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New NDAA Provision Would Allow US To Arm Syrian Rebels With Anti-Aircraft Weapons

Published: December 16, 2016
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Source: Antiwar

 
A screenshot showing Syrian rebels using an American made BGM-71 TOW missile.

A screenshot showing Syrian rebels using an American made BGM-71 TOW missile. A new NDAA provision would allow the CIA to arm the rebels with Anti-Aircraft missiles.

It wasn’t widely reported during the debate of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), nor indeed was it mentioned in either the House or Senate versions of the bill, but the NDAA has a provision within it that would allow the US to send shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to rebel factions in Syria.

The provision was slipped into the conference report by Rep. Ted Yoho (R – FL) during the conference to reconcile the House and Senate versions, and would allow such arms shipments so long as Congressional committees approve of the move.

Incredibly, Rep. Yoho had previously successfully put an amendment into the House version which forbade the US from sending any anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels at all. There was no amendment at all in the Senate bill, and Yoho presented the the new version as a “compromise” that would ensure Congress at least had some say on the secret weapons smuggling program.

President-elect Donald Trump is opposed to the ongoing CIA arming of Syrian rebels, and has said he expects to end the program outright when he gets into office. Until he actually does so, however, the NDAA opens the door for such shipments until Trump pro-actively does something to stop such a move.

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