Syria

Rebels in Syria, Awaiting Lethal American Military Aid, Use Weapons From Sudan

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Credit: Patrick Wells/wikimedia

Rebels in Syria, some of whom are frustrated by the lack of lethal military support being offered by the West, have been receiving weapons from Sudan, albeit in a rather roundabout way.

From The New York Times:

In deals that have not been publicly acknowledged, Western officials and Syrian rebels say, Sudan's government sold Sudanese- and Chinese-made arms to Qatar, which arranged delivery through Turkey to the rebels.

The shipments included antiaircraft missiles and newly manufactured small-arms cartridges, which were seen on the battlefield in Syria — all of which have helped the rebels combat the Syrian government's better-armed forces and loyalist militias.

As The New York Times article goes on to note, officials from countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, who are evidently not as concerned as some American or British legislators are about potentially arming Al Qaeda-linked groups within Assad's opposition, have been involved in funding the arming of rebels in Syria.

Despite support from Arab nations it is far from clear that Assad, with military and economic support from Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, will be overthrown by rebels any time soon.

That Sudan, which The New York Times notes has a history of providing weapons to foreign conflicts, is providing weapons to rebels in Syria is only the latest example of how complex the situation in Syria is. If the Obama administration goes ahead with plans to arms rebels in Syria the American weapons will be comparatively late arrivals to a conflict that involves Hezbollah and Al Qaeda-linked groups as well as pro-Assad and Kurdish militias fighting amid a diplomatic nightmare that includes Iran, Russia, and European nations such as France and the U.K. What could possibly go wrong?