– Obama To Authorize Weapons Training Of Syrian “Rebels” (ZeroHedge, May 27, 2014):
This will end well. President Obama is, according to WSJ, close to authorizing the US military to train “moderate” Syrian rebels. The move – clearly expanding Washington’s role in the conflict and a subtle side-swipe at Putin – is aimed at providing a seemingly arbitrary group of rebels with weapons training to fight against both Bashar al-Assad’s regime’s army as well as Al-Qaeda-linked groups. One quick question – how will Obama determine who is ‘moderate’ and who is full Al-Qaeda-tard?
A new military training program, if implemented, would supplement a small train-and-equip program led by the Central Intelligence Agency which Mr. Obama authorized a year ago.
U.S. officials said the new military program would represent a significant expansion of Washington’s public efforts. U.S. officials don’t discuss the CIA’s limited training program because it is covert.
Only supporting the moderates – not the real crazies?
“The president will make clear his intention to expand our support to the moderate Syrian operation and increase our support to Syria’s neighbors, who are dealing with the terrorist threats emanating from the situation Assad has created in Syria,” a senior administration official said.
The proposed military training mission has been the subject of a nearly yearlong Obama administration debate pitting top American diplomats seeking leverage to pressure Mr. Assad against Pentagon leaders wary of open-ended commitments that risk deepening U.S. involvement in another messy Middle Eastern conflict.
Defense officials said it was unclear when training, which would be undertaken by U.S. special-operations forces, would get under way, citing obstacles that include how the Pentagon will vet prospective rebels for the program.
We are sure they will figure it out?
And here comes the Middle East pressure…
The move toward deeper U.S. involvement reflects a growing realization within the White House that more needs to be done to build up the capabilities of a proxy force inside Syria capable of challenging al Qaeda. Washington increasingly fears al Qaeda’s network of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq will become capable of threatening U.S. allies in the region, including Jordan.
The move also comes in response to mounting pressure on the White House from Middle Eastern allies who say Mr. Obama’s reluctance to support moderate fighters has allowed al Qaeda-linked groups to now dominate the opposition.
The Western-backed Free Syrian Army has been fighting a two-front war, against Mr. Assad and his allies on one side, and against al Qaeda and its allies on the other, but commanders say they have received scant support from the U.S.
During his visit, Mr. Jarba met with Mr. Obama and top officials at the White House and the State Department. Mr. Jarba also requested a meeting with Mr. Hagel, but a senior defense official said the Pentagon chief’s schedule at the time was booked. “There was not a concerted effort not to meet with him,” the senior defense official said. “It was a scheduling thing.”
Administration lawyers have raised other legal concerns about the proposed military program, holding up its final approval, officials said.
Jordanian officials have privately told their American counterparts that they are worried a large overt training program on their territory could prompt the Assad regime or al Qaeda to retaliate against the Hashemite Kingdom.
This has always worked so well in the past and we are sure this administration will execute flawlessly. One quick question… will “Hijacking airplanes for disgruntled Al Qaeda operatives 101”, pardon, Syrian rebels, be on the curriculum?