Arming Syria Rebels: State Dept. Says Maybe

State Dept. Says If Assad Won't Step Down, Arms Will Flow

by Jason Ditz, February 21, 2012

Yesterday’s reports that the US was ruling out arming Syrian rebels were apparently untrue, as the US State Department says today that the option is being kept open, and that “if we can’t get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear” the arms option would be considered.

Serious speculation about direct US armament of Syria’s rebel factions started on Sunday, when Sens. John McCain (R – AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R – SC) insisted that the rebels “deserved” US weapons. McCain added that the US could use “third world nations” to funnel the weapons in to retain deniability.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey had seemingly put the kibosh on that yesterday, saying that it was “premature” to start talking about arming factions in the nation.

Today’s comments from the State Department, however, suggest that “premature” could have been referring to a matter of weeks, and that the idea is very much being considered as one of the ways the US could intervene in the nation.

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