Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Reports: U.S. Personnel Arming and Training Syrian Rebels

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American personnel and allied European governments are secretly training Syrian “rebel” forces at bases in Jordan to wage war against the Bashir al-Assad regime, according to a leading German newspaper and other media reports, which quoted participants and organizers involved in the controversial and almost certainly unlawful operation. The so-called “revolutionaries” — a brutal coalition composed largely of foreign jihadists, self-styled al-Qaeda terrorists, and anti-Assad forces heavily backed by the Obama administration, Western powers, and assorted Sunni Arab dictators — are also known to be receiving vast supplies of weapons, financing, and political support from abroad.

Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s top media outlets, reported that hundreds of “rebels” had already received Western military training in recent months at two Jordan-based camps, though certain brands of Islamic extremists, Salafists in particular, have supposedly been excluded. The number of trained “revolutionaries” is set to balloon to some 1,200 men going forward, according to the report. The end goal: to create about a dozen “Free Syrian Army” units totaling some 10,000 fighters.

It was not immediately clear whether the American trainers were mercenaries working for government-funded "private" companies or were directly employed by the Obama administration and other Western governments. Some, however, were wearing uniforms. Much of the training is geared toward teaching the fighters how to use advanced military hardware such as anti-tank weaponry, according to the Spiegel report.

The U.K. Guardian, a major left-wing British newspaper, recently reported similar findings: U.S. government personnel are indeed training “rebel” forces in Jordan to wage war on Syria. The Guardian, citing Jordanian security officials and Western diplomats, also noted that French and British forces were participating in the Obama administration-led scheme as well. Multiple reports confirmed that intelligence services working for the regime in Jordan were involved in the controversial plot, too, as is the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Reuters reported the news on March 10 but said the German and British media reports could not be “independently verified.” Apparently the Obama administration, like the Socialist government in France and U.K. officials, had no comment on the explosive — though unsurprising — revelations. "I have nothing for you on that," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Monday when asked about the Spiegel report.

Last Wednesday, however, U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague did suggest implicitly that his government may be providing training to the rebels — or at least that it plans to. "Such technical assistance can include assistance, advice and training on how to maintain security in areas no longer controlled by the regime, on co-ordination between civilian and military councils, on how to protect civilians and minimize the risks to them, and how to maintain security during a transition," Hague told the British Parliament.

While the three governments may not be willing to overtly confirm the program, possibly due to legal concerns, analysts have long known that the trio of Western powers has been deeply involved in manufacturing the supposed “revolution” since well before it officially began. Indeed, the latest news about the “rebels” receiving direct military training from U.S. and European personnel was hardly a shock to those monitoring the conflict — in fact, it was widely expected.

As The New American reported in October of last year, the Obama administration, without even asking Congress or obtaining a constitutionally required declaration of war, deployed American forces in Jordan along Syria’s southern border under a variety of dubious pretexts. Shortly after that, the U.S. government also publicly announced that it was sending more U.S. troops and missiles to Syria’s border with Turkey, supposedly to “defend” the powerful Islamist Turkish government from Assad. 

Just last month, amid hysterical antics about sequester “budget cuts,” the Obama administration’s new secretary of state, John Kerry, publicly announced that the U.S. government was unconstitutionally sending yet another $60 million in direct “aid” to the supposed revolutionaries. Since the war broke out, U.S. taxpayers have provided close to a half-billion dollars in open assistance to the rebel cause — a figure that does not include the various covert operations and funding schemes going on secretly behind the scenes.

Before the war broke out — back when the Syrian despot was still an American ally in the terror war, helping torture suspected “militants” for the Bush administration — the U.S. government had already been providing millions to Syrian opposition groups seeking “regime change.” The fact that the federal government was secretly funding anti-Assad forces, first formally exposed in official documents released by WikiLeaks, led to widespread suspicion surrounding to the so-called “revolution” in Syria.

Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, much of the establishment press continues to claim the conflict began as a simple “pro-democracy protest.” In reality, the barbaric dictatorship did not respond with force until its police officers were murdered in the streets as “protesters” — widely suspected to be foreign agents or mercenaries — began killing innocent people, burning down courts, and wreaking havoc. Since then, the conflict has become largely sectarian, with Sunni jihadists and admitted al-Qaeda forces waging war on the secular “infidel” tyrant and other religious minorities, especially Christians.    

Weaponry for the rebels has been largely financed and distributed by Western powers and assorted Sunni Arab dictatorships. On March 8, the U.K. Telegraph reported that despite a European Union weapons embargo on Syria, the Obama administration was allegedly leading a “major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels” from Croatia. Israeli intelligence sources documented the arms trafficking long before that, and growing amounts of evidence suggest the U.S. government was using the now-infamous compound in Benghazi to feed weapons and jihadists into the conflict as well.  

Incredibly, as the New York Times and other establishment press outlets reported in October of last year, most of the weapons are ending up in the hands of ruthless Islamic extremists, more than a few of whom have publicly promised to go after Israel and the United States when they finish with Assad. Even the global-government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations, which is deeply linked to the “revolution,” however, has acknowledged that the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) "needs al-Qaeda" to overthrow Assad.   

Analysts and critics of the Obama administration’s policies argue that the president is actually supporting terrorism in Syria, plain and simple. The U.S. government’s own definition of terrorism states that it is "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

Like in Libya, where the same basic “regime change” model was followed (plus the United Nations-approved air support for rebels), Obama has no lawful authority to use force in Syria. Congress never authorized it. The violence his administration is supporting, meanwhile, is clearly aimed at intimidating and coercing a government and civilian population. Finally, there is no question that the end goals in Syria are political and social — even if one believes the bogus platitudes about “human rights” and “democracy.” The conclusions are troubling.

By contrast, if a U.S. citizen is even suspected by Obama or his senior officials of supporting “terror” or terrorist “affiliates,” the administration claims to have the legal authority to either kill or indefinitely detain that person without any due process rights whatsoever. Indeed, the administration has already extra-judicially assassinated multiple Americans, including a 16-year-old boy born in Colorado whose father was suspected — though never charged — with espousing pro-al-Qaeda propaganda.

The irony of it all, of course, is not lost on astute observers. As constitutional attorney Joe Wolverton explained in a piece for The New American last year, President Obama would seem to fit the exact description of somebody who should be indefinitely detained by the military for supporting terrorism and terrorist affiliates.

“In light of the weight of the foregoing evidence, little if any doubt remains that President Obama is knowingly providing ‘substantial support’ to al-Qaeda and associated forces operating in Syria,” Wolverton wrote. “He is thereby violating Section 1021 of the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] and is subject to indefinite detention by the armed forces of the United States.”   

Estimates suggest more than 50,000, possibly up to 100,000, have already been killed in the conflict, and over a million refugees are reported to have fled Syria amid the fighting. As has become the norm in U.S. government intervention abroad, among the most ruthlessly persecuted victims have been Christians — a sizeable minority in Syria that lived in relative peace under the secular dictatorship of Assad, at least until the “revolution.”

While the true motives behind the war remain elusive — many analysts say Syria is just a step on the road to “regime change” in Tehran — the fact that the price of the plot is being paid in the blood of innocents is becoming clearer by the day. Whether anyone will eventually be held accountable, however, remains to be seen. Considering recent history, though, critics of the whole blood-drenched plot are not holding their breath. 

Photo of Free Syrian Army fighters: AP Images

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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