Via the Corner. Dozens, eh? Even if you define “military” support generously to include weapons shipments to the rebels rather than direct application of a nation’s military assets to the conflict, how many countries could we be talking about here realistically? Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan — all of Iran’s Sunni enemies, basically — plus the intervention-happy French. Who else? Maybe O will lean on traditional U.S. allies to chip in a few MANPADs or RPGs each just so that he can claim that we have their “support” too. After 10 years of leftist sneering at Bush’s “coalition of the willing” in Iraq, Obama’s own feeble variation would be the perfect ending to Democrats’ change of heart on smashing Baathist regimes that use gas as their weapon of choice.
Speaking of MANPADs, McCain’s being cryptic about what Obama promised him yesterday but I don’t like the idea of “more advanced” weapons floating around in jihadi-controlled rebel areas of Syria:
In a private meeting at the White House on Monday with Sen. John McCain, President Obama said he plans to give Syrian rebels more advanced weapons, according to McCain. If this happens, it would mark an expansion of Obama’s latest Syria strategy of possibly mounting a military response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
“He said that he was willing to upgrade the capabilities of the Free Syrian Army,” McCain said in an interview with The Daily Beast, referring to the largest of the rebel groups. “This was a shift in the president’s thought and actions from before.”…
Obama didn’t say which weapons he would give the rebels, but McCain said the Free Syrian Army needs antiarmor and antiaircraft weapons to shift the momentum on the ground to its side. He said if the administration gives him enough specifics about the new arms pledges, he’ll vote to authorize military action.
One of the great fears of western intel in deposing Qaddafi was that his supply of anti-aircraft weapons would end up confiscated by jihadis and then used against western passenger jets. (Collecting MANPADs may — may — have been what the CIA was up to in Benghazi.) Presumably O has something different in mind for the anti-aircraft weapons we’ll be sending our new allies. Maybe something with a shorter range? As goofy and counterproductive as this Syrian adventure is, I can’t quite believe the White House would be so incompetent as to introduce jet-killing weapons into the maelstrom. But then, I’ve been on vacation and haven’t been watching this clusterfark moment by moment. It’s been one amateurish embarrassment after another on Syria — first O blathering about a “red line” that he apparently had no real interest in enforcing, then vowing to arm the rebels while quietly withholding armaments, then rattling his saber about an impending attack before crawling to Congress to bail him out when even the British wouldn’t join the new mission. Why wouldn’t he conclude that, sure, we can somehow guarantee that only the “good” rebels get to use our MANPADs? He’s made bigger mistakes than that in all this.
Anyway. Help me get caught up on the news. Has anyone explained yet why preparations for an attack were leaked days, if not weeks, before O was ready to pull the trigger?