National Security Brief: Obama Explains His Thinking On Syria

In an interview the New Republic, President Obama explained his thought process on whether and how much the U.S. intervenes in Syria’s civil war. “As I wrestle with those decisions,” he said, “I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations.” Regarding Syria, Obama said, “I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation? Would a military intervention have an impact? … And how do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?” The President, however, did not signal whether he has come to a decision either way and did not offer any hints on what future U.S. policy would be toward Syria. “You make the decisions you think balance all these equities, and you hope that, at the end of your presidency, you can look back and say, I made more right calls than not and that I saved lives where I could, and that America, as best it could in a difficult, dangerous world, was, net, a force for good.” he said.

In other news:

  • Outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is convinced the U.S. has the capability for successful surgical strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities should the president make that decision, signaling that Israel would not attack Iran unilaterally.
  • The U.S. military is expanding its involvement in the French-led conflict in Mali, offering aerial refueling and planes to transport troops from other African nations. U.S. intelligence officials are also providing data to help French warplanes locate and attack militant targets.
  • Iranian officials denied reports of a large explosion at one of its main uranium enrichment plants at Fordow near the religious city of Qom. Reuters says it has been unable to verify the reports.
  • (Photo: AP)