The Obama administration could give the rebels a range of weapons, including small arms, assault rifles, shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades and other anti-tank missiles. The opposition forces could operate most of that equipment without significant training. [...]There's also speculation about the possibility of a no-fly zone:
Obama's opposition to sending American troops into Syria makes it less likely the U.S. will provide sophisticated arms or anti-aircraft weapons that would require large-scale training. Administration officials are also worried about high-powered weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist groups. Hezbollah fighters are among those backing Assad's armed forces, and al-Qaida-linked extremists back the rebellion.
"Washington is considering a no-fly zone to help Assad's opponents," one diplomat said. He said it would be limited "time-wise and area-wise, possibly near the Jordanian border", giving no further details.The big questions, though, are less the specific forms of intervention and more the goals and politics involved. Asking "what's the endgame," NBC's First Read points out that the international politics of this are far more complicated than the domestic politics; after all, domestically, both Sen. John McCain and Bill Clinton are on board. And, hammering home the long-term dangers of serious intervention, Josh Marshall writes that "I think we’ve learned, at great pain and loss, that the US doing surgery on the Middle East creates scar tissue and complications way out of proportion to the hoped for gains."
Imposing a no-fly zone would require the United States to destroy Syria's sophisticated Russian-built air defenses, thrusting it into the war with the sort of action NATO used to help topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya two years ago. Washington says it has not ruled it out, but a decision is not "imminent".