Disagreements on Capitol Hill Stall Obama’s Plan To Arm Rebels in Syria

Credit: Voice of America News: Scott Bobb reports from Aleppo, SyriaCredit: Voice of America News: Scott Bobb reports from Aleppo, SyriaThe Obama administration’s plan to arm rebels in Syria is being delayed because members of the House and Senate intelligence committees are divided on whether the U.S. should arm rebels in Syria.

While it might be the case that the Obama administration would like Congress to back the plan to arm rebels in Syria the plan could be implemented without Congressional approval.

From The Washington Post:

Under the administration’s plan, the arms shipments are to be undertaken as a covert action by the CIA. Although the administration must inform the intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, their approval and funding authorization are not required by law.

But seeking agreement is a long-held tradition. Congress has shown in the past that it is willing to use its budget power to prevent specific intelligence activities, as it did in the early 1980s with laws prohibiting funds for contra fighters seeking to overthrow Nicaragua’s government.

White House spokesman Jay Carney refused Wednesday to comment on the substance of the dispute over supplying arms to Syrian rebels. “The president said we would consult with Congress, and that’s what we’re doing,” Carney said.

One of the concerns some legislators on Capitol Hill have about the plan to send weapons to rebels in Syria is that Assad’s opposition includes groups with links to Al Qaeda. Were the U.S. to send weapons to rebels in Syria there is no way to guarantee that these groups would not benefit and further pursue their goal, the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria. 

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  • Hugh Akston||

    God, Congress is being so unfair! Why can't they just let Obama do what he wants?! He's not a little kid anymore, and all his friends are getting involved in foreign wars. Well, he'll show them. He'll run away and be president of some other country! Then they'll be sorry they were so mean to him.

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    *End of decent movie applause*

  • Sevo||

    Doesn't matter. He'll tell VJ to make a comment on her personal blog and go ahead and arm them anyhow.
    It's good to be king!

  • Rich||

    Exactly. "If Congress refuses to act, ...."

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    “The president said we would consult with Congress, and that’s what we’re doing,” Carney said.

    That doesn't mean the Lightworker will wait for a vote, appropriation or any of that jazz, no siree!

  • AlexInCT||

    If we are going to arm the Syrians, we should arm both sides. Like the Iran-Iraq conflict I would like for both sides to lose. If we are not going to do do that, stay the fuck away from Syria.

  • db||

    Just repeal ITAR restrictions on U.S. weapon manufacturers. Let other countries donate financial aid.

    In any case from what I've read, it is not weapons that anyone lack over there, but ammunition.

  • PH2050||

    Do you think any of the "defense" companies would sell to China? Would they be able to afford superior military technology? I'm not sure if repealing ITAR is a good idea. But then, doesn't it conflict with principles of free markets?

    I didn't catch the alteration in the 2013 "defense authorization" bill until just now since you made me read up on ITAR again. Thanks.

  • Robert||

    The British would help both sides, at least one of them covertly. I bet the British are doing that even now.

  • Jon Lester||

    And to think that some people speak of "gridlock" as if it's a bad thing.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Obama just wants to take guns from dangerous, bitter Americans who don't need them anyway cause the government is us and give them to peace loving Syrians. Who could possibly oppose this?

  • Rich||

    People who cling to their Qur'ans?

  • CE||

    Couldn't Obama be hauled off to Gitmo without a trial or a lawyer if he actually ships arms to the Syrian rebels/terrorists? Maybe that explains the delay.

  • PH2050||

    Those damn obstructionist Republicans!

    Saw some statist friends on Facebook wrote comments expressing their wishes that the Senate didn't exist since it didn't "listen to the people"; this was after the failure of the AWB Bill earlier this year. Also, in their eyes, it "isn't fair" that "more rural states with less people" have the same amount of representatives in the Senate as all the others. Their ignorance is beside the point (bicameral legislature, how does it work?)

    I wrote a comment in the thread pointing out that Republicans pretty much controlled the House and could feasibly continue to do so. Did they really think through what they were suggesting?

    That was the last I saw any of them write such comments.

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