Syria

US Will Send Military Aid To Rebels in Syria

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Credit: Unknown author wikimedia

Yesterday, the White House said that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. In August last year Obama said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would mark the crossing of a "red line." Now, months after the suspected use of chemical weapons, it seems like the Obama administration has accepted that chemical weapons have been used and will send military aid to rebels in Syria.

From the BBC:

The US is to supply direct military aid to the Syrian opposition for the first time, the White House has announced.

President Obama made the decision after his administration concluded Syrian forces under Bashar al-Assad were using chemical weapons, a spokesman said.

Ben Rhodes did not give details about the military aid other than to say it would be "different in scope and scale to what we have provided before".

The US had warned any use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line".

The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says the US announcement is one that the Syrian opposition has been pushing and praying for for months.

It seems clear that President Obama has finally been persuaded, as Britain and France have argued, that the battlefield cannot be allowed to tilt strongly in the regime's favour, as is currently happening, he adds.

Washington's "clear" statement was welcomed by Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

I and others from Reason have written before on the conflict in Syria and why intervention would be a bad idea, especially given the worrying jihadist elements within Assad's opposition.

Read Reason.com's full coverage of the conflict in Syria here.

NEXT: White House Says "Multiple" Sources on Syria Chemical Weapons; Colin Powell Had Multiple Sources for Iraq Claims, Too

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  1. FUCK.

  2. Goddamnit. What is special about people being killed in a horrible war by sarin rather than by bullets and artillery?

    Shit, I bet Assad’s dropped bombs on his people that killed more people than this supposed chemical attack.

    1. To take your points in order;

      1. Dead is dead, right.

      2. Oh yes. Artillery seems to be a favorite of the Assad family.

    2. Ever since WWI there’s been a deep revulsion of chemical weapons for various reasons. (Even in WWII, mustard gas on troops was considered a step too far while firebombing civilians was justifiable.)

      Today and here I think it’s a mix of maintaining norms (you don’t want it to slide too far), and providing an excuse to engage in some anti-Iranian realpolitik and bleed them by preventing the collapse of the Syrian resistance, without necessarily wanting them to win.

      As far as reinforcing the “thou shalt not use chemical weapons” norm, the US no longer has chemical weapons offensive capacity and our policy is a WMD is a WMD for retaliation purposes, so if you dump sarin on us we’re justified in nuking you. Obviously we don’t want to either nuke them or look like chumps in that circumstance, so it’s a good idea through rhetoric and occasional action to prevent things from degenerating that far.

    3. Obama’s promise to aid the rebels should Assad employ chemical weapons was either the action of an absolute amateur, or carefully calculated to get us directly involved in Syria. While such an ultimatum may well discourage Assad, it gives the rebels an enormous incentive to suffer a “supposed” chemical attack. It’s not like al-Qaeda types would never purposely sacrifice their own to achieve an objective. That would be like suicide; attack!

      1. And what happens when our involvement turns the tide against Assad? He’s already an acknowledged chemical weapons user. How many more tons of that crap does he have in storage?

        1. That’s difficult to answer. He may have none. He may have huge stockpiles. If it’s the latter, it would greatly benefit us for it not to end up in the hands of the rebels.

          1. Better in their lungs than in their hands?

        2. and where did Assad get it?

        3. I’m wondering how much of the stuff is really in usable condition. The allegations I’ve heard sounded kind of weak, like the inventory may be mostly inert from longtime storage, or it isn’t even sarin that’s been used.

          Again, if Sunni jihadists from all over the region want to go fight against Assad, Hezbollah and whatever IRG advisers are supporting them, then I don’t care what weapons are used.

  3. Ben Rhodes did not give details about the military aid other than to say it would be “different in scope and scale to what we have provided before”.

    Let me take a guess: they’re going to buy up a few billion rounds of ammo from already stressed US market and ship it over.

    1. Send AR-15 wielding IRS agents?

      1. Don’t be silly, they would never fight against a heavily-armed opponent, they’ll only use their weapons against American citizens in surprise SWAT raids.

    2. Any ammo would be different in scope – it was all food/medical supplies before. Probably they’ll ship them Eastern bloc weapons purchased outside the US so they have common ammo with captured Syrian weapons.

      1. I hope we ship them weapons that we don’t mind if they make it back over here. Because they will. An anti-tank missile works just as well on an armored limousine as it would on a T-72. Probably better, actually. Ditto a Stinger.

        Count me on the side of, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that the rebels gassed one of their own splinter factions.”

        So are we getting involved in every civil war around this globe or just this one? And if this one, what makes it special?

        1. I think it’s worth remembering that DiFi wants to take away out semiautomatic scary black guns, yet give center-fire variants to the jihadists.

  4. It seems clear that President Obama has finally been persuaded, as Britain and France have argued, that the battlefield cannot be allowed to tilt strongly in the regime’s favour, as is currently happening, he adds.

    Wait, is this an article about Libya or Syria…? Ugh, I’ve seen this movie before – the ending sucks, and the sequel shan’t be any better.

    1. In Libya we decided we actually wanted Qaddafi gone if it could be accomplished, here I think we mostly want the conflict to go on and continue to suck up Iranian resources.

      1. Ooh, a proxy war. We’ve had such good luck with those in the past.

    2. I wonder if we’ll be mourning another dead ambassador next year…

    3. I’ve seen this movie before, too. It’s an unjustifiable war movie based on another movie, Ground Hog Day.

  5. Just wait until the President turns on the Today Show this morning and finds out about this. Especially after hearing Matt Lauer talk about what Bill Clinton said yesterday.

    1. [Ed. note: I have no idea if Matt Lauer talked about Bill Clinton yesterday]

  6. as Britain and France have argued

    France, Britain, and the US = FUKUS.

  7. “….worrying jihadist elements…”

    Those would be the ones who will be in charge after Assad is gone I presume.
    What is the news from Egypt these days? Let me just google it up…..

    Egypt ‘suffering worst economic crisis since 1930s’: Former finance minister and economist say Egypt is in dire predicament as foreign investment and tourism collapse

    Interesting.

    1. Economic crises are known to bring about democratic and capitalist reforms, right?

    2. I hope that one imam will continue to urge Egyptian radicals to join the fight against Assad, so that more thoughtful voters will gain a greater share of the electorate.

  8. “””Obama administration has accepted that chemical weapons have been used””

    Yes, their highly placed source is a defector from Syria codenamed Ballcurve. We can trust him because defectors never lie.

    All we need now is for the US Secretary of State to go to the UN and show satellite photos of Syrians chemical weapons trailers in action.

  9. I find this persuasive as a description of what most policy makers in the Obama administration are after.

    To your humble blogger, this is simply the next iteration of the unspoken, brutally realpolitik policy towards Syria that’s been going on for the past two years. To recap, the goal of that policy is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible. This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished…. at an appalling toll in lives lost.

    This policy doesn’t require any course correction… so long as rebels are holding their own or winning. A faltering Assad simply forces Iran et al into doubling down and committing even more resources. A faltering rebel movement, on the other hand, does require some external support, lest the Iranians actually win the conflict. In a related matter, arming the rebels also prevents relations with U.S. allies in the region from fraying any further.

    1. Sounds plausible to me. As soon as the rebels start losing suddenly WMD’s are brought up to justify sending weapons

  10. Heh. No, Borack, I am your father.

    So how’s ’bout joinin’ me, and, ehm, together we can rule the gal — gaall — gallallaxy, as father ‘n son.

    Hehe, come ta think of it, I just rememberered, that’s ’bout the same speech my daddy give me once.

  11. For once I Wish the US would start minding its own business and help its own people!

    http://www.AnonStuff.tk

    1. You tell em Pedo-bot.

    2. I’d be happier if the US minded its own business and stopped helping everyone.

  12. Drawing lines where we have no business is at best foolish. What an amateur.

    1. That’s been the story of his presidency. He does it in the domestic economy all the time.

  13. Um…dog, wag, something something. And no idea of whom we’re “helping.” Not that this has ever stopped us before.

    1. We have some idea; al-Qaeda/death-to-America-ists.

      1. makes perfect sense to help those who are more against us that Assad. Sure. Up is down, freedom is slavery.

  14. You know who else used chemical weapons?

    1. The Users of WMDs club is a very select, august organization. As club President, the US can’t just let anyone in.

    2. Everyone sending aid to the Syrian rebels.

  15. The Sisterhood of the Travelling WMD

    We’ll invade every goddamn country in the Middle East if that’s what it takes to prove Iraq II was a good idea.

  16. How about we send Biden over? They can build him a deck and he can fire off two blasts.

    But seriously, if progtards had any shame at all, the cynical maneuverings of this neocon-lite sack of shit would cause their heads to explode. But, no, it’s okay because it’s not Dubya.

  17. Also: LOOK OVER THERE!

  18. Didn’t the Russians state that they were sending missles to Assad just the other day. So, does this mean we’ll also return to a proxy war with Russia?

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