On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and 25 other members of Congress came together to send a bipartisan letter to Obama laying out their opposition to the transfer of man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADs, to the Syrian rebels.
According to Breitbart, the lawmakers warned that giving these weapons to Syrian rebels would represent a “serious threat to civilian airliners in the region — including Israeli airliners — and across the world.”
The letter was written in response to a Wall Street Journal article last month that revealed the CIA is planning to arm moderate Syrian rebels with more advanced weaponry if the truce in the nation continues to deteriorate. The article cited U.S. and other officials as sources divulging that the CIA is planning to do this to counter Russia and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.
The WSJ reported that the plan calls for “vetted rebel units with weapons systems that would help them in directing attacks against Syrian regime aircraft and artillery positions.”
The letter warned that giving Syrian rebels MANPADs “would appear to violate at least three U.S.-backed international agreements,” including
- The U.S.-initiated G8 Action Plan;
- The Wassenaar Arrangement on Arms Control in 2003;
- And a 2005 Organization of American States resolution.
The lawmakers also expressed concern that the rebels would give these weapons to al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups. They wrote that these worries are “validated when the Pentagon confirmed that last September, Syrian rebels vetted and trained by the United States handed over their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.”
The letter continued:
The rebels surrendered six pick-up trucks and ammunition—amounting to about one-quarter of their issued equipment—to an agent of the Nusra Front. And just last month, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria attacked a Western-backed rebel faction, taking over bases and seizing U.S.-supplied weapons including antitank missiles. These are just a few examples of the repeated instances of terrorist organizations operating inside Syria acquiring U.S.-supplied weapons from rebels that have been vetted by the Pentagon or CIA.
This will come as bad news to Obama, who was hoping to quietly arm these rebels with as few people noticing as possible. What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.