Critics are correct when they argue that President Barack Obama doesn’t have a strategy for military victory in Syria. The reality is that despite his decision last week to arm the opposition there, Obama is still playing for a negotiated diplomatic transition.
It’s a confusing policy with multiple objectives: Obama wants to bolster moderate opposition forces under Gen. Salim Idriss until they’re strong enough to negotiate a transition government. He wants to counter recent offensives by Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces aiding President Bashar al-Assad. And he wants to keep Arab nations from bolting the U.S.-led coalition backing Idriss and instead arming radical jihadists.