[Russian jets buzzing a US Navy ship–sounds vaguely familiar. Oh yes–that’s because it happened once before, in 2014. To the same ship no less: the USS Donald Cook. The new overflight of the ship comes as news has emerged that the US plans to supply so-called MANPAD anti-aircraft missiles to factions in Syria should the truce break down.]
US To Syrian Rebels: Quit the Ceasefire and We’ll Get You Anti-Aircraft Weapons
By Adam Hill
Give it up for Obama. He sure knows how to incentivise imperial clients to do the right thing. US ostensibly supports the ceasefire in Syria that was agreed at Geneva talks where it was present.
But on the other hand is also saying to rebels who are a part of it – don’t worry we’ve got your back, as soon as the ceasifire is over you’re getting brand new anti-aircraft weapons and artillery of your own.
That’s a great incentive to make sure the rebels take the ceasefire seriously and don’t try to undermine it, right? Right.
The Wall Street Journal with the goodies:
The Central Intelligence Agency and its regional partners have drawn up plans to supply more-powerful weapons to moderate rebels in Syria fighting the Russia-backed regime in the event the country’s six-week-old truce collapses, according to U.S. and other officials.
That would be the “regional partners” who have zero scruples about supplying Al Qaeda in Syria. But then again even US considers the jihadist, salafist and ultra-sectarian Ahrar ash-Sham to be a moderate group.
The preparations for a so-called Plan B center on providing vetted rebel units with weapons systems that would help them in directing attacks against Syrian regime aircraft and artillery positions, the officials said.
I guess those weapons would be only good for attacking Syrian aircraft but not also Russian. Right.
The Wall Street Journal first reported in February that President Barack Obama’s top military and intelligence advisers were pressing the White House to come up with a Plan B to counter Russia in Syria. Since then, fresh details have emerged on the nature of the new weaponry that could be deployed under the covert program.
That’s funny. “Plan B” sounds a lot like Plan A: keep on arming Syrian “moderate rebels” and watch as Al Qaeda magically just keeps getting better armed.
The preparations were discussed at a secret meeting of spy chiefs in the Middle East just before the cease-fire took effect on Feb. 27 and in follow-on exchanges between intelligence services.
In those meetings, officials briefed on the deliberations said, coalition members received provisional assurances from the CIA that they would be given approval to expand support to Syria’s moderate opposition. Coalition members have agreed on the outlines of Plan B, but the White House must still approve the list of specific Plan B weapons systems before they can be introduced to the battlefield.
Typical Obama. Waterboy for the Saudis in Yemen, and the Saudis and the Turks in Syria. Watch out for the next interview where he explains just how little he thinks of them as he gives them everything they want.
The private message conveyed by U.S. officials to their Russian counterparts, who have backed the Assad regime with air power since last year, has been that the moderate opposition isn’t going awayand that a return to full-scale fighting could end up putting more Russian pilots in danger, according to U.S. officials.
That’s fresh because there is no viable moderate opposition. That’s why they fight on the side of Al Qaeda.
So the message is we’ll give weapons to Al Qaeda friends to kill your pilots?
To coalition partners including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the CIA has twinned assurances that the U.S. will allow the anti-Assad coalition to supply more weapons with warnings that they would be mistaken to go behind Washington’s back to provide weapons systems that Mr. Obama has decided so far not to introduce to the battlefield.
The agency’s principal concern focuses on man-portable air-defense systems, known as Manpads. The CIA believes that rebels have obtained a small number of Manpads through illicit channels. Fearing these systems could fall into terrorists’ hands for use against civilian aircraft, the spy agency’s goal now is to prevent more of them from slipping uncontrollably into the war zone, according to U.S. and intelligence officials in the region.
That’s fresh because with al-Nusra shooting down two Syrian jets in a month, it is clear thatsomeone has introduced MANPADs to Syria already. The only thing that isn’t clear is if they went “behind Washington’s back” to do it. And if there will be consequences if they have. Oh wait, of course there won’t be. There never are.
To get U.S. allies to back off their demands, U.S. officials have proposed alternative systems that Washington believes would pose less of a proliferation danger. That is how the U.S. has responded to calls by Turkey and Saudi Arabia for the introduction of a limited number of Manpads in Syria during the Plan B discussions.
Officials say the CIA and its regional partners are looking at different types of antiaircraft weapons, including Soviet-era systems that would be less mobile. But alternative systems, such as anti-aircraft batteries which come mounted on vehicles, may be easier targets for Syrian and Russian aircraft, according to officials involved in the deliberations.
Which sounds a lot like US officials are getting ready to “concede” and flood the place with missiles.
Watch out for Obama to do a Reagan and send jihadis in Syria Stinger equivalents. Of course, that won’t blow up in anyone’s face. Ever.