Without a declaration of war from Congress or any constitutional authority whatsoever, the Obama administration is reportedly preparing to openly send lethal weapons to so-called “rebels” in Syria seeking to overthrow the regime. The president plans to start sending arms while simultaneously pursuing “political negotiation” in the operation to oust dictator Bashar al-Assad, according to news reports citing “senior administration officials.” The White House is also seeking to assert “more aggressive U.S. leadership” in the battle against Syrian authorities, potentially including overt military intervention.
The Washington Post reported this week that in addition to preparing weapons shipments to Syrian opposition forces, Obama is also working to convince other governments — especially Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, who along with the dictatorships ruling Iran and China has been supporting Assad — to finally back the international “regime-change” plot. Dubious allegations of chemical weapons deployment are apparently at the center of the new scheme to get other governments onboard.
Obama hopes to “mobilize the international community to support” installing a new regime in Syria, he said at a news conference. It was not immediately clear whether he plans to mobilize support from Congress to declare war as required by the U.S. Constitution. The president also claimed that it was not yet known to the administration if Assad had really deployed weapons of mass destruction, apparently an effort to make the administration seem somewhat responsible amid the chaos it has sown.
Quoting unnamed “officials,” the Post reported that the White House planned to make a “final decision” about openly sending arms to “rebels” within weeks — presumably after Secretary of State John Kerry returns from Moscow. “We’re clearly on an upward trajectory,” a senior White House official reportedly told the paper. “We’ve moved over to assistance that has a direct military purpose.”
The anonymous “senior officials” using the newspaper to publicize information the administration wanted published also described Obama as “ready to move” on what one “source” described as the “left-hand side” of a broad spectrum of options ranging from “arming the opposition to boots on the ground.” One of several “senior officials” who spoke to the paper also said Obama has “not closed the door to other military actions,” apparently a reference to overtly putting American troops in Syria or at least using military air strikes to create a “no-fly zone” benefiting the “rebels,” as happened in Libya.
According to the Post, the officials did not say what sort of additional taxpayer-funded weaponry the president plans to send. However, the “rebels” are asking for everything from anti-tank weapons to surface-to-air missiles. More than a few “revolutionaries” have called for the U.S. government to intervene militarily to help tip the scales in favor of the rebellion, too.
While stopping short of fully acknowledging the claims of the officials cited in the Post report, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirmed on Thursday that the administration was indeed considering arms shipments. “You look at and rethink all options," he said after a question on arming the rebels, adding that it “doesn’t mean you do or you will.” Like Obama, the controversial defense chief failed to mention getting approval from Congress, saying only that “any country, any power, any international coalition, in partnership, is going to continue to look at options, how best to accomplish those objectives.”
Among the myriad problems with Obama’s half-baked plan is that — as countless analysts, news reports, and officials have explained — the supposed “rebels” consist almost exclusively of violent Islamists. Indeed, the Western-backed fighters, many of them foreign jihadists and terrorists, have themselves admitted on multiple instances that they are seeking to impose sharia law on Syria after “regime change” forces the secular despot out of power.
The consequences of such a move would be dire — especially for the already-terrorized Christian, Jewish, and Shia Muslim minorities inside Syria, which enjoyed relative peace under Assad’s secular but iron-fisted rule. Also problematic: What happens if and when the establishment-backed jihadists seize control of Syria and the nation’s vast arms stockpiles? More than a few rebel leaders have already promised to attack Israel and America next, and with chemical weapons stockpiles, the results could be deadly.
Plus, if the tragedy inflicted on Libya by Obama and his proxy Islamist “rebels” is any guide to Syria’s future — and the internationally backed regime-change operation has been strikingly similar so far — the Syrian people will continue to suffer immensely as well. Libya remains in tatters as various factions struggle for power while the new regime seeks to impose sharia law. In Syria, with estimates suggesting more than 70,000 have already been killed, the bloodshed will undoubtedly continue long after Assad goes down, assuming he does eventually lose — an uncertain prospect at this point even with more U.S. aid.
The Islamist threat, however, is very real, analysts say. One of the most powerful rebel factions in Syria, the al Nusra front, announced a merger with al-Qaeda in Iraq last month. With strong backing from foreign governments, the terrorist group controls huge swaths of territory, power plants, oil fields, and more. Meanwhile, despite the incessant cries that the U.S. government should intervene on behalf of the alleged non-Islamist rebels, the New York Times finally admitted what most serious analysts have known all along. “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of,” the paper reported on April 27.
Left unsaid in most of the news reports about the administration’s plot to directly arm the rebels is the fact that the U.S. government has played a key role in funneling weapons, money, propaganda, and training to the opposition. As The New American has been reporting for months, Obama has deployed troops along Syria’s borders with Turkey and Jordan. On top of that, U.S. forces have been training rebels even as American “intelligence” agencies coordinated massive arms transfers to the jihadist fighters from Sunni Arab tyrants.
Of course, the U.S. government has also been deeply involved in fomenting the chaos since long before the “revolution” officially began, even offering taxpayer funding to various opposition forces before Obama came to power. Along with other Western governments, establishment powerbrokers, and a motley assortment of Sunni Muslim dictators, U.S. authorities have been at the center of the “regime change” operation for years.
Among certain war-mongers in Congress, the Obama administration’s meddling has found strong support. Certain “RINO” Republicans like Sen. John McCain of Arizona and South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham have actually called on the president to get the United States even more deeply involved in the battle — possibly even putting American forces on the ground to accelerate regime change. However, as in Libya, no declaration of war has been issued by lawmakers.
In Israel, which shares a border with Syria, alarm over what might happen next is being expressed, with numerous officials concerned about the rebels and what they will do if and when Assad falls. Speaking to CNN, Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren urged caution before sending even more weapons to the opposition forces. "If it were decided to provide lethal assistance, we ask those groups be carefully vetted," he said.
Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin, meanwhile, told The New American in a recent interview that the so-called “Arab Spring” might result in Israel being surrounded by the equivalent of “one big Gaza all around us.” “There will be no return address for the missiles that will fall here from Syria, or from Jordan, or Iraq, or from anywhere else,” he added. “It’s going to be exactly the same as Gaza, like the Hezbollah in Lebanon.” He also said it was “obvious in the first years of Obama diplomacy that the strategy was to throw your dice on the Muslim side — it was very obvious.”
Indeed, Obama has overtly backed various uprisings in Islamic countries that resulted in radical Islamists seizing power: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Syria, among others. The dire consequences for the ancient Christian communities in those nations — as well as for the United States, Israel, and the West in general — are likely to be felt for generations to come. In the meantime, it appears as though the body count of innocents will keep rising as Western-backed violence and chaos continue to spread throughout the region.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at
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