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Syria Conflict: U.S. Mounts Quiet, Limited Effort to Weaken Bashar al-Assad's Rule

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Free Syrian Army soldiers rip a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad at the Bab al-Salam border crossing to Turkey on July 22, 2012. (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP/GettyImages) | Getty Images

The U.S. has been mounting a secret but limited effort to speed the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad without using force, scrambling spies and diplomats to block arms and oil shipments from Iran and passing intelligence to front-line allies.

A centerpiece of the effort this year focused on getting Iraq to close its airspace to Iran-to-Syria flights that U.S. intelligence concluded were carrying arms for Assad loyalists—contrary to flight manifests saying they held cut flowers. The U.S. has also tried to keep ships believed to carry arms and fuel for Syria from traversing the Suez Canal, with mixed results.

Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal

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