Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic Hof was quoted by Bloomberg on how President Obama’s foreign policy strategy in Syria is challenged by Assad’s military gains:

The administration “does not have a clear way forward,” said Fred Hof, who was Clinton’s special adviser for Syria in 2012. It is “sort of trapped in a sense of skepticism that there is anything at all useful” that the U.S. can do, he said this month.


As Iran and Russia increased their support for Assad in 2012, Obama rejected a secret recommendation to arm the rebels from Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey, and CIA Director David Petraeus, according to Hof.

“If that recommendation had been accepted and implemented in August 2012, we’d be in a different and better place right now in Syria,” said Hof, who resigned in September 2012 as Clinton’s envoy to the Syrian opposition.


Obama paid a “very, very high price” for that deal, said Hof, who’s now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “It has enabled the regime to buy time, secure in the knowledge that it would not be attacked by the United States,” he said.

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Related Experts: Frederic C. Hof