Reuters quotes Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic Hof on the $500 million White House proposal to arm moderate members of the Syrian opposition:
Fred Hof, a former State Department official involved in formulating Syria policy before he joined the Atlantic Council think tank in 2012, said the presence of Islamic State was “promoted almost deliberately by Assad as he has sought over the past three years to try to change the nature of the opposition to his regime.”
That could change. David Schenker, a former Pentagon adviser on Syria during President George W. Bush’s administration, said the United States may decide to offer anti-tank guns. Such weapons would require more sophisticated training. Hof and others, however, say it’s unclear if such expanded training could be covered by $500 million.
“This $500 million, even it were appropriated tomorrow, or after tomorrow, it is not in the greater scheme of things a whole lot of money. And the appetite for the American taxpayer and the American Congress to get deeply into this in terms of monetary commitments, that appetite is under control,” said Hof.