Much of the trepidation for greater involvement in the Syrian civil war was the presence of al Qaeda affiliated fighters within opposition ranks, and the danger of weapons falling into their hands.
"There is sort of an idea out there that all of the opposition are extremists," says longtime Syria watcher Andrew Tabler with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "They are not, but there are extremists among their ranks."
Who gets the weapons?
For Hof, the funneling of all weapons through Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, the supreme commander of the Syrian Military Council, whom the United States and the West see as an interlocutor, would be an effective organizing mechanism for the opposition.
"Up until now, things have come in with a variety of motives in mind -- different countries and kingdoms wanting clients inside Syria, and private contributors mostly from the [Persian] Gulf wanting to support jihadists," Hof says in advocating for a central figure to funnel everything through. "This is a big reason why there is chaos and disunity in the opposition ranks."
Diplomatic solution still an option
That said, the United States is still pursuing a diplomatic solution through which a political transition would be brokered by all sides of the conflict as long as al-Assad had no role in any incoming government.
While the makeup of any transition government would not include anyone with blood on their hands, as called for by the Geneva Communique signed on to by the United States and other countries, the possible presence of some remnants of the al-Assad regime in a transition government causes pause for some analysts.
"I don't think it will be pulled off anytime soon," said Tabler, who says a process that allows the possible inclusion of regime elements in a new government over a population that has changed rapidly over the course of the last few years would be problematic. "It's just going to kick the can down the road, and we are going to be back to the same place we were before. But this time it will be with many more death tolls, so I just don't think it's viable."