- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
Ex-State Dept. official: U.S. will get ‘sucked in’ to Syria war
Question of the Day
“The United States will not have the luxury of standing aloof from what is happening in Syria under any circumstances,” Frederic Hof, who left the Obama administration in September, said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “One way or the other, the United States is going to be sucked into this.”
The nearly 23-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has threatened to engulf Syria’s neighbors. Last week, Israel conducted an airstrike on a military target inside Syria that drew an angry response from the Assad regime and its regional ally, Iran.
While forecasting the United States will be drawn ever more deeply into the conflict, Mr. Hof said he did not support strategic bombing campaigns on Syrian targets or putting U.S. troops on the ground.
“The question now … is whether or not we can shape [on outcome] on the margins,” he added.
Top Pentagon officials revealed for the first time on Thursday that they supported a recommendation last year from then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and then-CIA Director David Petraeus that the U.S. arm the Syrian rebels.
The New York Times first reported the plan on Feb. 2. It said the White House rejected the recommendation over concerns it could draw the U.S. into the Syrian conflict and that the arms could fall into the wrong hands.
“It’s a bit more complicated than just the shorthand of ‘arm the rebels,’ ” said Mr. Hof, noting there were legitimate questions about the proliferation of weapons.
The difficulty: “trying as best we can to make sure the people we think ought to have arms get them, and try to make sure that the people we think should not have arms don’t get them. This is easier said than done,” Mr. Hof said.
The U.S. has provided non-lethal and humanitarian aid to Syrian rebel forces and civilians.
More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the war, according to the United Nations.
The conflict has left more than 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including 2 million Syrians who have fled their homes inside the country and created more than 630,000 refugees. The refugees are pouring into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. Most are women and children.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence
- Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists
- Iran official: Sanctions 'utterly failed' to stop nuclear program
- China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow