Revealed: U.S. has been secretly training Syrian rebels in anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons for months

posted at 2:31 pm on June 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

On Twitter, Cuffy Meigs calls them “Obama’s Contras.”

Help me figure this out. Eight days ago, when the White House announced it would begin sending arms to the “moderates” on the ground inside Syria, the NYT reported this important qualifier:

The officials held out the possibility that the assistance, coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency, could include antitank weapons, but they said that for now supplying the antiaircraft weapons that rebel commanders have said they sorely need is not under consideration.

You can understand the dilemma there. If you’re arming your proxies with nothing but light weaponry, you’re giving them next to nothing with which to fend off a professional armored force. But if you give them the heavy stuff, especially the sort of weapon that can bring down a plane, you risk seeing those weapons sold to or confiscated by the many, many superior jihadi forces on the rebel side. That’s the Syria conundrum in a nutshell — send a little aid and you might as well send nothing, send a lot of aid and before you know it commercial jets are being blown out of the sky by Al Qaeda. Do you want to win (“win” in this case means pushing Assad back until he’s ready to make concessions) or do you want to minimize the risk of terrorism to yourself? That’s the White House’s choice.

And now here comes the LA Times with breaking news:

CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders…

The two-week courses include training with Russian-designed 14.5-millimeter anti-tank rifles, anti-tank missiles, as well as 23-millimeter anti-aircraft weapons, according to a rebel commander in the Syrian province of Dara who helps oversee weapons acquisitions and who asked his name not be used because the program is secret…

The rebels were promised enough armor-piercing anti-tank weapons and other arms to gain a military advantage over Assad’s better-equipped army and security forces, said the Dara commander.

But arms shipments from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, provided with assent from the Americans, took months to arrive and included less than the rebels had expected.

So our Sunni “allies” supply the weapons and our guys teach the locals (a small number of locals so far) how to use them. The anti-aircraft and anti-tank armaments will get there, one way or another, which presents a new dilemma. Should we show the moderates how to use them or should we leave them ignorant and risk having them sell them or trade them for weapons they’re more comfortable with? Or … why not let the Saudis and Jordanians train them? Each of those regimes has an even keener interest than we do in not seeing crazed Salafists running around with heavy weaponry in their backyards.

I don’t understand this plan of intervention by half-measures. Say what you will about McCain, and I’ve said a lot, but at least his heavy-footprint strategy is designed to quickly change the equation on the ground, whatever the considerable risks to the U.S. If the White House thinks it’s too risky to send anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian rebels, then why offer to train them in how to use them? If they’re reliable enough to be trained in it, why not send them anti-aircraft missiles ourselves? This reeks of Obama subordinating his military strategy to political considerations — we won’t give them big guns, because then he’s responsible if someone uses one to take down a jet, but we’ll show them secretly how to shoot to prove that we’re on the rebels’ side. Bizarre.


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Revealed: U.S. has been secretly training Syrian rebels in anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons for months

Yaaaawwwwnn.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 21, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Obama training AQ in Syria.

I’m shocked.

tom daschle concerned on June 21, 2013 at 2:34 PM

We’re providing anti-tank training to Syrian Rebels/al-Qaeda members? What next? Flying Lessons? God protect us.

kingsjester on June 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM

The year of the slipping approval continues.

RiverCocytus on June 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM

This news gives Marco Rubio an erection.

Pork-Chop on June 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM

The rebels were promised enough armor-piercing anti-tank weapons and other arms to gain a military advantage over Assad’s better-equipped army and security forces, said the Dara commander.

But arms shipments from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, provided with assent from the Americans, took months to arrive and included less than the rebels had expected.

Libya.

Oh what a tangled web was weaved when first he practiced to deceive.

BobMbx on June 21, 2013 at 2:37 PM

BOB CORKER….. The next John McCain!!!

Despicable filthy republican Party.

May they rot in Whig hell.

PappyD61 on June 21, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Doesn’t this come under the title of “aiding and abetting our eney”?

kingsjester on June 21, 2013 at 2:39 PM

enemy.

kingsjester on June 21, 2013 at 2:39 PM

that golfing with Obama really paid off for Obama!!

Viva The Corker lie!!

LIARS, LIARS, LIARS!!!!!

(202) 224-3121

(202) 224-3121

(202) 224-3121

(202) 224-3121

PappyD61 on June 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Yeah, that SAM stuff is first rate stupid. Obama just signed the death warrants for a lot of American travelers down the road.

a capella on June 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Doesn’t this come under the title of “aiding and abetting our eney”?

kingsjester on June 21, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Quaint antebellum notion you have there racist bigot homophobe teabilly rethuglikkkan wingnut.

/

tom daschle concerned on June 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

I suppose that even if this administration were to follow the (entirely reasonable in terms of US interests) “only thing better than a hundred thousand dead Syrians is a couple million dead Syrians” policy, they couldn’t in fact announce it to the world.

JEM on June 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

I will not be surprised when we find out that the administration has also been teaching them to make IEDs.

rw on June 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

This reeks of Obama subordinating his military strategy to political considerations — we won’t give them big guns, because then he’s responsible if someone uses one to take down a jet, but we’ll show them secretly how to shoot to prove that we’re on the rebels’ side. Bizarre.

Not at all when you consider its a strategy developed by a former community organizer.

Just doin’ the best he can.

BobMbx on June 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM

So I guess when we finally get dragged into this particular mess, we won’t be sending any tanks or planes.

CurtZHP on June 21, 2013 at 2:44 PM

And now WaPo reveals that the O admin is under fire for lack of transparency for it claims about Syrian use of chemical weapons. Of course, Obama is mistruthing. Why would Syria want to use chemical weapons anyway? It’s just insane. Bs.

A pointless counterproductive dangerous intervention… for Al Qaeda! Stay out of the hornets nest of Syria!

anotherJoe on June 21, 2013 at 2:46 PM

I will not be surprised when we find out that the administration has also been teaching them to make IEDs.

rw on June 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Yeah, really.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 21, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Not at all when you consider its a strategy developed by a former community organizer.

Just doin’ the best he can.

BobMbx on June 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I wish barky would go to syria and do some community organizin’.

VegasRick on June 21, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Leftist ‘fighting terrorism’

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Obama helping his muzzie bros.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

OT – under-reported

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2013 at 2:51 PM

We never learn.

Maybe because my roots are in this part of the world, the solution to has always been clear to me; relocate all the non-muslims, first and foremost. They are defenseless.

Then, step back and let the factions war it out. Eventually, they’ll split beyond borders into two camps; islamist and sectarian. We then support the sectarian side, which makes the Russians go with us or get out.

budfox on June 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Israel is overjoyed. /s

madmonkphotog on June 21, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Benghazi!!!!!

d1carter on June 21, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Benghazi!!!!!

d1carter on June 21, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Bingo!

Holy smokes.

kingsjester on June 21, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Is this the reason the Benghazi CIA operations had to be kept quiet…? They were expendable…

d1carter on June 21, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Brings back memories of US military personnel being sent to South Viet Nam as “advisors”.

catsandbooks on June 21, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Maybe the imperialists US could just sit back and watch for a change.

DarkCurrent on June 21, 2013 at 3:03 PM

This has to be Bush’s fault.

myiq2xu on June 21, 2013 at 3:07 PM

why not let the Saudis and Jordanians train them? Each of those regimes has an even keener interest than we do in not seeing crazed Salafists running around with heavy weaponry in their backyards.

Frankly the Magic Kingdom is a jihadist state….

William Eaton on June 21, 2013 at 3:07 PM

On Twitter, Cuffy Meigs calls them “Obama’s Contras.”

The Founding Founders

myiq2xu on June 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Another piece to the Benghazi puzzle.

itsacookbook on June 21, 2013 at 3:09 PM

When are liberals, especially the anti-war types, going to become tired of Obama/McCain doing things like this in our name?

We can spend all this money to train foreigners to kill their own countrymen and later Americans, yet American schoolchildren have had to cancel trips to tour their White House for ‘sequester and lack of funds’?

THIS is the sort of thing that makes me angry.

Liam on June 21, 2013 at 3:09 PM

From the US to Syria by way of Libya and the CIA..? Hey, we didn’t give them surface to air missiles.

d1carter on June 21, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Wonder what the connection to Benghazi might be?

Cleombrotus on June 21, 2013 at 3:11 PM

And, how much better will they be able to shoot down American passenger jets after this training?

SC.Charlie on June 21, 2013 at 3:11 PM

budfox on June 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Never happen. Makes too much sense.

Cleombrotus on June 21, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Also the CIA sucks at fighting wars…ok at intelligence, but not running wars.

They always find some idiotic way to make it worse, and come up with the most entertaining ideas for victory. I can only imagine what they have planned for Syria.

William Eaton on June 21, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Months????

A bit longer than that.

coldwarrior on June 21, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I’m reminded of an eerily cryptic Stalin quote that can be repurposed for this.

“Ideas are more dangerous than guns. I don’t let them have guns, why would I let them have ideas?” ~ Joseph Stalin

We are basically arming the Syrian rebels with ideas that can easily be used to neutralize our own technical superiority. Easily the most dangerous thing we could have possibly done unless this is a really false flag kind of operation exploiting specifically the weaknesses of Syrian tech.

Otherwise, nations would KILL to know the weaknesses and / or parameters of our tech. If that’s the case, it’s downright treasonous to actively supply our enemy with our weapon specs.

BKennedy on June 21, 2013 at 3:17 PM

The US arming and training AQ.
Good Lord !
Where is OBL when needed ?
He would NEVER had accepted help from the US. /

Jabberwock on June 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

I don’t understand this plan of intervention by half-measures.

Thought of in terms of policy directed by half-wits, it makes perfect sense.

Seriously. This is the most inept, most incompetent, most idiotic administration that I have ever seen in my life. They staff positions with ideologues who have no experience doing anything except repeating the proper slogans. They are idiots. Next they will be shipping unicorns over there.

crosspatch on June 21, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Breaking news…..not hardly. Y’all need to broaden your horizon on news sources. This is old news. We’ve had special ops in Jordan for over a year. What do you think they have been doing? We darn near have a full military operation going on in Jordan now. Wake up people.

dddave on June 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Or … why not let the Saudis and Jordanians train them?

How about let’s bomb Saudi Arabia.

VorDaj on June 21, 2013 at 5:02 PM

No matter what we decide, no more US boots on the ground in any Muslim country-unless politicians and the families of IRS and other government employees agree that their children will spearhead any such invasions. Then we won’t have this utter BS of our brave wounded lads not being able to get proper medical treatment or artificial limbs because of sequester while IRS excrement give themselves $70 million bonuses and Obama goes on a $100 million joy ride to South Africa—and out of all 5 Obama scandals–the only one who went to prison is the filmmaker who is totally innocent!!!!

MaiDee on June 21, 2013 at 5:45 PM

THIS IS HIGH TREASON..

President Barack Hussein Obama has provided Material Support to the Enemies of the United States, namely the Terror organizations known as al-Qaeda and Hamas..

President Barack Hussein Obama has directed the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Military, and the nation’s Covert intelligence agencies to train, supply with weapons, and provide air support for al-Qaeda Terrorists in Syria; a Felony.

Capt-Dax on June 21, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Obama helping his muzzie bros.

Schadenfreude on June 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

INSANITY!!! no wait, in Obama’s evil mind it’s totally sane..helping an evil group like the Muslim Brotherhood against Christians and other minorities..

This what he is doing again with arming more jihadis, well it’s just more impeachable offenses..seriously

sadsushi on June 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM

The administration trusts Syrian rebels more than US citizens with military style assault weapons? Hmmm.

iwasbornwithit on June 21, 2013 at 7:34 PM

The NDAA 2014 enhancement provision extends and consolidates the government’s authority to further gather and analyze records and data captured during any national security or terrorist related investigation, not just combat operations. But it does so without creating any explicit restriction against violating an individual’s right to privacy, conducting unwarranted searches and seizures, or violating due process for individuals as guaranteed by the Constitution. That’s eerily similar to the NDAA 2013 Sec. 1021, which codified the indefinite military detention of American citizens without requiring they be charged with a specific crime or given a trial. Under NDAA 2013, Sec. 1021 allowed the military detention of civilians without a writ of habeas corpus, when a person “was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” Under NDAA 2014, anyone is now subject to surveillance, not based on support of al-Qaeda or its associated forces, but based merely upon whether or not an individual is, or once was hostile to the U.S. The question of what constitutes “hostility”, is left completely unanswered.

So Obama and McCain can be held indefinitely with no habeas corpus? I might have to rethink my opposition to this provision of the NDAA.

iwasbornwithit on June 21, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Benghazi!!!!!

d1carter on June 21, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Bingo!

Holy smokes.

kingsjester on June 21, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Yeppers…

… BENGHAZI!!!

Seven Percent Solution on June 21, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Are we providing anti-air missiles to them before sending over US airmen to engage in military operations?

Obama is so interested in fairness he’ll arm Al Qaeda before sending in US troops.

gekkobear on June 21, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Send them small arms aid and you perpetuate the conflict. More of them AND more of Hezbollah and Assad forces die. Seems like a win-win to me, if we can gauge it correctly.

{^_^}

herself on June 22, 2013 at 2:50 AM

Umm, is everyone commenting without reading the article? It’s Russian model anti-aircraft 23mm guns. Not MANPADS, if you can sneak a 23mm AA gun into the west we have other problems. Sad to see knee jerk Obama bashing without facts to base it on, remember when you mocked the left for doing that to Bush? Plenty of reasons to knock Obama based on facts (The economy!) without losing it and becoming a blind rage group think.

VeniVidiVidic on June 22, 2013 at 4:25 AM

If the White House thinks it’s too risky to send anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian rebels, then why offer to train them in how to use them?

They aren’t. 23mm refers to popular AAA gun found just about everywhere in the region.

lexhamfox on June 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

We should have let Assad mop up these terrorists. Training Jihadi’s did not work out so hot for us last time. Considering Al-Nusra and other Jihadi’s are disarming moderates everywhere they go this is a bad idea.

The toleration of dictatorship is acceptable as long as there is global stability. WE should stop trying to destabilize every nation around the world for the sake of control. Nothing is more offensive to intelligent people when the dictatorship of “democracies” dictates who may govern a country and how they may govern.

Jihadi’s should be exterminated with extreme prejudice wherever they are.

Rattl3r on June 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM

That’s the Syria conundrum in a nutshell — send a little aid and you might as well send nothing, send a lot of aid and before you know it commercial jets are being blown out of the sky by Al Qaeda.

Uh, no. The conundrum is, “Arm muzloid terrorists, or let a muzloid tyrant keep killing them.”

So really, there’s now conundrum at all.

Akzed on June 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM

THIS IS HIGH TREASON..

President Barack Hussein Obama has provided Material Support to the Enemies of the United States, namely the Terror organizations known as al-Qaeda and Hamas..

President Barack Hussein Obama has directed the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Military, and the nation’s Covert intelligence agencies to train, supply with weapons, and provide air support for al-Qaeda Terrorists in Syria; a Felony.

Capt-Dax on June 21, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques because CAIR, a Hamas front, don’t like that.

Akzed on June 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM

The Obama administration has been running weapons from their Benghazi CIA warehouse complex in Syria for long enough that the Russians and Turks called in AQ to take the operation down. Exactly what do you think Stevens was doing there instead of Tripoli?

MarkT on June 22, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Let’s see if I can connect a few dots here. First look at the Syrian order of Battle. The are top heavy with Armor and anti aircraft weapons. Meaning to establish a no fly zone is pure suicide for the pilots. Every mission will be a one way trip. Next it simply means you need to fight the Armor. Now for the two big ones, is this a secret? Only if you believe that Benghazi was caused by a film clip posted on Youtube. Which by the way it is still on youtube and no one in the world seems to care except the Obama administration. Kind of funny isn’t it? The arming and train of the Syrian Rebels was signed by Obama in an executive Order in March 2012. Is this a secret? I don’t know but I read it in the New York times as posted on the internet.

Edward Snowden is a put up distraction by the Obama Administration. To misdirect our attentions.

jpcpt03 on June 22, 2013 at 3:10 PM

— we won’t give them big guns, because then he’s responsible if someone uses one to take down a jet, but we’ll show them secretly how to shoot to prove that we’re on the rebels’ side. Bizarre

When has JugEars (or any of his minions) been held accountable for ANYTHING?

SwabJockey on June 23, 2013 at 7:12 AM