The Obama administration is getting ready to send arms to Syrian rebels, The Washington Post's Karen DeYoung reports, by way of very convoluted descriptions from anonymous senior administration officials attempting to describe the Obama administration's thinking. President Obama will decide whether to send arms within weeks, just before Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Post reports. It's a decision that's still in progress:
[O]fficials described [Obama] as ready to move on what one described as the 'left-hand side' of a broad spectrum ranging from 'arming the opposition to boots on the ground.' … 'We’re clearly on an upward trajectory,' the official said.
Got that? The United States is on the left-hand side of an upward trajectory toward an open door that within weeks could lead to military action. At right, an illustrated guide to where the United States stands on this decision. The United States needs to clear up its metaphors so the United States knows how to "think" about the problem.
The Obama administration hopes to convince Putin to stop backing Bashar al Assad with evidence Syria used chemical weapons. Obama alluded to that in his Tuesday press conference, saying, "If we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, we can find ourselves in a position where we can’t mobilize the international community..."
Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a statement Tuesday condemning Obama for inaction. "There are many options at our disposal, including military options short of boots on the ground in Syria, that can make a positive impact on the crisis…" they said. While Graham called for boots on the ground in Syria in March, McCain said this week, "The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria." There just isn't public support for that, he said.
In the meantime, the State Department says Syria still has to answer questions about its nuclear program, Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin reports. "The Assad regime's brutal campaign of violence against the Syrian people and the resulting unrest cannot be an excuse for not cooperating with the" International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tom Countryman, the assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation, at a conference in Geneva on Monday.