The rebel fighters, long suspected to be backed by the US, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and possibly other US-supported Persian Gulf dictatorships, who have been killing Syrian border guards, blowing up buildings, assassinating government officials and in general de-stabilising a once largely peaceful and prosperous country, are now known to be backed by the CIA and other Federal agencies. This is according to a leaked secret order signed by Obama that has been reported on for Reuters by Mark Hosenball. Once again, US intervention in a country which posed no threat to the us here on the other side of the planet, is responsible for countless deaths, massive destruction and chaos.
Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.
This and other developments signal a shift toward growing, albeit still circumscribed, support for Assad’s armed opponents – a shift that intensified following last month’s failure of the U.N. Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Damascus government.
The White House is for now apparently stopping short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some U.S. allies do just that.
But U.S. and European officials have said that there have been noticeable improvements in the coherence and effectiveness of Syrian rebel groups in the past few weeks. That represents a significant change in assessments of the rebels by Western officials, who previously characterized Assad’s opponents as a disorganized, almost chaotic, rabble.
Precisely when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorization, an action not previously reported, could not be determined.
The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.
In other news, Israel’s hawkish prime minister told US senior officials that threats against Iran are not enough. Israel is attempting to cow the US into attacking Iran over its non-existent nuclear weapons program. John Glaser covers the story for Antiwar.com:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said US threats of military options against Iran are not enough, suggesting the Obama administration ought to prepare for war against Iran’s imaginary nuclear weapons program.
“Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program,” Netanyahu during a visit from US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
“You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act. But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their program,” he told Panetta. ”This must change, and it must change quickly because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out.”
Netanyahu was careful to refer to Iran’s “nuclear program,” rather than its nuclear weapons program – which is non-existent. Unfortunately for his case, it’s much harder to rally the West for war on Iran when they in fact have not even crossed any so-called “red lines.”