General Richards' secret plan to defeat Syria's Assad Regime revealed04/07/2014
It has been revealed that two years ago Military Speaker and former Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Richards, devised a secret plan that he hoped would end the attrosities and the Assad regime in Syria.
BBC Newsnight has revealed that Military Speaker, General Sir David Richards, was the brain child behind a daring plan to train and equip a 100,000 strong Syrian rebel army in an attempt to topple the Assad regime.
Lord Richards, who regularly gives gripping talks to organisations across the world, drew up the secret initiative two years ago whilst serving as the then most senior UK military officer.
He had previously warned the British Government that there were only two ways to end the Syrian War quickly - let Assad win, or defeat him. With ministers having pledged not to put British boots on the ground, Lord Richards and his advisors fleshed out a plan that they believed could end the Syrian war without committing Western troops.
The plan was named Extract, Equip, Train. More than 100,000 Syrian rebels were to be sourced, vetted and extracted to either Turkey or Jordon. There the rebels would be trained by Western Forces and after 12 months it was planned that the new Syrian Army would march on Damascus with the support of Western air power.
Richard's admitted that his plan was not without risks but added that to do nothing would be the worst of all options.
The plan was considered by David Cameron and Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, and sent to the National Security Council. It was also put to senior figures in Washington, including General Martin Dempsey, the US's most senior military officer. Upon consideration it was deemed the plan was too risky.
Although thought too radical at the time, US President Barack Obama said last week that he was seeking $500m to fund and train Syrian rebels - an echo of Lord Richards' plan.
Though the plan was put to one side at the time, Mr Cameron was later persuaded to consider military action when evidence emerged of chemical weapons use in Syria. However, MPs voted against giving authority for direct intervention last August.
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