New thinking may be entering into the Obama administration's calculation of how best to resolve the conflict in Syria. One of the options on the table, according to our partner The New York Times, is providing arms directly to the Syrian opposition.
David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, has been following the story. Sanger is the author of "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power."
"I think it is the end of the election that has made a discussion that was nearly impossible to have in Washington once again possible," Sanger says. "Secondly, I think [there is a] a sense that things are finally turning truly bad for President Assad." He believes that "there is this sense that we might be at a tipping point, and I think the U.S. doesn't want to be behind that curve."
Sanger says that, as Libya was, Syria is an intersection of a humanitarian mission and a strategic one. "Syria is really Iran's last friend in the region, and the place through which it transits a lot of its weaponry," Sanger says. "If Syria went, presumably it's pretty bad news for the Iranians."
The United States is considering several different options, including providing arms to the rebels. Still, every option for further involvement has it's downside. For example, furnishing Turkey with missiles could be dangerous, and Sanger says there is "absolutely no enthusiasm" for the idea of sending in ground troops. In the coming weeks, American action will likely depend largely on whether it becomes clear that Syria is indeed at a "tipping point."
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