On Thursday, June 26, President Obama asked Congress to approve $500 million to train and arm what he called “moderate” members of opposition forces in Syria. He claims the funds would help Syrians defend against forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad, and would also counter Islamist militants such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
The proposed aid will “help defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control and facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats, and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement,” the Obama administration said in its financial request to Congress.
Giving backing to what Obama called “moderate” members of opposition forces is funny, since even last spring the New York Times wrote, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.” Even the so called “Free Syrian Army” is not moderate! The majority of its members are militias with Islamic backgrounds and work under Islamist commanders, some of whom carried out joint operations with Al Qaeda/Al Nusra Front (Jabhat Al Nusra, which has pledged alliance to ISIS (Al Qaeda) in Iraq).
“This funding request would build on the administration’s longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed, and will enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council.
At the same time, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has requested the Pentagon to build more detailed plans to train and support what he described as moderate Syrian rebels, should Congress approve the requested funding. This financial request makes up just a fraction of a larger, $65.8 billion overseas operations request sent to Congress that, if approved, would fund a number of Pentagon and State Department programs, as well as $1 billion in aid to countries bordering Syria, as The Associated Press reported.
The biggest irony is that Hayden, National Security Councils spokeswoman, claims that the United States believes that “there is no military solution to this crisis.” So the question is, when you give millions to terrorists while training them and supplying them with weapons, what is this then called?
Other members of Obama administration, like Jeff White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and former Defense Intelligence Agency official, said the $500 million suggestion is “a pretty good chunk of change,” and “would buy some substantial assistance.”
This recent call by Obama administration for new “help” comes barely weeks after the president summarized his foreign policy goals during a speech last month at the West Point Military Academy graduation ceremony.
“As president, I made a decision that we should not put American troops into the middle of this increasingly sectarian civil war, and I believe that is the right decision. But that does not mean we shouldn’t help the Syrian people stand up against a dictator who bombs and starves his own people,” Obama said. “And in helping those who fight for the right of all Syrians to choose their own future, we are also pushing back against the growing number of extremists who find safe haven in the chaos.”
Obama then added, “so with the additional resources I’m announcing today, we will step up our efforts to support Syria’s neighbors — Jordan and Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq — as they contend with refugees and confront terrorists working across Syria’s borders.”
The US administration has already been managing secret programs to support so-called “rebels” with military equipment, and providing what it calls “non-lethal aid” to extreme groups, White pointed out that al qaeda terrorists in Syria have also been supplied with U.S. TOW anti-tank missiles, though it is not clear if they are coming directly from the United States or another country (like Saudi Arabia).
The following 2 videos show U.S. TOW anti-tank missiles in the hands of terrorists (who belong to al Qaeda-related organizations) in Syria.
The so-called “Hazzm Movement” hitting a BMP with a U.S. TOW anti-tank missile on the Sheikh Najjar, Aleppo
Another tank destroyed by al Qaeda allies with TOW Eastern Qalamoun area, near Damascus
Since nearly the beginning of the war in Syria, more than three years ago, hawkish Republicans in Congress have encouraged the White House to take serious steps against President Assad, with Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) going as far as to travel to meet with so-called “rebel fighters” near the Syrian-Turkish borders. The following image is a message from Syrian activists to Mr. McCain imposed on a photograph of this meeting: