Fearing a post-Assad bloodbath in Syria, it has insisted that adding more weapons into the mix would only fuel more violence.
WASHINGTON: The United States is stepping up support for the Syrian rebels but, despite the failure of UN envoy Kofi Annan’s mission, is sticking to its refusal to pour arms into a complex conflict.Annan, the UN and the Arab League’s pointman on Syria, resigned on Thursday, leaving the diplomatic track in shreds and spurring calls for action, but the US administration again said it was not considering military intervention.
“Our position has not changed: We provide non-lethal assistance to the opposition,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said aboard Air Force One.Some experts and US lawmakers now openly question whether Washington should not use its superior military strength and intelligence capabilities to tip the scales in the favor of the opposition and hasten the regime’s demise. But the US administration is reluctant to become embroiled in another Middle Eastern war with November’s election looming.
Fearing a post-Assad bloodbath in Syria, it has insisted that adding more weapons into the mix — beyond Assad’s impressive government stockpile and the rebels’ growing arsenal of smuggled guns — would only fuel more violence.
“Our analysis is that the regime’s capability is being weakened. That the Syrian army soldiers are becoming demoralized and that the Syrian opposition are gaining ground,” a State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, said. “So our strategy is having an effect,” he insisted. “We are going to continue to use every lever that we have in our plan to hasten the day that Assad steps aside.”Some $25 million in non-lethal US support such as communications has already been earmarked for the Syrian opposition.