But when Petraeus presented the plan to the President, Obama balked. He had just ended the Iraq war and did not want to get mired in a new conflict. He had promised war-weary Americans he would do "more nation-building at home." Besides, the weapons could fall into the wrong hands. Given Saudi Arabia was already arming rebels, he didn't think American arms would make a decisive difference in driving Assad from power. Clinton argued that the U.S. could train fighters responsibly, and that the goal was to weaken Assad enough to get him to the negotiating table with the opposition.
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