While the United States continues to deny providing support to terrorists in Syria in terms of money, training, or weapons without the “rebels” first being “moderate,” the truth is that it has been proven time and time again that the US did indeed arm jihadists in Syria from the very beginning and even before the alleged “protests” began in 2011.
Even taking the admitted 2013 arming of terrorists out of the equation – the infamous initiative that took place after the Obama administration cooked up an accusation that the Syrian government used “chemical weapons” on civilians in Ghouta that year – the evidence is clear that the United States had been arming fighters before that time. This is clearly seen when anyone follows the trail of weapons that found their way into Syria early on.
For instance, one need only take a look at the article by C.J. Chivers, Eric Schmitt, and Mark Mazetti published in The New York Times in 2013 and entitled, “In Turnabout, Syria Rebels Get Libyan Weapons.” In this article, Chivers, Schmitt, and Mazetti attempt to portray a network of Syrian and Libyan militias cooperating with one another to loot Ghaddafi’s military stores in order to support one another in an ideological war against secular governments (but also somehow in the service of democracy). Qatar is fingered as one of the fall guys in the story as well.
However, what is also exposed, albeit unintentionally, is the fact that the United States itself was initiating and facilitating these transfers.
First, the writers paint the picture of an international network, admittedly financed by Qatar and facilitated by Turkey, between Libyan and Syrian militias that saw Libyan fighters shipping what weapons they “didn’t need” to their Syrian counterparts. The article reads,
Evidence gathered in Syria, along with flight-control data and interviews with militia members, smugglers, rebels, analysts and officials in several countries, offers a profile of a complex and active multinational effort, financed largely by Qatar, to transport arms from Libya to Syria’s opposition fighters. Libya’s own former fighters, who sympathize with Syria’s rebels, have been eager collaborators.
“It is just the enthusiasm of the Libyan people helping the Syrians,” said Fawzi Bukatef, the former leader of an alliance of Libyan brigades who was recently named ambassador to Uganda, in an interview in Tripoli.
As the United States and its Western allies move toward providing lethal aid to Syrian rebels, these secretive transfers give insight into an unregistered arms pipeline that is difficult to monitor or control. And while the system appears to succeed in moving arms across multiple borders and to select rebel groups, once inside Syria the flow branches out. Extremist fighters, some of them aligned with Al Qaeda, have the money to buy the newly arrived stock, and many rebels are willing to sell.
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Those weapons, which slipped from state custody as Colonel Qaddafi’s people rose against him in 2011, are sent on ships or Qatar Emiri Air Force flights to a network of intelligence agencies and Syrian opposition leaders in Turkey. From there, Syrians distribute the arms according to their own formulas and preferences to particular fighting groups, which in turn issue them to their fighters on the ground, rebels and activists said.
Keep in mind that the “rebels” and “activists” being quoted are terrorists fighting against the Syrian government or having just defeated Ghaddafi’s. Even so, the fact that the militia weapon-sharing network was largely a concept of a Gulf State feudal monarchy is admitted.
The article continues,
Qatari C-17 cargo aircraft have made at least three stops in Libya this year — including flights from Mitiga airport in Tripoli on Jan. 15 and Feb. 1, and another that departed Benghazi on April 16, according to flight data provided by an aviation official in the region. The planes returned to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The cargo was then flown to Ankara, Turkey, along with other weapons and equipment that the Qataris had been gathering for the rebels, officials and rebels said.
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The movements from Libya complement the airlift that has variously used Saudi, Jordanian and Qatari military cargo planes to funnel military equipment and weapons, including from Croatia,to the outgunned rebels. On Friday, Syrian opposition officials said the rebels had received a new shipment of anti-tank weapons and other arms, although they give varying accounts of the sources of the recently received arms. The Central Intelligence Agency has already played at least a supporting role, the officials say.
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One former senior Obama administration familiar with the transfers said the Qatari government built relationships with Libyan militias in 2011, when, according to the report of a United Nations Panel of Experts, it shipped in weapons to rebel forces there in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.