Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. (AP Photo)
The US war in Syria is underway.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the CIA has already begun shipping weapons to “vetted Syrian rebels.” Says the Journal:
The Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month, expanding U.S. support of moderate forces battling President Bashar al-Assad, according to diplomats and U.S. officials briefed on the plans.
Most worrisome is that, with American support, Saudi Arabia is shipping Manpads, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, to the rebels, despite the risk that those deadly arms could fall into the hands of Al Qaeda and its allies:
Talks are under way with other countries, including France, about pre-positioning European-procured weapons in Jordan. Saudi Arabia is expected to provide shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles, known as Manpads, to a small number of handpicked fighters, as few as 20 at first, officials and diplomats said. The U.S. would monitor this effort, too, to try to reduce the risk that the Manpads could fall into the hands of Islamists.
Saudi officials have told their American counterparts that they believe Riyadh can identify a small group of trusted rebel fighters and provide them with as few as 20 Manpads initially, reducing the risk that the weapons will fall into the hands of radical Islamists, a major U.S. and Israeli concern.
Ever naïve, the United States is asking the Syrian rebels to please, please don’t give any weapons to the Al Qaeda types in the coalition arrayed against President Bashar al-Assad’s secular government. Notes The Hill:
The Defense Department is seeking assurances from Syrian opposition leaders that U.S.-provided weapons to rebels in the country will not end up in the hands of Islamic militants.
Now that we know that Secretary of State Kerry is leading the hawkish faction inside the Obama administration, it appears that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are the “doves.” In a news briefing yesterday, Hagel and Dempsey made it clear that while they’ll carry out President Obama’s orders to arm the rebels, they’re not exactly happy about it. In reading the transcript, you have read between the lines, as both Hagel and Dempsey said that they’d support “the decision” by Obama. Said Hagel: