Leon Panetta: We wanted to arm the Syrian resistance

The defense secretary told Congress on Thursday that this was the plan before Obama nixed it

Topics: GlobalPost, Syria, Leon Panetta, Defense Department, Pentagon, Politics, ,

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

U.S. defense chiefs told Congress Thursday they backed the possibility of arming Syrian rebels.
Global Post

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers they recommended arming Syria’s rebels.

President Obama ultimately decided against the move, said Reuters, instead providing non-lethal aid to rebels.

It is believed that anti-government rebels are being armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

At a hearing in Congress Thursday, Republican Sen. John McCain asked Pentagon leaders: ”How many more have to die before you recommend military action?”

The Telegraph reported that McCain pressed the leaders on the issue asking: ”Did you support the recommendation by then-Secretary of State Clinton and then-head of CIA General Petraeus that we supply weapons to the resistance in Syria?”

The Pentagon leaders said they had supported the idea but reiterated that they now backed the president’s decision.

“Obviously there were a number of factors that were involved here that ultimately led to the president’s decision to make (the aid) non-lethal,” said Panetta, reported Reuters.

The CIA also supported the decision to arm Syrian rebels.

It is believed that 80,000 people have died during Syria’s nearly two-year civil war.

Other reports put that number closer to 60,000.



More GlobalPost

  • Sexual violence mars Egypt’s once idealistic revolution

    Activists say the attacks are planned, premeditated assaults aimed at tarnishing the image of the revolution and eradicating women from the public sphere.
    Erin Cunningham and Heba Habib February 8, 2013
  • Crisis in Greece (Photos)

    Waves of austerity have left Greece with soaring unemployment and a desperate population. Here’s a look at how it’s changing the country.
    Milos Bicanski February 8, 2013

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>