White House Rejected Summer Plan by Clinton, Petraeus to Arm Syrian Rebels

Officials Cite Fear that Move Would Draw US Deeper Into War

by Jason Ditz, February 03, 2013

The Obama Administration has been helping smuggle weapons into Syria for months now, but a plan pushed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-CIA Director David Petraeus to directly arm them with US weapons was apparently a bit too much, according to new reports.

The plan, which involved setting up training camps for rebel fighters and directly arming them was being pushed heavily in the summer, but administration officials say it was rejected over fears it would draw the US deeper into the war than it intended.

The officials also said they had expected a second major push by Petraeus and Clinton after the election, but Clinton ended up in the hospital and Petraeus ended up resigning in disgrace almost immediately thereafter, so the new push never happened.

It may well have been a much different story that time around if it had come up, as President Obama was said to be interested in deferring direct involvement in Syria until after the vote, and his reluctance to escalate too much beforehand may have reflected fear that a new war would be unpopular with voters.

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