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Obama considers sending anti-aircraft weapons to Syrian opposition

Published time: March 28, 2014 19:41
Rebels fighter stand on the images of the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad (R) and his son present Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kasab border crossing with Turkey, in the northwestern province of Latakia, on March 23, 2014. (AFP Photo / Amr Radwan Al-Homsi)

Rebels fighter stand on the images of the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad (R) and his son present Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kasab border crossing with Turkey, in the northwestern province of Latakia, on March 23, 2014. (AFP Photo / Amr Radwan Al-Homsi)

President Barack Obama may authorize the shipment of new air defense systems to rebel forces in Syria’s ongoing civil war, a new Associated Press report states.

Citing an unnamed US official, the AP stated Obama is mulling over the idea of sending man-portable air-defense systems, also known as MANPADs, to Syrian opposition groups, a move that would mark a notable shift compared to the White House’s past statements.

As RT reported last month, the Obama administration has been interested in employing new ways to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and boost the opposing rebels, who have lost ground in the conflict over the last few months.

Officials then stated the US would send anti-tank rockets and humanitarian aid to the opposition, but noted MANPADs – portable missile-launchers – would not be part of the package, due to fears they could land in extremist hands and potentially be used to take down commercial airliners.

If authorized now, the MANPAD shipments could be made by Saudi Arabia, where Obama is currently meeting with King Abdullah. Disappointed by Obama’s decision step back from striking Syria last year, the Saudis have been urging the US to authorize such assistance since early this year.

Obama, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, met with Abdullah for about two hours on Friday, although no decision on arms shipments is expected to be made while the president is in the Middle East.

According to the AP report, the president’s possible rethinking of the situation is due to “the greater understanding the U.S. now has about the composition of the Syrian rebels,” presumably referring to the belief that moderate rebels have fortified their position against radical groups like the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra group.

At the same time, the unnamed official also said Obama is still worried about the consequences of escalating a conflict that’s dragged beyond three years with no clear end in sight.

“The Syrian war is a stalemate,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and current foreign policy advisor to Obama with the Brookings Institution, said in January. “The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks to loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides’ external allies…are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future.”

Comments (145)


Diez Sanchez 01.04.2014 01:39

In other words, ya USA tax payers must pay more to play! Its all dirty & wrong & USa TAX PAYERS no it! Ya try & say we are d good guys but down deep ya know! Ya know your just like them Syrian civilians! Your blind folded hostages, being robbed by bad guys that own your entire experiment & the bogus global one too! Syrians are dying by your guns & funded, bad mercenaries but USA is dying intellectually, morally & economiclly! Only winner in these wars & failed USA foriegn policy is...DEATH!


fran7 31.03.2014 15:01

Sending any weapons to the cannibal rebels in Syria would be against the USAs own constitution no matter how you phrase it. It would also only prolong the war which Mr Assad's forces are winning anyway. Mr Assad is the legitimate and strong leader of Syria which is slowly but surely ridding his country of these numerous gangs of western backed anarchist murderers. USA are guilty of murder of innocent people by backing anarchists in Syria and elsewhere. Snowden, Manning and Assange are great heroes for putting themselves on the line in the course of freedom against tyranny and Obamas aggressive foreign policy.


Erik Trete 31.03.2014 11:56

Max21c 30.03.2014 13:11

Question One: Shall supplying missiles to the Rebels change the outcome of the war? Shall supplying more arms/missiles lead to peace?.. Have the Field Marshals in the State Department...thought this one through thoroughly.


The warpigs in the state department do not think, only act on dogma.
Syria gov/t will substitute inaccurate high altitude bombing, night bombing & wide area artillery barrages instead of more precision bombing - more casualties/destructi on.

US only wants to put pressure on Russia & their friends at all cost.

View all comments (145)
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