For the White House, a Wary Wait as Syria Boils

(New York Times) Peter Baker - The bloody crackdown in Syria has put President Obama in a deeply uncomfortable position. With American troops only recently withdrawn from Iraq and still in Afghanistan, the president is loath to engage in new military actions, especially one with few advocates, even among human rights groups. The U.S. has expelled the top Syrian diplomat and on Wednesday outlined more financial sanctions against Syria, but there is no serious support inside the West Wing for American military action at this point. Some officials, though, advocate arming the Syrian opposition or doing more to help others do so. All the military contingencies that the Pentagon has developed involve a serious commitment of resources, with no low-cost options as in Libya. Unlike in Libya, there is no defined rebel army holding territory that would be helped by airstrikes. Syria has a better trained, better equipped military, including Russian antiaircraft defenses. And there is no UN or Arab League support for international force.

2012-06-01 00:00:00

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