Pentagon is Ordered to Expand Potential Targets in Syria with a Focus on Forces, New York Times
President Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that the government of President Bashar al-Assad has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

US Orders Embassy Workers Out of Beirut Ahead of Possible Syria Strike, NBC News
The United States has withdrawn all non-emergency embassy workers and their families from Beirut and warned Americans against travel to Lebanon amid looming military strikes on Syria, the State Department said Friday.

Obama Needs Game-Changer to Win House Vote on Syria, The Hill
President Obama’s request for congressional approval of a military strike in Syria is facing failure and could need a significant game-changer to pass the House.

Officials: US Considers Training Syria Rebels, Associated Press
The Obama administration is considering a plan to use U.S. military trainers to help increase the capabilities of the Syrian rebels, in a move that would greatly expand the current CIA training being done quietly in Jordan

Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria, New York Times
Israeli officials have consistently made the case that enforcing Mr. Obama’s narrow “red line” on Syria is essential to halting the nuclear ambitions of Israel’s archenemy, Iran. More quietly, Israelis have increasingly argued that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.

Jabhat al-Nusra and Other Islamists Briefly Capture Historic Christian Town of Ma’loula, Syria Comment
After the Islamist-led rebel alliance took the town, the Syrian regime responded by sending in aircraft to attack the rebel positions. This is the ever-disastrous pattern to the Syria conflict: rebels take a town doing its best to mind its own business, and the regime comes to the defense of the town and destroys it in the process.


What’s Next for Syria?, Atlantic Council Event with Fred Hof, Barry Pavel, Elizabeth O’Bagy, Faysal Itani
A September 4th Atlantic Council discussion moderated by Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof with Research Analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy, Vice President and Brent Scowcroft Center Director Barry Pavel, and Hariri Center Fellow Faysal Itani debated the reasoning and potential effectiveness a limited US strike against Syria might have in changing the military calculus of those involved in the conflict. 

His Holiness the Pope Speaks Out on Syria, Fred Hof, Atlantic Council
There is nothing in the Pope’s letter that should be read as a rebuke to President Obama’s stated desire to use military force to prevent or deter the use and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by the Assad regime.

US Congress Questions Rationale for Striking Syria, Barbara Slavin, Voice of America
Whichever way Congress votes in giving President Obama the authorization he seeks, the congressional hearings this week have been extraordinary for their introspection and bipartisan nature.

Libya’s Lessons on Syria, Karim Mezran, Jason Pack, and Haley Cook, Atlantic Council
The multilateral intervention in Libya offers three lessons: 1) Any intervention has to have a clear political strategy defining the mission’s objectives; 2) limited intervention could have serious consequences; and 3) political legitimacy conferred by Arab and regional powers is essential.

Waiting for the Tomahawks, Hania Mourtada, Foreign Policy
How do Syria’s rebels feel about a US bombing campaign? If there is one thing that Syria’s diverse armed factions converge around, it’s the nagging feeling that the United States wants to pull a fast one on them.

A War the Pentagon Doesn’t Want, Robert H. Scales, Washington Post
Active and retired soldiers are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense.