Syria Today: The Fight Within the Obama Administration

By Scott Lucas January 1, 2014 – eaworldview – In recent weeks, the faction within the Obama Administration which favors a pullback from support of Syria’s opposition and insurgency — to the point of accepting President Assad’s stay in power — has had the upper hand in the US media, using spokespeople like former Ambassador Ryan Crocker. – Now those within the Administration who failed to get US military intervention this summer, even after the regime’s chemical weapons attacks of August 21, have hit back through The Wall Street Journal.

The officials have told the Journal that Washington failed to anticipate the impact of Hezbollah’s influx of fighters this spring, which bolstered Assad’s troops. More importantly, they implicitly criticize others within the Administration who did not respond:

U.S. intelligence and military officers watched the evolution with alarm from the sidelines, at least one step behind developments on the ground. The White House was unwilling to commit significant resources to back opposition fighters, wary of getting drawn into another conflict in the region or inadvertently backing violent extremists. Wary U.S. intelligence officials told policy makers that a cohesive, well-organized opposition didn’t exist and was unlikely to take shape even if the U.S. made a more substantial investment, officials involved in the deliberations said.

In June, the Administration, after sustained pressure from allies like Britain and France, finally agreed to public supply of military aid to the insurgency. However, none was ever delivered, and the covert US program of support was also limited, causing tensions with other backers of the insurgency such as Saudi Arabia.