Tony Karon writes: Not only is the Obama administration no longer convinced that Syria’s armed rebellion is about to topple President Bashar Al Assad, a rebel military victory does not even appear to be Washington’s preferred outcome.
A little over a year ago, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the Assad regime as “a dead man walking”, and President Barack Obama expressed confidence, in his 2012 State of the Union address, that “the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change can’t be reversed”.
This year, by contrast, Syria barely rated a mention in the same speech, with Mr Obama vowing only to “keep the pressure on the Syrian regime … and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian”.
The rebels clearly can’t win the war with the current level of support being offered by outside powers. Moreover, Mr Obama has reportedly dismissed proposals from within in his administration for arming insurgents, and Monday’s European Union rebuff of efforts by the UK, France and Italy to lift an embargo on arming the rebels reinforced the sense of western reluctance to invest in a rebel military victory. [Continue reading...]