AP: White House close to approving lethal aid for Syrian rebels

posted at 3:21 pm on June 10, 2013 by Allahpundit

I thought we had a choice in 2008 but somehow we’ve ended up with the worst aspects of an Obama presidency and a McCain presidency.

No, no, that’s unfair. Under a McCain presidency, we’d be in year three of U.S. involvement. In that alternate universe, Assad’s in a lot more trouble right now than he is in this one. But in which universe are America’s interests better served?

Moved by the Assad regime’s rapid advance, the Obama administration could decide this week to approve lethal aid for the beleaguered Syrian rebels and will weigh the merits of a less likely move to send in U.S. airpower to enforce a no-fly zone over the civil war-wracked nation, officials said Sunday…

While nothing has been concretely decided, U.S. officials said President Barack Obama was leaning closer toward signing off on sending weapons to vetted, moderate rebel units. The U.S. has spoken of possibly arming the opposition in recent months but has been hesitant because it doesn’t want to al-Qaida-linked and other extremists fighting alongside the anti-Assad militias to end up with the weapons.

Obama already has ruled out any intervention that would require U.S. military boots on the ground. Other options such as deploying American air power to ground the regime’s jets, gunships and other aerial assets are now being more seriously debated, the officials said, while cautioning that a no-fly zone or any other action involving U.S. military deployments in Syria were far less likely right now.

If we armed every truly “vetted, moderate” rebel in the Sunni ranks, we’d be talking — what? A few hundred guns? Given the urgency of the rebels’ predicament, I’m guessing the feds won’t be sticklers in defining what qualifies as “moderate”: Assad’s army, thanks to support for Hezbollah, just crushed the rebels in Qusair, cutting their supply lines. New reports claim that the Assadites are headed to Aleppo to start taking back the north of the country or, per the AP, possibly to Homs, where there are plenty of Alawite Assad fans awaiting their, ahem, “liberation.” The White House has been hoping that the upcoming peace conference with Assad would lead somehow to a ceasefire or even a settlement, but he has no incentive to talk while he;s steamrolling people. Hence Obama’s decision to start sending weapons. Until the rebels start making the regime bleed again, there won’t be any real concessions.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Shiite and Sunni forces are reaching their own inevitable “settlement”: Sectarian cleansing.

Regime forces and their allies have pushed Sunni Muslim residents out of these areas using brutal tactics, while the increasingly desperate rebels have resorted to many of the same tactics, such as indiscriminately shelling civilian areas that support the regime, they had long decried the regime for using. In some places, rebels have resorted to hiding among civilian populations in order to use them as shields against regime shelling, according to even some activists opposed to the regime…

Hafez al-Mohammed, a 25-year-old cabdriver, says he was kidnapped by Sunni rebels in late May. He says he was tortured and held captive for seven hours. His cousin Haidar says Mr. al-Mohammed was only released after Alawites threatened to retaliate by kidnapping Sunni women living in an Alawite-dominated neighborhood. “How can we ever live with them?” says Haidar referring to Sunnis.

A tour of many of these areas, from the city of Homs to many of the villages that dot the province around it, shows that the regime has cleared—cleansed is the word often used—wide swaths of the area of the Sunni Muslims, who dominate the opposition. Meantime, those Sunni residents remaining have been hemmed into neighborhoods locked down by checkpoints, harsh security procedures and even walls.

According to the WSJ, the 60,000 Sunnis and Christians in Qusair had dwindled to 10,000 before the fighting there erupted over the last few weeks. Who knows how many are left now, if any. The best-case scenario at this point appears to be a rebel resurgence, stalemate with the regime, and then partition of the country into radicalized Sunni and Shiite mini-states. (Again: That’s the best-case scenario.) Worst-case is that one of them begins to overwhelm the other and wholesale cleansing takes place. We’re not close to that happening yet — the battle for Aleppo will be longer and bloodier than the battle for Qusair, for instance — but I’m curious to know what the White House’s plan is if, six months from now, Assad’s in more of a position to make it happen. O’s new foreign-policy team of Susan Rice and Samantha Power are fans of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine. If Hezbollah and the Alawite army march north to liquidate the Sunni rebel holdouts, does the U.S. Air Force try to bomb them back south? Does the Turkish air force?

One footnote: Even if Assad continues to roll over the rebels, it’s hard to believe Hezbollah will be leaving Syria anytime soon. A revived Sunni insurrection will remain a threat for years; Iran will have to take steps to protect its man in Damascus. The obvious solution, I think, is to leave some sort of Hezbollah force stationed in Syria to help pacify the country when needed and to start training new Hezbollah brigades among Syrian Alawites. Assad and Hezbollah have always worked hand in glove as proxies of Iran, but Assad won’t be a “proxy” after this. He’ll be a true puppet whose rule was saved by Hezbollah’s intervention. If Iran wants to build out the force from Syria’s ranks, he’ll be in no position to resist.


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Stay far away and stay out…

PatriotRider on June 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Wag it, baby.

faraway on June 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

The White House has been hoping that the upcoming peace conference with Assad would lead somehow to a ceasefire or even a settlement

Ahhh, there is that hope word, so touching, especially when blended with a conference. *wipes tears*

hillsoftx on June 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM

The best-case scenario at this point appears to be a rebel resurgence, stalemate with the regime, and then partition of the country into radicalized Sunni and Shiite mini-states. (Again: That’s the best-case scenario.) Worst-case is that one of them begins to overwhelm the other and wholesale cleansing takes place.

Shouldn’t wholesale cleansing of the entire Sunni & Shiite populations be the best case scenario? Let them wipe each other out.

rbj on June 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Obama is good at picking winners.

portlandon on June 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM

AP: White House close to approving lethal aid for Syrian rebels

Yeah! Let’s arm our enemies, the ones that are affiliated with al-Qaeda and rip open chests and eat hearts. Genius Sheeshinus.

Resist We Much on June 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM

So, these are the same people that vetted the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the local security force in Benghazi?

SteveInRTP on June 10, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Which rebels? The al Qaeda rebels, or the other guy?

BKeyser on June 10, 2013 at 3:28 PM

AP: White House close to approving lethal aid for Syrian rebels illegal immigrants

El_Terrible on June 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Stay far away and stay out…

Nope. No can do. Barry must get us involved on behalf of his BFF the Muslim Brotherhood.

Just one more step on the way to a more powerful muslim middle east…..and more muslims on the immigration express invited here by our generous and compassionate state dept. as refugees, again with no questions asked with more than ample gifts of federal financial aid. Coming to a community near you.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Obama must ensure that his allies, the moslem brotherhood, take power in Syria.

tom daschle concerned on June 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

So, these are the same people that vetted the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the local security force in Benghazi?

Does “vetted” mean the same as “wholeheartedly and enthusiastically approved”?

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Has Obama read about this in the newspapers yet?

faraway on June 10, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Obama must ensure that his allies, the moslem brotherhood, take power in Syria.

That’s for sure.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2013 at 3:33 PM

That’s a Nobel Peace Prize…

d1carter on June 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Agree with others …..stay out. This is not our fight

jaywemm on June 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Not going to heal his slip in the polls. Then, we’ve got the real possibility of losing some of our aircraft/pilots during any prepping of a no flight zone, due to new Russian missle aid to Assad. This is a bad mistake.

a capella on June 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM

There are no good guys, only bad guys, worse guys, and victims. The tribal and sectarian violence needs to run its course, and these animals won’t stop until they are drowning in blood. There is no significant moral difference or preferable outcome. There is no apparent connection between arming the rebels and protecting victims generally.

Unless the idea is to prolong the fighting, which does keep the 7th century barbarians occupied with slaughtering each other instead of us, what US interest is conceivably served by arming the rebels?

novaculus on June 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Wag the Dog

Jackalope on June 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Obama doesn’t do anything unless it’s self-serving

Jackalope on June 10, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Awesome…

NotCoach on June 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM

He is “standing with the Muslims”…and spying on the Americans.

kingsjester on June 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Vetted by whom? Better they are killing each other than us!

riplag on June 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Big Dog wags tail.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

When two poisonous snakes are fighting, you don’t pull for one or the other. I would be content to just watch them bleed each other down, instead of bleeding us.

scgas on June 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Fools from the right will aid the Liar in Chief. They are all traitors.

Obama will have lots of blood and treasure wasted, wasted, wasted, for his own cover ups, and to aid his bothers, the terrorists in Syria.

The war on terror is over and the terrorists have won, all around.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM

This will be the next world war, started by Obama.

Syria, Russia and Iran on one side.

The US and an assortment of terrorists on the other.

China will side with the former, but only after both are weakened.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM

In Syria all are the enemies of the US. Period.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

I am have never been more sickened. Exactly Jackalope….all self-serving!

CoffeeLover on June 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Does “vetted” mean the same as “wholeheartedly and enthusiastically approved”?

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

In this admin’s Orwellian lexicon? Absolutely.

SteveInRTP on June 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

We must remember, Susan Rice, who oversaw the butchery in Rwanda while serving under Clinton, is now advising him. Perhaps she is just trying to move things along a little faster? No? :)

a capella on June 10, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Cool Fool has redeemed “Bushhitler” and “Bushchimpey” and went on steroids.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 3:45 PM

This was pretty predictable. I however had no problem with syria fighting syria.

clnurnberg on June 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Fast and Furious: Syria.

ThePrez on June 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

The world is his playground!!

He warned us in 2008 at Berlin that he was a “citizen of the world”.

Hey American soldier families get ready to bring home the coffins of your sons and daughters.

I don’t even recognize the leadership of this country that clearly violates the constitution and spies on Granny and her card swipes in Michigan City or wherever.

Seriously……God help us.

PappyD61 on June 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Will the caliphate name him its first Caliph?

PappyD61 on June 10, 2013 at 3:51 PM

White House: We need a distraction, stat!

mudskipper on June 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM

File this under “What could go wrong?”

tommer74 on June 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Soon, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Chinese will divide up the world.

The Rogue Tomato on June 10, 2013 at 3:56 PM

This was pretty predictable. I however had no problem with syria fighting syria.

clnurnberg on June 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

I’m willing to send some ammo.

VegasRick on June 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

The only reasonably defendable intervention worth considering would have been the Green Revolution in 2009. Support then may have helped topple Iran and therefore may have eliminated the possibility of these other regional crises.

freedomfirst on June 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Send pointy sticks… to both sides.

mudskipper on June 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Hey, why stop with the rebels? Why not arm both sides and stand back for a while?

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Honk if you’re tired of Obama’s crap.

Cleombrotus on June 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

I thought we had a choice in 2008 but somehow we’ve ended up with the worst aspects of an Obama presidency and a McCain presidency.

With McCain behaving as if he is some kind of deputy SoS and SoD rolled into one.

GWB inherited the unresolved Iraq mess with Saddam still in place and went into Afghanistan for a very good reason — 3000 dead on US soil. Whatever one thinks about the Iraq intervention when GWB left office it was as much of a success as we could hope for after what happened there from 2004 thru 2008.

Comrade O, OTOH, abandoned Iraq and tossed away whatever influence and presence we had there, wasted blood and treasure in Afghanistan by setting a withdrawal timetable at the same time he ineffectively escalated, ineffectively intervened in Libya and got a US Ambassador killed, and is now planning to intervene in Syria where both sides are dominated by bad guys who hate us.

I’ll not but not list his screw ups with Iran, Russia, and North Korea. Or how he has alienated many allies.

After severely condemning GWB for whatever post-9/11 surveillance programs were put in place Comrade O secretly put them on steroids.

GWB captured many alleged terrorists and put them in Gitmo where they could become a source of information. Those deemed to not be a threat to the US, or no longer a threat, were let go. Comrade O just assassinates them, and the people around them, by the thousands.

There were no successful terrorist attacks on US soil after 9/11 under GWB. There have been several under Comrade O, and that doesn’t include the ones that failed only because of the incompetence of the terrorists. We knew nothing about them until they failed.

And Comrade O still has three and a half years to go. At this rate before he is through Dear Leader will make GWB’s foreign policy look damned good, prudent, and highly effective in comparison.

farsighted on June 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Zero be waggin the dog.

Rational Thought on June 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

I’ll note but not list …

farsighted on June 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Well, you can pretty much be sure they are all sitting around the White House coming up with every possible plan to divert attention from President Coruptus Scandalmore.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Honk if you’re tired of Obama’s crap.

Cleombrotus on June 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

“BIDEN 20163″ bumper sticker

VegasRick on June 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM

So McShame did meet with Syrian killers knowingly afterall ….

burrata on June 10, 2013 at 4:33 PM

God damn Corker.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 4:34 PM

God damn Corker.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 4:34 PM

“Our indecision has allowed extremist elements to gain the upper hand within the opposition, while Assad remains in power buttressed by Iran and its proxy army, Hezbollah.”

The only upside is that the regime is winning the war with the help of the hezzies and sending some limited arms to the terrorist without uniforms is that it prolongs the war and means more dead terrorists. Okay, I’m trying. I always liked Corker.

VegasRick on June 10, 2013 at 4:42 PM

This is high on the administration’s lists of things to ram through. It will soften the Iran Contra Affair aspect of the Benghazi debacle, plus give the Muslim Brotherhood control of more middle eastern real estate.

For the One Worlders, it’s a twofer.

ROCnPhilly on June 10, 2013 at 4:42 PM

So Obama is arming a Sunni Jihad to kill Shia (who I don’t care for either)….but also Christians and other assorted infidels.

This is the new Obama/Power doctrine…which should make John McCain happy….

I cannot tell you how stupid this is. I almost hope the Russians “win” because I know I don’t want to “win” Syria. Do you?

William Eaton on June 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Didn’t Russia send in SS-300s and warn us to stay out?

flicker on June 10, 2013 at 4:47 PM

“Our indecision has allowed extremist elements to gain the upper hand within the opposition, while Assad remains in power buttressed by Iran and its proxy army, Hezbollah.”

So, Senator Corker you want to get involved in the 21st century’s version of the Spanish Civil War…that would be the one between two ‘heroic, noble, peace-loving, democracy loving’ totalitarians: The Communists and the Fascists.

Resist We Much on June 10, 2013 at 4:47 PM

White House close to approving lethal aid for Syrian rebels

I think the Russians will probably take that bet.

They’re closer.

And how confident are we really with Barry’s prowess as a chess player.

dissent555 on June 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Sorry I have to repeat this point again….Seriously who the h$ll wants to “win” Syria!

It is like winning cancer or a sexually transmitted disease. I say no thanks…Iran, Russia and China you can win this…be my guest…

William Eaton on June 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Am I the only one who finds it strange that we appear about to arm the same organization that organized and carried out the 9-11 attack on the WTC and the Pentagon in 2001 and the Benghazi attack in September of 2012?

Were it not for Al Qaeda we wouldn’t have gone to Afghanistan.

bw222 on June 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Under a McCain presidency, we’d be in year three of U.S. involvement.

I don’t always agree with you AP, but here I do. I keep visualizing the movie Dr. Strangelove with “Jihad John” McCain riding the bomb. I’m glad I voted for Sarah and not the senile old fool.

bw222 on June 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

And intervening in Syria supports which American national interests, exactly?
What does America stand to gain from supporting people who hate us and want to see us destroyed and/or subjugated?

Of course, if we send the ‘rebels’ arms, it will prolong the fighting; and both sides will be able to kill more of the other.
So, that’s a positive.

But we stand to lose far more if we install and attempt to enforce a no-fly zone over S-300 SA missile systems.
And, what’ll anyone bet that – after we lose a couple of planes to the S-300s…we’ll soon have “boots on the ground”?

Solaratov on June 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Stupid ! When this doesn’t work out they will
put it right on mc lame’s doorstep .
Lets really pi$$ off the muzzies so we can try
out our super secret security .

Lucano on June 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

And intervening in Syria supports which American national interests, exactly?

I think the purpose is to draw Russian troops into Syria, and usher in the 12th immam.

flicker on June 10, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Does Russia have a warm-water port yet?

flicker on June 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Sorry. Wrong thread.

flicker on June 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM

I wonder what the Nobel Peace Prize Committee thinks now? What a bunch of fools.

txhsmom on June 10, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Meanwhile, in other news: U.S. government has given Afghan National Army more than $1 billion in ammo.

xblade on June 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

While nothing has been concretely decided, U.S. officials said President Barack Obama was leaning closer toward signing off on sending weapons to vetted, moderate rebel units.

Yeah, “nothing has been decided”. And won’t be. King Barry’s style is to put hard decisions off, hoping the issue will resolve itself.

GarandFan on June 10, 2013 at 5:46 PM

God damn Corker.
Schadenfreude on June 10, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, pressed President Barack Obama on Monday to arm moderate Syrian rebels friendly to the United States

If such a thing existed, I’d give the idea some thought.
Unfortunately the semi-secular Assad comes closer to not hating the west than do any of the ‘rebels’.

And even if such ‘moderates’ existed, just like every time before, the Jihadists would end up with the weapons anyway.

The big difference now, compared to before, is that the really bad guys got the advanced weapons due to the ignorance of the President and Congress; This time it is the INTENT of the pResident.

LegendHasIt on June 10, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Honk if you’re tired of Obama’s crap.

Cleombrotus on June 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Oh, c’mon….ya can’t be tired after a mere 4-1/2 years! We’ve got 3-1/2 more years to enjoy “Barack and Joe’s Excellent Adventure”!

We haven’t even seen what’s hitting us this summer!

Exciting days ahead!

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM

And even if such ‘moderates’ existed, just like every time before, the Jihadists would end up with the weapons anyway.

Once they’ve been armed they are nowhere near “moderate”…..and never, ever, friendly to the US. At all.

They ARE the Jihadists.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Does Russia have a warm-water port yet?

flicker on June 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Do you mean other than La Guaira, Venezuela, and the Port of Tartus in Syria?

Resist We Much on June 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM

I meant their own warm-water port. As I recall Russia had always wanted it’s own port that wouldn’t freeze in winter. If it could control (or de facto own) Syria they would finally get it. If that’s their intention, then they really want Syria, right near the Med and Suez. It they want Syria, why are we arming the rebels? Just to stop Russia? To promote muslim Brotherhood control? Both?

However way you look at it, this beomes more of a tinder box that jeopardizes both the region and Israel the more Russia steps in.

flicker on June 10, 2013 at 6:28 PM

“Lethal aid”. That’s a new term in my book. Only the O White House could take an idea like taking out people with Nintendo pilots at 30,000 feet, and refer to it as “aid”.

But then again, “lethal aid” is what progressives are all about. Abortion is just “lethal aid” for single mothers. Euthenasia is “lethal aid” for the elderly and infirm.

I just hope they don’t lethal-aid McCain on a day when he’s shaking the wrong guy’s hand.

The Schaef on June 10, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Lethal Aide. Is that lemon, sugar, water and cyanide? Or beans and ricin.

flicker on June 10, 2013 at 8:10 PM

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m okay with arming the rebels at this point. It seems it will be too little, too late to topple Assad. All it will do is prolong the fighting, resulting in more dead Islamists on one side and totalitarian scum on the other. They bleed each other for a few years longer and, if we’re lucky, the winning side engages in large- scale ethinic cleansing when the civil war ends.

Win- win.

Dukeboy01 on June 10, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Lethal aid…

kcewa on June 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM