Obama Approves Arming Syrian Rebels
Well, it’s official. After months of mounting pressure, President Obama has approved arming Syrian rebels looking to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad. This comes only hours after Bill Clinton publicly said he supported the idea of arming rebels and a month after Sen. John McCain snuck into Syria to meet with rebel leaders.
White House officials confirmed Thursday that the administration would send weapons and other aid to rebel Syrian forces after determining that leader Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against the opposition.
“Following on the credible evidence that the regime has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people, the president has augmented the provision of non-lethal assistance to the civilian opposition, and also authorized the expansion of our assistance to the Supreme Military Council (SMC), and we will be consulting with Congress on these matters in the coming weeks,” officials said in a statement.
President Obama had long warned of a “red line” involving the use of chemical weapons that, if crossed, would result in (unspecified) U.S. action. In late April, U.S. intelligence confirmed “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons against its own people. President Obama largely tabled proposals for increased U.S. intervention since then, calling for more evidence.
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