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Syria: America Steps onto the Slippery Slope

Today's award for the most euphemistic lead paragraph goes to the New York Times. Paraphrasing Hillary Clinton, the Times says the U.S. has agreed to "send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria's military."

Read the full article at

Iraq Slams Saudis, Qataris for Plans to Arm Syrian Rebels
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment, April 2

The meeting of the so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ group of nations in Istanbul on Sunday produced some heated exchanges over a key issue: whether to arm the Syrian rebel forces.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal gave an impassioned speech in which he said it was “a duty” to provide the Syrian opposition with weapons, and he reaffirmed that necessity of getting arms to the revolutionaries of Syria [....]

He prefaced his remarks by saying that the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (the Sunni oil monarchies) are seeking closer relations with the United States. That framing of the speech strongly suggests that Saud al-Faisal wants to arm the Syrian opposition as part of a game being played by the US and the GCC against Iran, which is among Syria’s more important supporters.

The Saudis are currently fighting Iran on several fronts, including a plan to flood the oil markets with excess petroleum so as to allow the US to strongarm friends and allies into purchasing petroleum from some other place than Iran.

In contrast, Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki (Iraq also attended the summit) strongly supported the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and severely condemned the plan to give arms to the rebels.[....]

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