria on the table.