Green Room

US military assistance to Syrian rebels: Small arms, CIA training

posted at 11:56 am on June 15, 2013 by

But perhaps nothing armor-piercing, according to Fox News:

The United States will supply Syrian rebels with weapons through a CIA-run program, FoxNews confirmed Saturday.

President Obama decided Thursday to supply rebel forces with small arms and ammunition, following confirmation that the regime of Syria President Bashar al-Assad’s has been using chemical weapons in the 2-year-long civil war in which at least 90,000 people have been killed.

In addition to supplying the weapons, the CIA will train rebel forces, Fox News also confirmed.

Obama vowed last summer to take action should the Assad cross a “red line” by using chemical weapons but has been challenged in verifying whether his forces used chemical weapons and in determining which rebel forces can be trusted.

However, the rebels being supplied with only small arms has disappointed some Capitol Hill lawmakers and other Americas who want a more robust response and who say the administration’s actions might be too little, too late as Assad forces appear to be taking control of the war.

That won’t satisfy John McCain, who wanted to go the full Charlie Wilson and give the rebels anti-aircraft missiles as well as weapons to go after heavy mechanized forces on the ground.  The White House seems mindful of the fact that (a) the rebels are mainly Sunni Islamist extremists, and (b) the obvious secondary target for those missiles would be anything flying out of Tel Aviv.

On the other hand, it’s difficult to see how the small arms will do much against larger formations of the Syrian army and even Hezbollah, but it will keep partisan-style warfare in play.  That would prolong the conflict and put more pressure on Assad and the rebels to make concessions in peace talks.  The Obama administration says that’s their goal, and this seems consistent with the stated mission — and wisely limited, given the choices.

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What could go wrong when arming Islamist militants who scream “Allah Akbar” when they’re in the act of killing people… wait, actually that’s EVERY video on the internet when Muslims are killing people. Seriously, show me one video online where Muslims are killing people and they’re NOT screaming “Allah Akbar”.

Yakko77 on June 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Is this “small arms and training” programme similar to the 1980s programme in Afghanistan that spawned Mr Bin Laden?

YiZhangZhe on June 15, 2013 at 5:34 PM

US military assistance to Syrian rebels: Small arms, CIA training

So they can now tap into our phone records and conduct raids on Tea Party groups?

Steve Eggleston on June 15, 2013 at 6:27 PM

I suppose the odd students will turn on their CIA trainers. Small price to please the Saudis. Maybe Jeb and Hillary will get that campaign money after all.

[email protected] on June 15, 2013 at 7:51 PM

I suppose if they are going into Syria using CIA hands, and probably civvie contract personnel, makes sense. Deniability. But this is the exact mission that is tasked to the Green Berets. It’s been their mission since JFK awarded the beret back in 62.They would seem more qualified not only to train but to provide leadership and a sense of discipline and order.

xkaydet65 on June 15, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Does it make any sense to do this, now that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will be backing the so called rebels ?

BillyPenn on June 15, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Should have been done years ago, before 30,000 Syrians were murdered…quietly toppling Assad.

However, that said…there was a time when covert action was well, sorta covert. We did a number of good things back in the day and it never hit the front page, not even page 28, below the fold, unless somebody screwed up.

Why is this Administration broadcasting that we are involved in “covert” stuff…or that CIA is out there doing stuff?

Iran is sending over 4000 “fighters” to Syria….bet a bunch are going to be detailed to hunt down Americans…in Syria, in Turkey and in Jordan.

All of this could have been avoided years ago…quietly…without fanfare, without spiking the ball, had we a CinC who actually understood the real world as it is, not as he (and his dad) dreamed it should be…

American blood will be shed…too much…for what???

To make Obama look good? Improve his polling?

coldwarrior on June 16, 2013 at 7:32 AM

ANY “engagement” that America has in Syria is downright obscene.

WaPo – June 15, 2013
“The CIA is preparing to deliver arms to rebel groups in Syria through clandestine bases in Turkey and Jordan that were expanded over the past year …”

It’s none of our business. PERIOD! Obviously, Emperor Øligula is bound and determined to assist terrorists. The “rebels” have pledged allegiance to al Qaeda and the American people allow this?
What an utter disgrace. As for the brain-addled Johnny Mac, he can go to Hades and take Øligula with him.

Karl Magnus on June 16, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Personally, since 7 of the 9 major groups supporting the rebels are terrorist or terrorist-affiliated I think we are backing the wrong side. Any armaments given them will wind up in Al Qaeda’s hands if the rebels are successful. Should Assad win anyway, then he gets the weapons. In any event it’s lose-lose. Why are we getting involved???? Are we crazy or is it an Obama ploy- playing wag the dog to divert attention from scandals?

What is the CIA going to teach the rebels? How to eavesdrop on Americans like the FBI, NSA and IRS? That’ll come in handy when Al Qaeda takes over.

MaiDee on June 17, 2013 at 1:02 AM

Obama …..Amateur.
Aren’t CIA trainers “boots on the ground?”

Art on June 17, 2013 at 6:35 AM