White House Meetings Focus on Arms for Syrian Rebels

New Decision Expected in Next Few Days

State Department, military and CIA officials are gathering at the White House today for the first in several days of meetings on Syria, centering around the prospect of starting to directly arm rebel fighters.

The move seems ill-timed, with the administration just having endorsed the Geneva Conference aimed at ending the war, only to find out that the rebels are refusing to participate and trying to extort weapons out of the US as a condition for showing up at all.

The timing is mostly about Syrian government forces making some inroads against the rebels, ousting them from the strategically important city of Qusayr and moving on to Aleppo, the big prize in the north of the country.

Though rebel claims that they are on the brink of collapse seem, as always, overstated, some in the Obama Administration seem determined to keep the war going at all costs so they can impose some sort of settlement, and if that means looking even more hypocritical by arming the rebels at the same time they’re trying to organize a peace conference, that is unlikely to be a serious obstacle.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.