SYRIA – UNITED STATES: Washington preparing to arm Syrian rebels

According to US sources, parties to the decision in the US government agree to military aid to the anti-Assad opposition. General Martin Dempsey gives the Senate the rundown on costs, risks and terms of a possible military intervention. Reports from the Senate’s Intelligence Committee suggest that a consensus has been reached.Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Whilst the US Congress has reached a consensus to arm the rebels, Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba was in Paris to ask for Western humanitarian and military support.  “We are ushering in a new phase for the coalition,” he said. “The opposition has never been so united.”

On Monday, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers said a “consensus” had been reached among the panel’s members to accept Obama’s plan despite “very strong concerns”.

Until now, European and US support for the Syrian opposition was confined to humanitarian aid along the Turkish and Jordanian borders where “Patriot batteries are deployed [. . .] against missile attack” and an “operational headquarters and additional capabilities” include F-16s, General Dempsey said.

Last Thursday, Senators John McCain and Carl Levin asked General Martin Dempsey questions related to Syria about “costs, benefits, and risks associated with training and arming vetted elements of the Syrian opposition” as well as questions about the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

In his reply on Saturday, General Dempsey assessed various options, from intelligence and logistics to the supply of lethal weapons, the creation of a No-Fly Zone and the use of US ground forces. Estimated costs would vary from US$ 500 million a year to as much as a billion dollars per month over the course of a year.

“I know that the decision to use force is not one that any of us takes lightly. It is no less than an act of war,” General Dempsey in his letter to the Senate. “To this end, I have supported a regional approach that would isolate the conflict”.

What is more, “We have learned from the past 10 years; however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state.”

Fears about the effectiveness of an armed intervention in Syria stem mainly from divisions within rebel ranks, which have increasingly come under Islamist influence, and from the regime’s successful counteroffensive.

In recent weeks, clashes between Islamist fighters and Kurdish forces in the Syria’s northeast have added another element of uncertainty to the conflict.

Ti è piaciuto l'articolo? Sostienici con un "Mi Piace" qui sotto nella nostra pagina Facebook