President Barack Obama’s decision to put off a vote by Congress on the use of military force against Syria in order to pursue a Russian proposal to place Damascus’ chemical-weapons arsenal under international control has evoked both cheers and jeers from across the political spectrum here Wednesday.
Despite Thursday's announcement that President Barack Obama has decided to provide direct military assistance to Syrian rebels, what precisely the administration has in mind remains unclear.
With U.S. intelligence agencies' concluding that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebel forces, the White House announced Thursday that it will increase "the scope and scale" of assistance it has been providing to the opposition, including direct support to its military arm.
With Syrian government forces and their allies scoring a major victory over Western- and Gulf Arab-backed rebel forces this week, neo-conservatives and other anti-Damascus hawks are trying hard to turn up the pressure on President Barack Obama to sharply escalate U.S. support for the opposition.
Ten years after reaching the height of their influence with the invasion of Iraq, the neo-conservatives and other right-wing hawks are fighting hard to retain their control of the Republican Party.