— The Erimtan Angle —

From Washington, Reuters‘ Mark Hosenball reports that “l]ight arms supplied by the United States are flowing to “moderate” Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country and U.S. funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, according U.S. and European security officials. The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets. The deliveries do not include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said. The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said”.[1]

A former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama, Bruce Riedel explained that the “Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides’ external allies . . . are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future”.[2]  For his part, Reuters‘ Hosenball provides some more detail, saying that “[b]oth U.S. and European officials said that ‘moderate’ rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east. Another recent development favorable to more moderate factions is that Kurdish groups that had been providing weapons and other aid financed by donors in the Gulf state of Qatar indiscriminately to both moderate and religious extremist rebel factions had greatly reduced their involvement in the arms traffic, one of the officials said. A White House spokeswoman had no comment. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment [either]. As for ‘non-lethal’ aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday [, 27 Jan 2014]. The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December [2013] after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands . . . Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December”.[3]


[1] Mark Hosenball, ” Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels ” Reuters (27 Jan 2014). http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/27/us-usa-syria-rebels-idUSBREA0Q1S320140127?utm_content=bufferb958c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

[2] Mark Hosenball, ” Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels “.

[3] Mark Hosenball, ” Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels “.

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