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Syria Live Coverage: Getting the Story Wrong on US Intervention

Claiming footage of women and children enduring a regime attack on Houla in Homs Province on Friday

Syria Feature: Assessing The "Free Syrian Army" and the Supreme Military Command
Saturday's Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Make Key Advance in South

1608 GMT: Insurgent and Oilfields. State news agency SANA claims insurgents have set fire to three oil wells in Deir Ez Zor Province, causing a daily loss of 4,670 barrels of oil and 52 cubic meters of natural gas.

SANA accused "terrorists" of setting the fires after fighting among themselves over how to divide the oil.

Insurgents have seized several oilfields in eastern Syria.

1444 GMT: Opposition Prime Minister-Designate Inside Syria. Ghassan Hitto, named Prime Minister-designate by the Syrian Coalition, visits Bab al-Hawa Hospital, just inside Syria on the Turkish border:

1241 GMT: Damage. One of a series of before-and-after photographs on Al Jazeera English of the destruction to Syria's iconic locations and monuments --- this is the Grand Mosque in the Damascus suburb of Douma, from where many protests started in the opening stages of the uprising:

0707 GMT: Casualties. The Local Coordination Committees have claimed that 114 people died on Saturday, including 48 in Damascus and its suburbs, 19 in Idlib Province, and 15 in Aleppo Province.

0644 GMT: US Intervention. I begin this morning with a high-profile story in The Wall Street Journal which goes badly wrong.

Under the headline, "Inside Obama's Syria Debate", Adam Entous purportedly lays out the history of Obama Administration response to the Syrian conflict: "Two years into the bloodiest chapter of the Arab Spring, the administration, under pressure from lawmakers and allies, has only taken halting steps to help provide training, equipment and intelligence to moderate rebel fighters."

There is some value in the article in its description of American policy debate in 2012, notably the consideration of a no-fly zone in northern Syria --- which supposedly died because of Turkish objections in August.

But then the investigation, fed by US officials, goes astray. It has no information beyond November, when it asserts that proposals for interventions "died" because of a warning from a CIA "Red Team" that the arms supplies to insurgents would not dislodge President Assad.

A CIA group may have put forward that memorandum, but it was only part of a larger discussion, following complications and concerns in the autumn over arms supplies as the factions within the insurgency --- some of them "extremist" and even "terrorist" --- came into focus for the Administration.

By December, the decision was not to cut off arms supplies but to try and shape a "moderate" insurgency by providing arms supplies to the "right" groups. Thus, a far different story from that in the Journal has been unfolding.

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