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June 15, 2013

Behind Obama's About-Face on Syria

Wall Street Journal: "The Obama administration tied its dramatic shift in favor of arming Syria's rebels to findings that chemical weapons had been used in the civil war--but the decision, according to people familiar with it, was the product of two months of increasingly unsettling assessments about the war that convinced the president to do something he had previously argued would be a mistake."

"It was more than a week ago, according to American officials, that U.S. intelligence agencies reached their conclusion that 100 to 150 Syrians have been killed by chemical weapons. Thursday's public about-face in American policy toward Syria's two-year civil war was driven by other factors as well... These included growing U.S. concerns about large-scale battlefield deployment of militants from the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah--an appearance that alarmed Israel and caught the Americans by surprise--and President Bashar al-Assad's battlefield gains."

Micah Cohen: "The shift in administration policy on Syria seems reflective of public opinion. Polls have consistently shown Americans are deeply wary of the United States becoming involved in the fighting in Syria. But they also show that public support for intervention increases sharply under circumstances where it is confirmed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons."


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