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Friday, December 9

Obama decides to re-arm Syrian terrorists. Does this include MANPADS? (UPDATED 7:55am EST)

UPDATE

Lavrov: US easing restrictions on arms to Syria won’t seriously affect situation in East Aleppo
December 9, 2016
RT
The US’ decision to ease restrictions on military aid for foreign forces and other fighters supporting the US in Syria is unlikely to affect the situation in eastern Aleppo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at an OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg.
“I don’t think this will significantly change the situation in eastern Aleppo, because the rebels are encircled and they are unlikely to receive reinforcing,” Lavrov said.
[...]
Later in the discussion Lavrov lobs this zinger:

Lavrov added that from the point of view of the developments in Syria, “resupplying the Syrian opposition [with weapons] is a big risk, as in the majority of cases the weapons that the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition receive end up in the hands of the terrorists – ISIS or Al-Nusra Front.”
The decision will affect the discussions between the US and Russia on Syria, the Russian foreign minister stressed.
“This will affect our talks, as this is yet another peculiarity of US foreign policy concerning Aleppo,” Lavrov said.
[...]
END UPDATE

"Under the waiver, it’s supposed to be a 15-day notification to Congress, but Congress, as of tonight, Washington time, is going to be out of session until January. So these arms can go within hours.”

As to the fig leaf that Obama is arming groups that will fight Islamic State -- he knows that within days of those weapons arriving they will be given or sold to outright terrorist groups, including IS, or captured by them. 

As to the question about whether the U.S. weapons transforms will include MANPADS -- yes.    

Obama grants waiver for military support of foreign fighters in Syria – White House
December 9, 2016
By News Desk
AMN

President Barack Obama has ordered a waiver of restrictions on military aid for foreign forces and others in Syria, deeming it “essential to the national security interests” of the US to allow exceptions from provisions in the four-decades-old Arms Export Control Act.

Kerry says rebels rejected Syria ceasefire in 2015

A White House press release Thursday announced that foreign fighters in Syria supporting US special operations “to combat terrorism in Syria” would be excused from restrictions on military assistance.

“I hereby determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing U.S. military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States,” President Obama affirmed in the presidential determination and waiver.

The order delegates responsibility to the US secretary of state to work with and report to Congress on weapons export proposals, requiring 15 days of notice before they are authorized.

Obama announced a similar waiver of the Arms Export Control Act in September 2013, following the Ghouta chemical attack in August of that year. That order facilitated the transfer of US military weaponry to "select vetted members" of opposition forces battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Thursday's order appears less narrow in scope.

Last year, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016, which allocated nearly $500 million to arm and train "moderate rebels" in Syria, despite a failed Pentagon program abandoned earlier in 2015.

The challenge of differentiating between terrorist forces, such as Al-Nusra, and more moderate forces in Syria has been acknowledged by press secretaries in recent State Department briefings.

The “counterterrorism” pretext is just a “convenient misappropriation of language,”aimed at arming various militants to battle the Syrian Army and its allies, believes geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen.

“Putting this under the banner of fighting terrorism … follows on [from] a sort of fantasy concept that’s been pushed out as a talking point for the last year and a half, that if we train and equip the ‘moderate opposition’ they will fight [Islamic State]," Henningsen told RT.

“They want to open the floodgates basically for trafficking weapons to religious extremists and militants and terrorist groups, internationally recognized terrorist groups … it’s all being done still under this kind of false pretense of the fight against ISIS, that somehow ‘moderate’ rebels, if they even exist, will turn their weapons and fight against ISIS. 

"And we know from the facts on the ground, from the beginning, that simply has not been the case. This is to arm the opposition to fight the Syrian government and to fight Russian forces. This is a desperate move on the part of the lame duck president.”

President Obama’s decision could lead to an almost immediate escalation of the conflict and basically put the US in a situation of “waging a proxy war against the Russians and Syrians,” a former Pentagon official, Michael Maloof, told RT. [Pundita comment:  This is a new development??]

“The rebels, whom we cannot identify, are going to be getting some very sophisticated weapons. Potentially, I should say, man-portable air defense systems, which can knock down Russian and Syrian aircraft,” Maloof said. 

“And the fact too, that we have stocks already in Europe, that can easily be transferred with this waiver. Under the waiver, it’s supposed to be a 15-day notification to Congress, but Congress, as of tonight, Washington time, is going to be out of session until January. So these arms can go within hours.”[END REPORT]

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Comments:
It's a good thing those MANPADs will only be used against Russian and Syrian aircraft.
 
Oh no no no! They're for use against the air forces of Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
 
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