I thought the memo had been leaked to the New York Times (see below) but it looks as if it was leaked to more than one publication around the same time, although CNN seems to intimate they saw a draft before anyone else:
CNN reviewed a draft of the memo, which has since been classified. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the memo's existence.The Times report was published on the same date (June 16, although no time stamp on the NYT report). Should it matter who saw it first? It could if indeed CNN saw it first, given that it's more-or-less the unofficial propaganda media outlet for the Obama White House here in the USA. So CNN first -- and especially since they claim to have seen a draft -- *might* suggest the leak and even the memo itself was directed by the White House, not Kerry. This *might* suggest the leak is more serious in its intention than Sputnik or Col. Lang at SST and I had assumed (in my post earlier today).
The point made by a reader (see below) about the leak coinciding with the visit of MbS to Washington becomes ominous if the White House directed the leak and even the wording of the memo because Al Saud has been demanding for a long time that Assad and his government be taken out in a decapitation strike.
I hope my chain of reasoning is wrong and that the memo and its leak represent nothing more than a bunch of idiots at State blowing off steam. Otherwise, it could suggest that Obama is preparing the American public for a decapitation strike.
Thanks to a reader and blogger in her own right for reminding me of the visit; she suggested this as a possible motive for the leaked memo -- leaked to the New York Times. I think the memo and its leak would have happened anyway. From the Times report on the leaked memo:
The expression of dissent [at State for Obama's Syria policy] came a week after Mr. Assad showed renewed defiance of the United States and other countries, vowing to retake “every inch” of his country from his enemies.
But she's right; the timing of the leak is suggestive in light of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to Washington. Yesterday he met with SecDef Ash Carter, who rolled out the red carpet for him in the form of an 'enhanced ' honor guard at the Pentagon, and is meeting with President Obama today. He also met with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and other members of Obama's economic council.
He's meeting with all the power brokers in Washington, partly to indicate that Al Saud intends to spread around hundreds of billions of dollars if Washington plays by Riyadh's rules, partly to signal that he is now the big boss in Saudi Arabia and has things under control in the kingdom. See this Reuters report for details on the visit.
He's getting a more gracious welcome in Washington than he deserves because as I've mentioned before Al Saud has cleverly (and by now, openly) allied itself with Israel, thus tamping down criticism from Republicans and Democrats in Congress who strongly support Israel.
There's really nothing much else to be said about the American-Saudi relationship. Name calling gets old fast, and besides once you've called people demonic, where do you go from there?
As to whether there's any way at all to break up the alliance from hell -- oil at $3.00 a barrel might do it. This on the theory that if both Saudi Arabia and the United States are destroyed it would end the alliance. Of course it would also end a great many other nations if it happened abruptly, but it all depends on how seriously one takes the threat from totalitarian Islamism.
So $3 oil is sort of like asking whether you prefer the devil or drowning in the deep blue sea.