Saturday, May 4, 2013

Give them a 'chance to succeed'

'President Obama’s visit to Mexico has at least for the moment diverted the foreign policy away from Syria and other Middle East issues. It is clear that Obama is also seeking to change the established dynamics of the US-Mexico dialogue away from narcotics and immigration to economic cooperation. Reports of renewed massacres in Syria, however, indicate that the question of arming the Syrian opposition – which was pushed by the visiting British defense minister – is becoming increasingly inescapable. With new Israeli airstrikes taking place against Hezbollah targets in Syria, US officials realize that they are rapidly approaching a decision point. Our contacts in the Administration still tell us that Obama and his closest advisers remain very skeptical about the logic of deeper intervention in Syria but that the pressures to do so are becoming overwhelming. We expect some form of action by the Administration within the coming weeks, but this will be designed to give “pro-Western’ elements of the opposition what an NSC official described to us as “ chance to succeed” rather than targeted aggressively against the overthrow of the regime. It is fair to say that no one in the White House is looking forward to the next installment of the Syrian story. ... '

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