US arms reach Syrian rebels?

The Los Angeles Times reported June 19, citing anonymous sources, that “CIA operatives and US special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to US officials and rebel commanders.” The training is supposedly taking place at bases in Jordan and Turkey. The “directly military aid” that the US has now openly pledged to the Syrian rebels may also be reaching them, as BBC News quotes Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Meqdad boasting of having received new weapons shipments that “we believe will change the course of the battle on the ground.” However, he denied the new weapons came from the US, implying other powers are also arming the FSA. The Friends of Syria group is scheduled to meet in Qatar next week, to discuss coordinating aid to the rebels. But in Russia, Vladimir Putin said he feared a “political void” in Syria would be filled by “terrorist organizations.”

Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian conflict, warns about the consequences of arming the rebels. “States who provide arms have a responsibility in terms of the eventual use of these arms to commit gross human rights violations, war crimes or crimes against humanity,” Pinheiro told the AP. “We are very much worried that more arms will signify an increased presence of violations and those crimes.”

Of course, the sector of the Idiot Left that is shilling for Bashar Assad has long been portraying Pinheiro as a US dupe for calling out Assad’s regime on its atrocities. Now they will be touting his statement as vindication, of course, along with the incessant claims that the US is arming the Nusra Front—despite the fact that it is on the State Department’s “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” list. Another one for that sector to conveniently ignore is the arrest by NATO member Spain of eight men in Ceuta who are accused of recruiting “jihadist fighters” for al-Qaeda factions in Syria (an obvious reference to the Nusra Front). The recruiting network apparently operated out of Morocco. (BBC News, June 21)

Although you’d never know from what makes the global headlines, there apparently persists, even now, a vigorous civil unarmed resistance in Syria. We wish we heard more about loaning much-needed solidarity to them, and less histrionics about whether or not “we” (meaning Washington) should arm the rebels…

  1. US arms reach Syrian rebels?
    Maybe not. From Reuters, July 9:

    BEIRUT —- Members of the Syrian opposition said on Tuesday that they had given up hope that the United States would deliver promised military aid to rebels as war planes and artillery smashed the central city of Homs.

    U.S. congressional committees are holding up the plan to send weapons because of fears that such deliveries will not be decisive and that arms might end up in the hands of Islamist militants, U.S. national security sources said.

    Both Democrats and Republicans on the committees worry that weapons could reach factions like the Nusra Front, which is one of the most effective rebel groups but has also been labeled by the United States as a front for al Qaeda in Iraq.

    “The U.S. will not supply the weapons,” said Mohammed Fizo, a rebel fighter. “They come up with excuses for why they are not with the Syrian revolution; because it’s not unified, or that there are terrorists. But what is important is that they are not helping us.”