SYRIA QUANDARY

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation -

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pears to be fac­ing a pol­icy quandary over what to do about the es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence by Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces against civil­ians and op­po­si­tion rebel forces.

Other than con­demn­ing the wide­spread shelling at­tacks, so far the ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­fus­ing to in­ter­vene, ei­ther mil­i­tar­ily or through covert ac­tion in sup­port of the Free Syr­ian Army or against the Bashar As­sad regime and its forces.

U.S. of­fi­cials, how­ever, are closely watch­ing states in the re­gion. One coun­try that could take ac­tion, pos­si­bly mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion, is Saudi Ara­bia.

Both the Saudi King Ab­dul­lah and For­eign Min­is­ter Prince Saud al-faisal re­cently called for covert mil­i­tary aid to rebels and even mil­i­tary at­tacks in sup­port of op­po­si­tion forces.

Qatar’s gov­ern­ment also is con­sid­er­ing the pro­vi­sion of arms to op­po­si­tion forces as well.

The of­fi­cial Saudi Press Agency re­cently quoted the king and for­eign min­is­ter as call­ing for regime change in Syria through the use of force if nec­es­sary.

Asked re­cently if the Syr­ian op­po­si­tion should be pro­vided with arms, the Saudi for­eign min­is­ter said, “I think it’s an ex­cel­lent idea . . . be­cause they have to de­fend them­selves.”

The com­ments from the oil-rich king­dom’s lead­ers were the strong­est state­ments that rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant es­ca­la­tion of Saudi rhetoric since crit­i­cism of the As­sad regime be­gan in Novem­ber.

DIG­I­TAL GLOBE VIA AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A satel­lite im­age shows a pipe­line on fire in Homs, Syria, af­ter it was shelled by gov­ern­ment troops. The U.S. is watch­ing the re­sponse of other Arab na­tions to the con­tin­u­ing vi­o­lence in Syria. The Saudi king and for­eign min­is­ter have called for regime change.

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