The debate over U.S. arms aid for Syrian rebels


Hour 1

Guests:  Michael Doran and Mona Yacoubian

Citing evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people, last week President Obama announced the U.S. will begin sending light weapons to aid Syrian rebel groups. The shift in policy is the subject of heated debate within the U.S. and internationally where the President is meeting this week with other world leaders at the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland. The violent Syrian civil war is in its third year and estimates are that over 90,000 civilians have been killed and 1.5 million Syrian refugees have flooded neighboring countries. Supporters of the President’s decision cite Iran and Hezbollah’s increasing involvement with the Assad government and warn of a dangerous spill-over effect in the region. Critics say that arming the rebels will do nothing to protect civilians and that U.S. weapons could eventually end up in the wrong hands should the government be overthrown. In this hour of Radio Times we’ll talk about the Administration’s decision to arm Syrian rebels, how far U.S. involvement might go, and what are the likely outcomes. Our guests are MICHAEL DORAN of the Brookings Institution and MONA YACOUBIAN of the Stimson Center

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