The Obama administration has for now abandoned efforts for a diplomatic settlement to the conflict in Syria, and instead it is increasing aid to the rebels and redoubling efforts to rally a coalition of like-minded countries to forcibly bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad, American officials say.
Administration officials have been in talks with officials in Turkey and Israel over how to manage a Syrian government collapse. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is headed to Israel in the next several days to meet with Israeli defense counterparts, following up on a visit last week by President Obama’s national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, in part to discuss the Syrian crisis.
The White House is now holding daily high-level meetings to discuss a broad range of contingency plans — including safeguarding Syria’s vast chemical weapons arsenal and sending explicit warnings to both warring sides to avert mass atrocities — in a sign of the escalating seriousness of the Syrian crisis following a week of intensified fighting in Damascus, the capital, and the killing of Mr. Assad’s key security aides in a bombing attack.
The administration has had regular talks with the Israelis about how Israel might move to destroy Syrian weapons facilities, administration officials said. The administration is not advocating such an attack, the officials said, because of the risk that it would give Mr. Assad an opportunity to rally support against Israeli interference.
The plan appears to be as with Libya, to greatly increase assistance to rebel groups and give them the means to force al-Assad out by violent means. In other words, regime change, Obama style (hopefully without the ten year war afterwards with US troops.)
It's pretty clear that the massacres in Syria will not stop unless al-Assad goes, but I'm not sure the cure will be better than the disease or not here. It's at least worth debating. Sadly, there's no such thing as political debate in Washington these days, so whatever the Obama administration decides to do, it's already a done deal.