(AP) Lieberman: Obama lacks coherent anti-terror plan
By LAURIE KELLMAN
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman told a House panel Wednesday that President Barack Obama has “no coherent” anti-terrorism strategy in embattled countries where al-Qaida is gaining new influence, and that’s endangering the United States.
It was the latest criticism of the Obama administration’s policy toward the Middle East, five years after the president pledged to remake the nation’s relationship with the region and improve America’s image in the Muslim world.
The administration did not testify at the hearing. Diplomacy is the first option, spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said. She noted that Kerry is meeting with Syrian opposition supporters and Arab League officials and moved to rid Syria of chemical weapons without military strikes.
The administration’s approach toward developments in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other countries drew criticism from the Republican-controlled House panel, which did not include any testimony from the Obama administration. One common concern mentioned by the witnesses was Obama’s narrative about the core al-Qaida network having been defeated.
In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Islamist terrorists have morphed into a loosely affiliated, highly adaptive network finding new safe havens in countries riven by internal conflict, the witnesses said.
The need for a U.S. strategy in Syria is especially pronounced, said Lieberman, an independent who was Democrat Al Gore’s vice presidential running mate in the 2000 election.