“Despite mounting fury from the Syrian rebels, who are seeking assistance for their efforts to overthrow the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the White House has refused all requests for heavy weapons and intelligence support.
“Syrian lobby groups in Washington, who only a few weeks ago were expressing hope that the Obama administration might give a green light to the supply of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, said they had now been forced to “take a reality pill” by the US government.
“The Telegraph understands that the Syrian Support Group (SSG), the political wing of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), recently presented American officials with a document requesting 1,000 RPG-29 anti-tank missiles, 500 SAM-7 rockets, 750 23mm machine guns as well as body armor and secure satellite phones. They also asked for $6m to pay rebel fighters as they battle the regime. All their requests were rejected.
“’Basically the message is very clear; nothing is going to happen until after the election, in fact nothing will happen until after inauguration [Jan 2013]. And that is the same message coming from everyone, including the Turks and the Qataris,’ said a Washington lobbyist for the group.”
Let’s unpack this one: To being with, the US is already arming the rebels, the Telegraph to the contrary notwithstanding. As the Washington Post recently reported:
“We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,” said a senior State Department official, one of several U.S. and foreign government officials who discussed the evolving effort on the condition of anonymity.
“The U.S. contacts with the rebel military and the information-sharing with gulf nations mark a shift in Obama administration policy as hopes dim for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Many officials now consider an expanding military confrontation to be inevitable.”
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