AFTER DELAY, OBAMA TO STEP UP SYRIA ARMS SHIPMENTS — The WSJ reports that despite President Obama’s promise to arm Syrian rebel forces after the first use of chemical weapons in that country’s civil war in 2012, no U.S. equipment has reached the Islamist fighters backed by the administration. The reports calls into question the ability of rebels to capitalize on the limited airstrikes against government forces Obama has asked Congress to approve.
McCain says Obama will now send advanced weapons – Fresh from a huddle with Obama, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told The Daily Beast that the president promised to now ship more advanced weapons systems. McCain, a longstanding advocate of U.S. entry in the war, said that despite Obama’s public insistence that American forces would not be used to topple Syria’s government, “For the first time, we have an outline of action that could lead to the removal of Bashar al-Assad.”
[“A vote against that resolution by Congress, I think, would be catastrophic, because it would undermine the credibility of the United States of America and the president of the United States”—Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during a press conference following a 90-minute meeting with President Obama.]
The takeaway – If Obama is indeed escalating U.S. involvement ahead of scheduled congressional votes on his proposed bombing campaign, he may be able to get resistant lawmakers to yield. It’s always more appealing to back the winning team. But Obama will also increase anxiety about the U.S. being drawn into a larger conflict on the side of the Islamists.
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