It is being widely reported that President Obama is "close to authorizing" U.S. forces to begin training and equipping so called "moderate" Syrian rebels to bolster their fight against the Assad regime as well as al Qaeda elements in the country.
Despite Administration attempts at framing this as a new policy, readers might be interested to know that on Tues of this week the PBS television program FRONTLINE aired a documentary entitled Syria: Arming the Rebels, which clearly shows such training is already taking place and has been for three years. Within the documentary, rebels describe their clandestine journey from the Syrian battlefield to meet with their American handlers in Turkey. They are then transferred to Qatar, where they say they received training in the use of sophisticated weapons and fighting techniques, including, as one rebel says, “how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.”
Clearly, someone is being deceptive.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
Readers are reminded that in Feb. of this year, AlertsUSA Threat Journal reported on hearings by the Senate Intelligence Committee within which the Director of National Intelligence, along with the Directors of the CIA, FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency, testified that the U.S. is under significant threat from a growing number of Syrian extremists who, after receiving advanced training, go back to their home countries and conduct terrorist acts. (Full Transcript).
At the time, the U.S. intelligence community estimated the number of foreign fighters in Syria to be in excess of 7,000. The U.S. State Department refuses to provide estimates of how many Americans they believe have traveled to the Middle East to join the fight.
If you thought U.S. involvement in Syria ended when President Obama took his now infamous walk around the White House grounds with an advisor last August and decided against launching a full blown military assault on Syrian Army forces, you may want to think again. Far too much hangs in the balance, including control of strategic oil and gas pipelines running through the country, to simply walk away. Now that the smoke screen of removing chemical weapons is clearing the air, the Administration's effort at going public with plans to train and arm Syrian rebels could be signaling a new upswing in U.S. military engagement in the region.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor developments in the region and will immediately notify service subscribers of changes in the overall terrorism threat environment here in U.S. as a result of events in Syria, as events warrant.