An extra-marital affair and a fall on the head put Syria in the hands of al-Qaeda?
The New York Times
is reporting that outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus had developed a plan to arm Syrian rebels who are not affiliated with Islamists, but the plan fell apart when Petraeus was forced to resign due to his extramarital affair and Clinton fell and hit her head
But it was Syria that proved to be the most difficult test. As that
country descended into civil war, the administration provided
humanitarian aid to the growing flood of refugees, pushed for sanctions
and sought to organize the political opposition. The United States
lagged France, Britain and Persian Gulf states in recognizing that
opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syria people, but by
December, Mr. Obama had taken that step.
Still, rebel fighters were clamoring for weapons and training. The White
House has been reluctant to arm them for fear that it would draw the
United States into the conflict and raise the risk of the weapons
falling into the wrong hands. Rebel extremists affiliated with Al Qaeda
had faced no such constraints in securing weapons from their backers.
When Mr. Petraeus was the commander of forces in Iraq and then-Senator
Clinton was serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee and preparing
for her 2008 presidential bid, she had all but called him a liar for
trumpeting the military gains of the troop increase ordered by President
Bush. But serving together in the Obama administration, they were
allies when it came to Syria, as well as on the debate over how many
troops to send to Afghanistan at the beginning of the administration.
Mr. Petraeus had a background in training foreign forces from his years
in Iraq, and his C.I.A. job put him in charge of covert operations. The
Americans already had experience in providing nonlethal assistance to
some of the rebels.
The plan that Mr. Petraeus developed and Mrs. Clinton supported called
for vetting rebels and establishing and arming a group of fighters with
the assistance of some neighboring states. Defense Secretary Leon E.
Panetta was said by some officials to be sympathetic to the idea. Mr.
Petraeus and a spokesman for Mr. Panetta declined to comment.
Wary of becoming entangled in the Syria crisis, the White House pushed
back, and Mrs. Clinton backed off. Some administration officials
expected the issue to be joined again after the election. But when Mr.
Petraeus resigned because of an extramarital affair and Mrs. Clinton
suffered a concussion, missing weeks of work, the issue was shelved.
In an interview last week, Mrs. Clinton declined to comment on her role
in the arms debate and emphasized other steps the United States had
taken. “We have worked assiduously, first to create some kind of
legitimate opposition,” she said. “We have been the architect and main
mover of very tough sanctions against Assad.”
She added: “Having said all that, Assad is still killing. The opposition
is increasingly being represented by Al Qaeda extremist elements.” She
also said that the opposition was getting messages from the ungoverned
areas in Pakistan where some of the Qaeda leadership was believed to be
hiding — a development she called “deeply distressing.”
So if this report is correct, it will one day be written that the United States earned Syria's enmity for the next 100 because David Petraeus couldn't keep his pants zippered, Hillary Clinton couldn't stay on her feet, and Barack Hussein Obama was in bed with the Islamists.
What could go wrong?
Labels: al-Qaeda, Barack Hussein Obama, David Petraeus, Free Syrian Army, Hillary Clinton, Islamist, Syrian uprising