Report: US government delivering weapons, vehicles, other equipment to Syrian rebels via CIA and State Department
By End the LieThe U.S. government has been delivering weapons, vehicles, sophisticated communications gear and advanced combat medical kits for two weeks via the CIA and State Department, according to a Washington Post report.
However, the CIA has played a significant role in arming the rebels for quite some time now as even The New York Times reported in June 2012. The US government has been assisting in the arming of the rebels in other ways as well.
There were also reports in August of U.S., Israeli and Jordanian commandos operating on Syrian soil with the rebels.
The latest Post report cites unnamed U.S. officials and Syrian figures who say that the CIA’s arms shipments have been “streaming into the country over the past two weeks.”
Separate State Department deliveries include the vehicles and other critical equipment.
The arms shipments are reportedly “limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked,” but it is impossible to independently verify this claim.
The Post points out that the Obama administration said that they would “increase aid to Syrian rebels” months ago, though they noted that efforts were hindered due to logistical issues and “officials’ fears that any assistance could wind up in the hands of jihadists.”
However, in April it was reported that a $123 million military aid package was to be given to the rebels by the U.S. and in February the U.S. pledged $60 million in non-lethal aid to the rebels.
The lethal aid is reportedly being provided to fighters under the command of Gen. Salim Idriss, commander of the Supreme Military Council, according to anonymous officials.
Idriss was one of the rebels that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) met with when he secretly entered Syria in May.
Interestingly, Idriss noted in the past that Jabhat al-Nusra has more resources and a tactical ground advantage. Jabhat al-Nusra is made up of the same “jihadists” feared by officials. Idriss also said that the al-Nusra fighters are some of the bravest ever.
The Post reports that the U.S. has already earmarked $26.6 million in aid for the Supreme Military Council on top of “a $250 million effort to support moderate factions of the Syrian opposition.”
That effort includes building up basic infrastructure in order to counter the influence of groups like Jabhat al-Nusra which are delivering services to the communities that come under rebel control.
U.S. officials claim that they are confident that it is “possible to limit aid to select rebel units in a battlefield where thousands of fighters share al-Qaeda’s ideology,” according to the Post.
How they actually know where the aid is going goes unexplained. After all, the “moderate” rebels openly defend Jabhat al-Nusra and those like them, with the leader of the U.S.-recognized Syrian National Coalition saying in 2012, “No group fighting Assad should be considered a terrorist organization.”
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