Syrian Rebels To Receive U.S. Arms

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

Washington’s new pledge to Syria: More military aid to the rebels. We’ll ask what aid and what it may mean.

his Tuesday, June 4, 2013 file photo citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian rebels preparing to fire locally made rockets, in Idlib province, northern Syria. (Edlib News Network ENN/AP File)

This Tuesday, June 4, 2013 citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian rebels preparing to fire locally made rockets in Idlib province in northern Syria. (Edlib News Network/AP File)

The US has walked into enough quagmires — think Iraq, Afghanistan and, lest we forget, Vietnam — that it finally knows a slippery slope when it sees one.  At least, President Obama sees one in Syria today.  But the ‘do something!’ camp in Washington and in the Middle East has been pushing hard for more direct American action.

Well, the administration finally gave in last week and agreed to start arming the rebels.   You could almost hear the White House holding its nose.

This hour, On Point: America’s slow walk into the Syrian civil war.


Clarissa Ward, foreign correspondent for CBS News. (@clarissaward)

Paul Pillar, core faculty member of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He recently wrote “The Commitment Ploy.”

Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow with the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence and director of research for the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. He recently wrote “Syria Solution Could Lie In Bosnia.” (@MichaelEOHanlon)

From The Reading List

CBS News: Arming Syria Rebels Easier Said Than Done — “The announcement came at a crucial time for the rebels. They’re struggling to keep morale up in the face of weapons and ammunition shortages, after being dealt a decisive military blow with their defeat in the strategic town of Qusair. That defeat also marked the first time that fighters from the Iranian-backed, Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah — branded a terrorist organization by the U.S. — openly fought alongside the Syrian army in significant numbers.”

The Christian Science Monitor:Why U.S. Must Give Military Aid To Syria’s Rebels — “The war in Syria is at a turning point. Backed by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah militants, Bashar al-Assad has the upper hand. Ending the war requires backing him into a corner from which peace talks provide his only safe escape. US military aid for the rebels can help do that.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Military Proposal to Arm Rebels Includes No-Fly Zone in Syria — “Asked by the White House to develop options for Syria, military planners have said that creating an area to train and equip rebel forces would require keeping Syrian aircraft well away from the Jordanian border. To do that, the military envisages creating a no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials.”

The New York Times: Text Of White House Statement On Chemical Weapons In Syria — “The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete. While the lethality of these attacks make up only a small portion of the catastrophic loss of life in Syria, which now stands at more than 90,000 deaths, the use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades. We believe that the Assad regime maintains control of these weapons. We have no reliable, corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.”

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