Friday, February 8, 2013

Why Did President Obama Overrule All Of His National Secuirty And State Advisers On Syria?

Syria: Everyone But Obama Wanted Action -- Council On Foreign Relations

It has emerged in the last few days that Secretary of State Clinton and CIA Director David Petraeus wanted last year to arm and train the Syrian rebels.

The New York Times reported last weekend that

The idea was to vet the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons. The plan had risks, but it also offered the potential reward of creating Syrian allies with whom the United States could work, both during the conflict and after President Bashar al-Assad’s eventual removal. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Petraeus presented the proposal to the White House, according to administration officials. But with the White House worried about the risks, and with President Obama in the midst of a re-election bid, they were rebuffed.”

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Previous Post: Pentagon Backed A CIA Plan To Arm Syria's Rebels

More News On President Obama Overruling All Of His Advisers On The Issue Of Arming Syria's Rebels

Panetta Exposes Rift With Obama on Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels
-- SFGate/Bloomberg
Obama Blocked Rebel Arms: White House Opposed Pentagon, CIA, State Plan to Ship Weapons to Syrian Resistance -- Wall Street Journal
Panetta reveals US divisions over Syria -- Financial Times
Pentagon backed plan for U.S. to arm Syrian rebels -- Reuters
Why did Mr. Obama overrule his advisers on Syria? -- Washington Post editorial

My Comment: I suspect that this was one of those situations where you are .... and I hate using this phrase .... "damn if you do and damn if you don't". In this case .... President Obama chose the "damn if you don't" option. What I would like to know is why did he choose this option. If I have to hazard a opinion, my guess is that he saw the possibility of another Iraq war but in a Syrian context, and chose not to get the U.S. involved in another Middle Eastern war.

As to what is my own personal take .... I prefer that we stay out of this civil war. Lay the red lines that would get us involved, but otherwise let our allies (Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc.) sort this mess out. And when Assad is kicked out, assist our allies as best as we can in stabilizing the situation.

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