Last week, a group of senior Obama administration officials met to finalize a package of options for aiding both the internal and external Syrian opposition, to include providing direct humanitarian and communications assistance to the Syrian opposition, two administration officials confirmed toRogin quotes his official sources further, writing, This meeting of what's known as the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council set forth a new and assertive strategy for expanding U.S. engagement with Syrian activists and providing them with the means to organize themselves, but stops short of providing any direct military assistance to the armed opposition."These moves are going to invest the U.S. in a much deeper sense with the opposition," one administration official said. "U.S. policy is now aligned with enabling the opposition to overthrow the Assad regime. This codifies a significant change in our Syria policy."
The article also lays out the administration's thinking on a number of related issues.
- Concerning the Syrian Opposition being armed by allied Gulf States like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the administration is tolerant of the idea, but does not want to publicly endorse it, in a sense giving the White House future wiggle room.. "The decision has been made at the next Friends of Syria meeting to not oppose any proposals to arm the FSA and we're not going to publicly or privately message on that," said one
- The plan to provide communication and humanitarian assistance to the opposition is being tasked to the State Department and USAID, working through State's "Middle East Partnership Initiative."
- Perhaps most importantly, the White House has decided to back the newly established Syrian National Council Defense Committee as the administrative body through which opposition assistance will be coordinated, despite the dismissal of the SNC'd defense committee by the Free Syrian Army