Recently, commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps bragged that they are on the ground in Syria, and US intelligence officials say Lebanon’s Hezbollah Shiite Muslim extremist organization is also operating inside Syria on Assad’s behalf, though it is not thought to be carrying out military operations there.
Some critics of the Obama administration say the US should be providing more than just communications equipment, and that what the rebels really need is anti-aircraft weaponry to deter Assad’s aerial bombardments.
Sens. John McCain (R) of Arizona and Joe Lieberman (I) of Connecticut both advocate arming the rebels. The two senators also agree with critics who worry that the US risks losing influence with the forces that may eventually govern Syria.
The meeting Clinton hosted on the sidelines of the United Nations sessions this week involved a core group of about two dozen countries from the larger Friends of Syria organization. On the Syrian side, the meeting involved representatives from the Syrian National Council, the expatriate opposition organization, and also some representatives of the revolutionary councils.