US Mulls Paying Rebels Salaries In Wake of Failed Syria Peace Talks

Last week, the Syria peace talks held in
Switzerland finished without progress, prompting United Nations
envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to apologize
to the Syrian people.

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry criticized Russia, one
of Syria’s strongest allies, for sending arms to the Assad

According to
The New York Times
, American and European officials
said that the U.S. is considering paying some rebels salaries “and
providing more transportation and intelligence.” Obama
administration officials have said that Western leaders, including
President Obama, have dropped objections to proposals from Saudi
Arabia and other countries to send advanced weapons to some

The Times goes on to explain why Obama is apparently
more willing to allow some rebel groups to be supplied with heavy

Mr. Obama’s apparent willingness to drop objections to supplying
the rebel groups with heavier weapons may simply be an
acknowledgment that Saudi Arabia and gulf states that are
frustrated with American policy are now prepared to do so anyway,
without Washington’s blessing. American officials say they also now
have a better sense than they did last year about which groups they
can trust to use and secure the weapons.

Mr. Obama has also been influenced by growing fears that Syria
is becoming a training ground for a new generation of terrorists
and may become even more of a haven until a political settlement is
reached. “That’s one big change from a year ago,” a senior American
diplomat said. “And it’s beginning to haunt everyone with memories
of Afghanistan.”

The Times also mentions a meeting between intelligence
agencies from anti-Assad countries.
The Nation
’s Bob Dreyfuss believes that this is a sign
that the Obama administration is giving up on diplomacy:

According to the Times, a secret meeting just concluded
of all of the intelligence agencies involved in the anti-Assad
coalition, including the CIA and the spy chiefs from Britain,
France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
If so, that’s a sign that the administration’s commitment to
diplomacy is fading, and that Obama is prepared to let the covert
operators go to work with a freer leash. Indeed, it appears that
the Obama administration has given the green light to Saudi Arabia
to supply the rebels with heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft

More from on Syria here.

from Hit & Run

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