The CIA’s plot to oust president Assad of Syria has failed.
The CIA in 2012 proposed a detailed covert action plan designed to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, but President Obama declined to approve it, current and former U.S. officials tell NBC News.
Elements under discussion at the time included not only bolstering Syrian rebels, but pressuring and paying senior members of Assad's regime to push him out, the former officials said. The idea was that the Syrian civil war could then have been peacefully resolved--a huge uncertainty.
[The CIA operated who proposed the plan] ultimately resigned in frustration — over that and other issues -- after it became clear the Obama administration would not move forward.
It is no secret that the Saudis and Qataris, with full U.S. support, have tried to bribe some of Assad’s innermost circles to defect. The all-important professional military cadre of the Syrian Arab Army, however, has remained thoroughly loyal.