From the text of his prepared remarks:
In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.
If you’re wondering… there have been multiple reports (The Guardian, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post, and… the US State Department) that Iran has been shipping men and material to Syria (the men may be withdrawn fully soon, though). And if you’re wondering how the local governments will react to Romney’s call for the arming of the Syrian rebels, it’d be pretty much a sigh of relief: the Saudi and Qatar governments have been hesitant about supplying more aid to the rebels precisely because the Obama administration has frozen up on the subject like a rabbit in tharn*. I mention both of these things mostly for the benefit of Democrats and other natsec ignoramuses; I fully expect Republicans and conservatives to be already checked out on these things. Not that I particularly expect that mentioning these things will keep the Left from whining anyway.
But then, having them try to explain why ‘helping Libyan insurgents’ = good while ‘helping Syrian insurgents’ = bad should provide the rest of us with some amusement throughout the morning.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Don’t bother looking for that analogy in the link: the New York Times would never put it in those terms. What the NYT said was this:
For months, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels but have refused to provide heavier weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles, that could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war’s tide. While they have publicly called for arming the rebels, they have held back, officials in both countries said, in part because they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists. As a result, the rebels have just enough weapons to maintain a stalemate, the war grinds on and more jihadist militants join the fray every month.