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Hagel: Arming Syrian rebels is an option

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel became the first official to publicly confirm that the U.S. is considering arming Syrian rebels. In a Pentagon press conference he said, "Arming the rebels – that's an option. You look at and rethink all options. It doesn't mean you do or you will ... It doesn't mean that the president has decided on anything."

The New York Times noted that "both his tone and his body language indicated that the assessment process would be careful and deliberate." For some months the Obama administration has called the use of chemical weapons by Assad's regime a "red line" that would prompt military intervention. However, claims that chemical weapons have been used have left Western government equivocating over action. Asthe Guardian noted, "On Thursday the British defense secretary, Philip Hammond, said the west would have to wait for any further chemical attacks to be sure of Syrian government involvement, because previously gathered evidence had begun to degrade and could not prove a link."

Via the New York Times:

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