Saturday, June 23, 2012
CIA helping transfer arms through Turkey to Syrian rebels
The New York Times reports:“The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” Turkey denies the claims in response.
According to the Times CIA operatives have been in Turkey for several weeks now. Their aim is to aid the flow of weapons but also to see that they do not end up in the hands of Al Qaeda operatives and other terrorist groups. There were reports back in May that the U.S. was planning such an operation.
In May the Washington Post said that rebel fighters“have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States.” The exile group the Syrian National Council has claimed that the Turkish army has provided them with anti-tank weapons. They also claim that the U.S. was consulted about these transfers. What in effect is happening is that the U.S. is fighting a proxy war against Assad.
Given that Russia and Iran and perhaps China will arm Assad there will be all out civil war. Perhaps it will spread to Lebanon and now that Syria shot down a Turkish jet more conflict in the area is likely. For more see this article.. As long as the rebels think that the west will provide them with material aid there is no reason for them to give up on their plan for regime change. Western countries too support regime change. Any peace plan seems doomed in that situation.
Joshua Lanids from the University of Oklahoma an expert on Syria wrote:: “Let’s be clear: Washington is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria. The United States, Europe, and the Gulf states want regime change, so they are starving the regime in Damascus and feeding the opposition.” Another expert Marc Lynch from George Washington University argues that "arming the Syrian opposition, would likely spread the violence and increase the numbers of Syrian dead without increasing the likelihood of regime collapse.” and notes also “fighting groups will rise in political power, while those who have advocated nonviolence or who advance political strategies will be marginalized.”
The best the UN can hope for is to be allowed to provide some humanitarian aid. Given the constellation of forces peace seems off the radar for now. For more see this article.