Covered at Reason 24/7: John Kerry Says the U.S. Will "Empower" Syrian Rebels


Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the U.S. will work towards "empowering" Assad's opposition but will not be supplying weapons. 

From Al-Jazeera:

Washington will work to "empower" Syria's opposition, its top diplomat has said in Riyadh where he held discussions on Iran's nuclear ambitions and met with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

John Kerry, US secretary of state, on his first tour of the Gulf since taking office, stressed on Monday that there was not yet possibility of arming the opposition, even as his Saudi counterpart insisted on the right of Syrians to self-defence.

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  1. Covered at Reason 24/7: John Kerry Says the U.S. Will “Empower” Syrian Rebels

    Why does anyone need a machine gun? Or does Kerry mean by ’empower’ he is sending Oprah and a ton of New Age self help guides in there?

    1. It’ll be a massive airdrop of Arabic-language copies of Dreams of My Father.

      1. Boy, Hugh, you REALLY want to piss ’em off!

      2. Honestly, laptops full of porn with solar chargers would solve a shitton of problems in many parts of the world. Imagine how many of those we could airdrop for $250M.

  2. I suppose we’re going to continue to actively de-stabilize the region until Turkey rises again as the undisputed Hegemonic power. Wheee. Or the US government has no strategy and is lurching from one crisis to the next.

    1. Brett L| 3.4.13 @ 11:10AM |#
      …”Or the US government has no strategy and is lurching from one crisis to the next.”

      Oh, not so! We’re always helping the good guys! It never fails to produce the desired result.
      Well, it fails sometimes. OK, maybe more than sometimes.
      Awright! It never damn works! Are you happy now?

      1. Arm Islamist rebels with the latest NATO issued firearms.

        Disarm Americans.

        Our government, the best of intentions in the entire!

        1. Strike that, the entire universe!

        2. But “the future doesn’t belong to” we Americans, silly.

      2. The welfare/warfare state is always on the lookout for opportunities to create new enemies. A war on terror requires a steady supply of new terrorists since they have a tendency to blow themselves up. Perpetual low-intensity conflict is an absolute necessity, so there’s nothing quite so promising as taking sides in a sectarian civil war in a tribal culture.

        So, yeah, it works every time.

    2. Or the US government has no strategy and is lurching from one crisis to the next.

      Blasphemer! Just because your tiny mind cannot comprehend the Plan does not mean the Plan does not exist.

    3. Turkey isn’t going to be the hegemonic power in the region, especially once its neighbor Iran has nukes.

      1. Uh, the NATO member already has access to nukes.

        1. Ah, is Turkey NATO?

            1. Dude… I’m not asking if Turkey is IN Nato, I’m asking if Turkey IS Nato.

              There’s kind of a difference. 🙂

          1. Ah, yes. They’re almost a charter member – they joined in 1952.

            1. No kidding, but that’s not what I asked. Read again.

      2. hahaahahahahaha

        Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979.…

    4. By all appearances it’s the latter. And I don’t think the gummint collective is smart enough to just make it “appear” that way, while actually pulling all the levers behind the scenes in an exquisite ballet of international intrigue and skullduggery.

      It looks like they don’t have a fucking strategy nor a clue. Very reassuring.

      1. Yes, and all of us would be better off if we earned our Phd at the Dennis Rodman School of International Relations.

        BTW, I would much rather hang out with Rodman than Stephanopoulus.

        1. Guess what? Rodman’s rather inane observations and recommendations are more realistic than anything the State Department has offered recently.

          1. And are more intelligent than anything I’ve seen out of the Central Intelligence Agency for quite some time.

            1. The only good thing to come out of the CIA in the past 15 years has been Yvonne Strahovski.

              (Please don’t spoil this for me.)

            2. CTE-

              Guess what?

              I counted 15 times. Still, he’s more intelligible than Mumbles Menino.

  3. How awesome! I guess assisting Al Queda is OK when they’re fighting against the Shiites.

    But remember, it’s we non-interventionists who would give the world over to bad guys.

    1. And it really sucked when BOOOSH was doing this!

    2. You’re certainly okay with Assad remaining in power.


      1. What difference does it make?

        1. By staying out of it, a State avoids creating new enemies. To maintain the war on terror, the US needs a steady supply of new enemies.

          1. Nonsense, the U.S. stayed out of World War II for two years and Nazi Germany still ended up being the United States’ enemy.

            1. But Nazi germany’s ally and accomplice in the invasion of Poland became the U.S.’s super-best friend. I guess Lyle supports aggressive totalitarian dictators who build networks of concentration camps and where slave laborers are worked to death.

              1. What are you talking about man? That makes no sense whatsoever.

                1. I’m referring to Josef Stalin, Lyle, the guy who sent his armies to help Hitler subjugate Poland so that they could carve up the territory between the two empires.

                  And you might want to check out a book called the Gulag Archilapego. It’s all about the network of concentration camps and death camps of Stalinist (and post Stalinist) Russia.

                  1. I know about the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin. What does if have to do with anything?

                    Yeah, the U.S. supported the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. And???

            2. Enemies sometimes sprout by themselves, but usually they are cultivated and often intentionally planted.

            3. Nonsense, the U.S. stayed out of World War II for two years and Nazi Germany still ended up being the United States’ enemy.

              Say, what happened before that? Germany became the world’s Nazi threat in a vacuum, right?

              1. No, the Weimar Republic failed. And???

        2. It means Iran and Hezbollah lose in Syria. It would be a diplomatic failure to Russia and China. It means Syrians can try and build something better than Assad.

          No doubt a majority Sunni government would come to power. They might do a lot of things we disagree with, but at least the majority of Syrians would have a voice, unlike they do today.

          Egypt is a mess, but liberty can be exactly that.

          1. Explain to me why it is my problem. Why money taken from me under threat of being kidnapped at gunpoint should be used to affect the outcome. Because I’m not seeing it.

            1. It’s not your problem if you don’t care a lick about liberty.

              1. What does liberty have to do with anything? They’re just replacing one totalitarian regime with another.

                1. Really, there’s going to be a totalitarian regime after Assad? I’m not sure about that.

                  Regardless, you can’t hope to not have a totalitarian regime until Assad is gone.

      2. Your certainly okay with forcing people to fund and fight your wars of preference for you. I have no problem with people shipping themselves, weapons, supplies, funding, etc over to Syria to fight. Just don’t force me to help.

      3. Lyle| 3.4.13 @ 11:17AM |#
        “You’re certainly okay with Assad remaining in power.”

        Compared to?
        The problem here is exactly the same as a government planning an economy; governments are among the dumbest institutions ever arranged by man.
        Sure, you look at the Kims and it’s a good guess most anything would be better. But after them, the guessing gets a lot chancier and the US’ record at the guessing table ain’t anything to be proud of.
        So, yeah, I’m OK with that.

        1. Compared to him being out of power and some anti-Iranian/anti-Hezbollah Syrian group of people taking over?

          Not all Syrians are violent Salafists you know.

      4. “You’re certainly okay with Assad remaining in power.”

        Sure am.

        I guess in a few years we’ll be back for Gulf War III once the islamists knock down Assad and then start working on Iraq. It’s awesome when our soldiers get killed by the guns we’ve supplied.

      5. I’m sure you’re volunteering to go fight in the Lincoln Brigades.

        1. No, I’m not, but it’s my prerogative to support the United States sending weapons, that I don’t have or can afford, to some of the Syrians who are fighting against the dictator Assad.

  4. Shorter Lyle: derp

    1. I have no idea what you mean.

      1. That’s why there is

        1. What’s that say? I not responsible for knowing what that means.

  5. Also, I request most vehemently that Reason henceforth always place the phrase “the French-looking” immediately before the words “Joh Kerry” from here to eternty. It’s important.

    Thanks, Reason.

    1. Also before “John” Kerry

      1. Snow Miser

  6. “Ooh, Assad, don’t make me throw my medals at you!”

  7. I think I’ll watch the first 30 minutes of this movie, then leave.

    Watching a C-130 shoot up the White House then take out the Washington Monument? Yes, please.

  8. I didn’t realize that the Syrians were a spell with variable numeric effects, or that the US could apply metamagic on the fly like that.

  9. Is there any chance that we just wind up with another Islamic Shariah law state in the middle east once Assad is gone?

    Maybe we need to wait for our resident war mongers to explain to us how this all works.

    1. They should definitely attend the Dennis Rodman School for International Relations.

      It would improve their thinking.

    2. I think the better question is “is there any chance we won’t end up with another Shariah state?”

      1. Well, as long as it won’t be white western males oppressing the people, then it’s all good.

    3. Hey, if there are a majority of conservative Muslims in Syria there are a majority of conservative Muslims in Syria.

      White supremacists use to run the United States. We overcame it. They can overcome it too in time.

  10. OT: Too good not to post. Keith Olbermann wants back to Sports Center. ESPN would rather not have a toxic waste of oxygen in their employ.

  11. “Washington will work to “empower” Syria’s opposition, its top diplomat has said in Riyadh”.

    “Empower” is a silly word. It’s one of those words that’s sounds like it’s supposed to mean something, but doesn’t. He should have used a better one.

    Like “embiggen”, as in, “Washington will work to “embiggen” Syria’s opposition, its top diplomat has said in Riyadh”.

  12. If you supply ANYTHING of use or value to an insurgency, you are effectively provided lethal assistance. If an insurgency requires medical supplies (which it does), then it may buy such supplies. The money spent on medical supplies could have otherwise been spent on weapons and ammunition. When someone donates medical supplies, then that frees up funds for expenditure on weapons and ammunition. Either you are supporting an insurgency or you are not supporting an insurgency.

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