In July, Syrian rebel lobbyists reported that the Obama Administration had told them they would not be able to intervene in a serious way until after the November election. The vote’s over and now the meddling can begin in earnest.
That’s the message from US officials tonight, who say the president is now considering several options for deeper intervention into the ever worsening civil war, including the possibility of directly arming certain rebel factions.
Up until now the US has just been playing the role of facilitator, with the CIA smuggling other nations’ arms into Syria for them through various intermediaries. Officials say no decision has been made yet on whether or not to move directly into arms supplying.
If the decision is made, it will make the question of which factions to arm all the more difficult, as the US at present maintains at least a level of deniability in its current smuggling. With various groups vying to be the Western-friendly “umbrella,” and myriad secular and Islamist factions on the ground, it will be an uphill battle for the US to convince the world it isn’t arming terrorists.