The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.
2) Syria’s relationship with the U.S. broke down when it opposed the Iraq war in 2003. From the State Department:
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 the Syrian Government began limited cooperation with United States in the global war against terrorism. However, Syria opposed the Iraq war in March 2003, and bilateral relations with the United States swiftly deteriorated. In December 2003, President Bush signed into law the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, which provided for the imposition of a series of sanctions against Syria if Syria did not end its support for Palestinian terrorist groups, end its military and security interference in Lebanon, cease its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and meet its obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq.
Syria is no model nation, but some balance and background are sorely needed in this debate. Even people in the DoD I’ve spoken with scoff at the idea of this as a civil war in the traditional sense. It is an invasion by mercenaries financed by third party nations, technically speaking. Not a civil war.