(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton is attempting to separate herself from some perceived foreign policy missteps by the Obama administration, including the decision not to provide arms to moderate Syrians early during their conflict with President Bashar al-Assad.
In an interview with The Atlantic, Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time Assad’s forces began their crackdown on pro-democracy advocates, said that the administration’s failure to provide weapons “left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”
At the time, the White House was concerned that heavy artillery and other lethal arms would fall into the hands of al Qaeda groups who are also fighting in Syria to depose Assad’s government.
Clinton, a possible candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said she also disagrees with Obama’s light-handed approach on U.S. foreign involvement following 13 years of fighting in two overseas wars.
However, Clinto was quick to praise the president as well, saying, “He’s thoughtful, he’s incredibly smart, and able to analyze a lot of different factors that are all moving at the same time.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN