Will Obama send (more) Americans to Syria?
By Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News | The Ticket – 1 hr 15 mins ago
A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover from snipers in Deir al-Zor, June 13, 2013.Picture taken June 13, 2013. …
The White House announcement that President Barack Obama has decided to provide direct military aid to Syria’s rebels didn’t include the word “arms.” And the word “weapons” only appears as part of “chemical weapons,” as in “our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons.”
In fact, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, who detailed the decision on a conference call with reporters late Thursday, repeatedly declined their invitation to detail what, exactly, Washington is sending to try to tip the balance in the opposition’s favor.
“This is more a situation where we're just not going to be able to lay out an inventory of what exactly falls under the scope of that assistance other than to communicate that we have made that decision,” Rhodes said. (He used variations on the ‘inventory’ line at least four times during the call).
That’s a little odd. Here’s how National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden described a decision to escalate aid to the rebels on April 30, 2013: “Additional communications equipment, armor, night vision goggles, and vehicles are among the items that are being discussed.” That’s….inventor-ish.
What if the White House's new strategic vagueness aims to hide the fact that Obama is looking at sending more Americans to Syria?
"More," because it's an open secret that the CIA and US special forces have people on the ground in Syria to help train the rebels and to make sure the weapons flowing into the country reach moderate elements of the opposition, not the al-Qaida-affiliated fighters. The U.S. took a similar approach during the conflict in Libya, known as "wingtips on the ground" -- as opposed to "boots on the ground," which might both require greater Congressional input and raise the hackles of the war-weary U.S. public.Sending more Americans might make strategic sense
: The fractious opposition in Syria has struggled with command-and-control, and sending advanced communications equipment won't solve that. If Washington is sending advanced weapons, someone will need to show the rebels how to use them. And U.S. officials have long worried about fitful cooperation between rebel fighters and the political wing of the opposition.
[link to news.yahoo.com