Why U.S. Military Aid Increases Uncertainty in Syria

Jun 28, 2013

An unmarked gravestone with a teddy bear and a rock painted with the Syrian flag to symbolize the children killed in the country's civil war.
Credit Bernd Schwabe / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month President Obama told Charlie Rose the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus in the region, but not his goals for Syria.

Joshua Landis, the author of the blog Syria Comment and the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the United States supplying lethal aid to Syrian rebels is a big change that makes a big difference.

“Once you get all the CIA and everybody else in there - our trainers and Special Forces - then they want to win,” Landis says. “They're not going to do it to play patty-cake."

President Obama has said “winning” in Syria means changing the balance of power enough to force President Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table, but no one knows how to make that happen.

“This is why so many people have been worried about the slippery slope and mission creep and here we go again,” Landis says. “Obama says this is not Iraq, but it's hard to know the differences."