Corker: White House 'stonewalling' on Syria


Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Congress should take the lead on reworking a successful Iran deal North Korea tensions ease ahead of Winter Olympics MORE (R-Tenn.) on Thursday accused the Obama administration of having no strategy for Syria.

Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, also complained that the White House has yet to take part in a classified hearing on Syria after making the offer a week ago.

“A week after administration officials stonewalled our committee, making reckless statements about U.S. contingencies for Syria that don’t appear to exist, we still have not had the briefing we were promised, leading me to conclude the administration has no Syrian strategy,” Corker said in a statement.

“Without a coherent Syria policy from day one, the administration has contributed to the worsening conflict through inaction, limiting our options, diminishing U.S. credibility and putting U.S. interests and our country’s security at risk. Members on both sides of the aisle are demanding answers, and I will continue to press the administration until we get them,” he said. 

The death toll in Syria's civil war reportedly reached 150,000 this week. 

Corker and other members of the committee want to know if the administration is considering the issue of military action in Syria. They also want an update on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

At a hearing last week, Anne Patterson, assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, offered to discuss the administration’s strategy in a non-public setting with lawmakers. 

Corker and panel Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) demanded a classified hearing with Obama administration officials on Syria. 

Patterson had suggested during the hearing the administration is considering providing more assistance to the Syrian rebels.