AirTalk for December 12, 2012

President Obama recognizes Syrian allies and enemies

US-POLITICS-OBAMA

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama speaks during Veterans' Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery November 11, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia.

Just one day after the U.S. added a Syrian rebel group to its list of terrorist organizations, President Obama officially recognized the newly-formed Syrian Opposition Coalition as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The President’s Tuesday announcement mirrors similar vocalizations of support from other members of the Friends of Syria group, including France and Britain, who backed the SOC weeks ago. President Obama specified that his formal recognition of the SOC did not include across the board support for all group opposition to the Assad regime, singling out the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group.

Unlike Britain, which has suggested military intervention, the U.S. has not taken an active role in arming the Syrian opposition. What’s next for Syria? What should the U.S.’s role be in assisting the Syrian Opposition Coalition? Is there a way to distinguish between the various rebel coalitions on the ground?  

Guest:

Elizabeth O’Bagy, research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War

Michael Rubin
, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research


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