US to fund Syria “regime change”

As we recently noted in the case of Iran, the Bush administration seems divided between Pentagon hardliners who seek a military solution and State Department pragmatists who would pursue a peaceful “regime change” scenario in Syria. But these are not mutually exclusive options, of course. In most recent cases of Washington effecting a power transfer in a targeted country—from Nicaragua in 1989 to Yugoslavia in 2000—a combination of external military pressure and internal political support was brought to bear.

Syria: US to Finance Opposition
The United States will allocate $5 million to finance the Syrian oppsition and “accelerate the work of the reformers,” the State Department said, two days after announcing a similar $85 million plan for the Iranian opposition. The Syrian money would come from the department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, it said, and “will build up Syrian civil society and support organizations promoting democratic practices,” the department said. (NYT, Feb. 18, via AFP)

More at Qatar Peninsula, Melbourne Herald, Feb. 17, both from wire services.

See our last post on Syria.