US Mulls Paying Rebels Salaries In Wake of Failed Syria Peace Talks


Credit: Pete Souza/wikimedia

Last week, the Syria peace talks held in Switzerland finished without progress, prompting United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to apologize to the Syrian people.

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry criticized Russia, one of Syria's strongest allies, for sending arms to the Assad regime.

According to The New York Times, American and European officials said that the U.S. is considering paying some rebels salaries "and providing more transportation and intelligence." Obama administration officials have said that Western leaders, including President Obama, have dropped objections to proposals from Saudi Arabia and other countries to send advanced weapons to some rebels.

The Times goes on to explain why Obama is apparently more willing to allow some rebel groups to be supplied with heavy weapons:

Mr. Obama's apparent willingness to drop objections to supplying the rebel groups with heavier weapons may simply be an acknowledgment that Saudi Arabia and gulf states that are frustrated with American policy are now prepared to do so anyway, without Washington's blessing. American officials say they also now have a better sense than they did last year about which groups they can trust to use and secure the weapons.

Mr. Obama has also been influenced by growing fears that Syria is becoming a training ground for a new generation of terrorists and may become even more of a haven until a political settlement is reached. "That's one big change from a year ago," a senior American diplomat said. "And it's beginning to haunt everyone with memories of Afghanistan."

The Times also mentions a meeting between intelligence agencies from anti-Assad countries. The Nation's Bob Dreyfuss believes that this is a sign that the Obama administration is giving up on diplomacy:

According to the Times, a secret meeting just concluded of all of the intelligence agencies involved in the anti-Assad coalition, including the CIA and the spy chiefs from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. If so, that's a sign that the administration's commitment to diplomacy is fading, and that Obama is prepared to let the covert operators go to work with a freer leash. Indeed, it appears that the Obama administration has given the green light to Saudi Arabia to supply the rebels with heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles.

More from on Syria here.

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  1. US Mulls Paying Rebels Salaries In Wake of Failed Syria Peace Talks

    Proving the administration has the collective IQ of a slug.

  2. This idea sounds so extraordinarily bad. I hardly know where to begin.

  3. Given that photo, where is the fucking alt-text?

    1. “You know, now that I think about it, I really do look a lot like Satan.

      1. “Hmm, drool. I wonder if I was snoring.”

    2. I feel like it speaks for itself. Our bored, self-satisfied president has no time to deal with such petty matters. Toss a few sacks of gold to these Arab riffraff! That should keep them busy.

  4. Obama is apparently more willing to allow some rebel groups to be supplied with heavy weapons

    Oh sure, what could possibly go wrong?

  5. “Jim, that means you’re condemning this whole planet to a war that may never end! It could go on for year after year! Massacre after massacre!”

  6. “Mr. Obama has also been influenced by growing fears that Syria is becoming a training ground for a new generation of terrorists and may become even more of a haven until a political settlement is reached. “That’s one big change from a year ago,” a senior American diplomat said. “And it’s beginning to haunt everyone with memories of Afghanistan.””

    So, unless I’m confused here, they just used the fact Afghanistan became “training ground for a generation” of terrorists as a reason to support rebels in Syria…..a situation which happened, at least partially, because of support from the U.S.. Am I missing something?

    1. Am I missing something?

      Yes. Obama is a good man therefor he will succeed at doing, by shear will alone, where his predecessors have failed…even if he is doing the exact same things as they did.

  7. So we talking $7.25/hr or $10.10/hr? …’cause I want these guys to have living wage while dying

  8. Are you serious? Are you serious?

    1. Who do you have to kill to get a job like that ?!?!?

  9. I, for one, support President Obama’s efforts to reduce global inequality through minimum wage and the elimination of the unemployed.

  10. Syrian Rebels Salaries…

    Minimum wage for Federal Contractors…

    OH! Now I get it!

    1. No way Syria ever passes an OSHA inspection. Have to shut them down.

      1. But rest assured all of their backgrounds have been checked.

      2. They’ll have to allow women and gays to serve.

        1. They have very serious diversity issues.

  11. Ya hear that Americans? All you need to do to earn a federal salary is shoot at government personnel.

  12. Can someone define the Obama Doctrine for me? To my unsophisticated mind, it seems like some sort of random-number generator is involved.

    1. “A hundred what?”
      “A hundred … serpents. Serpents for the Garden of Eden.”

      1. Oh, I see. Obama is supposedly a Star Trek fan. So each instance of a major foreign policy move or announcement by this administration somehow ties to a Star Trek episode?


        1. Snark me again and this small box will kill you.

        2. NO FAULT MINE

          1. Just wait until Obama calls in General Order 24.

    2. “Never make the same mistake twice by never making the same decision twice”

    3. I think the Obama Doctrine is a simple “Make the US Look Bad” strategy:

      1) Hypocrisy (do what he criticized Bush for).
      2) Alienate friendly nations.
      3) Suck up to and/or impotently threaten unfriendly nations.
      4) Waste money.

  13. Pay the bureaucrats of the rebels that is a sure way to win.

    Cuz we all know the love of money by paper pushers, and not the fortitude of the fighting men for the cause, is how wars are won.

    1. And we all know that the payroll will go to the grunts, not be diverted into warlord Swiss Bank accounts.

  14. “Sir Putin sir the Americans they are going to give rebels salaries”

    “You have to be fucking kidding me”

    “No sir I am serious, what should we do sir?”

    “I don’t know but I know I am going to drink to victory and laugh my ass off”

    1. “Tell our boys that their enemies are all carrying CASH.”

  15. So now we can directly fund Al Quada. This ought to work out well. Either the world as a whole has the will to step in and put an end to this and effectively annex Syria into a colony of the civilized world or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, and it most certainly doesn’t, there is not a God damned thing we can do about what is going on there. Given that, the worst thing we could do is shoot our mouth off and demand Assad leave and act like we can enforce a deal when we can’t. That of course is exactly what the Chocolate Nixon has done. Smart diplomacy you know.

    1. To be fair, john = if anything, this is an effort to increase some kind of legitimate connection between the FSA and the US Govt; the ‘al qaeda’/salafist rebels are maybe 20% of the actual fighters, and even that share is divided among multiple groups.

      Whats pathetic is not the “OMG we’re funding the terrorists”, but rather the haphazard way the admin has tried to maintain some sort of relevance in the region while simultaneously pretending we’re being ‘diplomatic’.

      That bullshit was old in 2012.

      1. The problem is that you can’t half ass it. If Obama wants to fund and assume some control over these rebels so we can have some control over who runs Syria, that might be a good idea. But if that is the idea, he better do it and make it work. As it is, it seems like he is just floundering looking for some way to save his sorry ass from blame.

      2. this is an effort to increase some kind of legitimate connection between the FSA and the US Govt; the ‘al qaeda’/salafist rebels are maybe 20% of the actual fighters, and even that share is divided among multiple groups.

        Don’t tell me you believe that horsepucky! The FSA, not as “secular” as the media would have us believe, is as effective as a eunuch in a harem.

        Everyday, ISIS gets stronger and stronger and considering that’s the group that even al-Qaeda criticized as too brutal, that should give anyone pause, especially considering corruption shall insure that our tax money will be directly transferred to them.

        The people in the Obama administration who even gave this idea a second’s thought are lunatics.

        1. The 20% estimate is just as silly as McCain’s 7%, which was fed to him via a recently-sacked FSA “leader”. I’ve actually met both FSA fighters and Syrians who left the FSA and fled, because they the supposedly non-salafist FSA doesn’t actually exist. And this is in Dera’a, where Al-Qaeda isn’t nearly as strong as other areas. But the situation in Homs and Aleppo is even worse.

          I hear these estimates without a word about how they’re defining “Salafist” v.s., well, whatever else they supposedly are.

  16. “that’s a sign that the administration’s commitment to diplomacy is fading”

    Oh, yeah. That diplomatic *struggle* they’ve made. one meeting in 2010 where Kerry got to do a PR stunt, then quickly suggesting Assad should simply ‘step down’ by mid 2011. (clearly a sign of an honest negotiator)…Then 3 years of doing everything possible to oust Assad on the DL…..wanted=all

    The only reason we didn’t send in aircraft last year was because Putin scared Obama by sending warships into the region.

    That ‘one sided diplomatic effort’ bullshit is basically kabuki theatre for the press.

    When you look at Obama’s FP ‘efforts’ versus ‘achievements’ one thing becomes clear = they are all talk and no trousers. they make lots of gestures in different directions, but no actual commitments to anything. Its unclear what exactly they want out of ‘allies’ or ‘adversaries’ at all. See: Israel/Iran. Neither sees us as credible about anything.

    This idea of paying rebels directly is like “idea #25” in a 3 year pattern of trying to ‘stay involved’ such that we may have some negotiating leverage in a transitional period post-Assad.

    1. Hey Hillary Clinton flew over one million miles as Secretary of State. Her followers assure me that means she was success. I mean what better metric of FP success is there than how many miles you have flown?

      1. In 15 years or so Michelle Obama will be the best Secretary of State the US has ever had.

    2. they are all talk and no trousers.

      and thank god for that. Can you imagine the blood drenched mess we would be in right now if Obama had followed through with his “red line” remarks?

      I would hate to be a Syrian rebel right now though. Obama will make promises and break them and severely fuck them up. They would be better off if the US was their enemy.

  17. Plus, they get to sign up for Obamacare. Where it says “Do you qualify for subsidy?” click “Islamic Freedom Fighter.

  18. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but, uh, it’s beginning to look like President Obama is not very good at his job.

    1. Let’s not jump the gun pal.

    2. To be fair, what was the job description he was hired to fill?

      1. To be fair to him, there are surely extenuating circumstances that explain his less-than-optimal performance. He might be an Al-Qaeda agent. He might have had a stroke. My personal theory is that he died years ago and Michelle and Joe Biden have been marionetting his corpse at press conferences and foreign visits Weekend at Bernie’s style. It has to be exhausting for them, so we can forgive their lapses in judgment.

        1. I was thinking more Mannequin than Weekend at Bernie’s.

        2. I’m going with the plot from Dave. The philosopher king died from a heart attack banging a hot intern during one of those post-inauguration balls. He was replaced by a body double that was nothing like the post-partisan, peace loving, thoughtful guy that the moderates thought they elected.

  19. Roll over that hill one more time dude.

  20. I rebel against Obama care and need a subsidy as a revolutionary rebellious sort of guy. Just send an extra check with my social security check.

  21. There shouldn’t be choices, everyone should be able to make up their own gender. Right?

  22. 4 year long civil war in a country the size of west virginia filled with people who only hate US more than eachother, yes i can see what a sensible investment this would be. Let me exchange all this worthless dollar money for some Rials or Dinar since that seems to be where our money inevitably has been ending up

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