I see no evidence that the CIA directly gave weapons to Al-Nusra or other Al-Qaeda affiliates. And zero evidence of any direct funding or support of ISIS as conspiracy theorists and Putin propagandists love to assert.
It's possible that these weapons fell into the hands of Al-Qaeda, but more evidence needs to be presented and it's doubtful that arming Al-Qaeda was ever the original intent.
As for arming the SDF/YPG, that has been well known and public for awhile. Morever, the Kurdish forces are pretty much the only ones actually making significant progress against ISIS and will likely be the ones to free Raqqa. Arming and supporting them is completely justifiable, just as supporting the Iraqi army in their fight against ISIS was and remains justified.
They aren't; there are even areas controlled by the Syrian government. Here's a map of Idlib that someone tried to make recently; HTS is the group that includes al Qaeda/al Nusra (though it should be noted that al Nusra is officially no longer part of al Qaeda). I don't think any Idlib groups are currently being aided by the U.S. either (unless I missed something); the CIA program was ended, and the DoD program seems to mostly support SDF (and I believe a small amount of support to other groups like the al Tanf rebels).
There are plenty of reasons to criticize the CIA effort to arm various rebel factions, but it's a shame that misinformation stating that the CIA armed al Qaeda is being spread around and accepted uncritically.
You stick a very key word there, directly. In fact the US is who funded and armed Osama bin Laden and his followers jihad against the secular government of Afghanistan in the late 1970s and 1980s - but the CIA did it via the Pakistan ISI. The Maktab al-Khidamat actually had connections to organizations all over the USA.
The US press says Cambodia was taken over in 1975 by communists led by Pol Pot, and in a de facto sense that is somewhat true but in a strict de jure sense it is not. Sihanouk, the Cambodian king who had been ousted by a CIA-backed coup by Lon Nol was who officially ran the government. He was in a political, governmental and military coalition with the communists. The US government and press saw his role as a figurehead and it's not that inaccurate. OK, the Cambodian communists are ousted in the 1979 and suddenly the US is looking to oppose Vietnamese communist influence in Cambodia. So who do they fight to keep the UN seat of? Who does US intelligence fund and arm? The political/military coalition of Sihanouk and the Cambodian communists. Which in the 1970s was called the Khmer Rouge. But suddenly things aren't happening directly, and the fig leaf of Sihanouk and other minor figures and groups becomes much bigger. This was reported in the New York Times at the time,
and Nightline went even further, taking a camera crew to Cambodia and showing exactly what was going on - that the US was arming the "Khmer Rouge" rebels whom it had been accusing of genocide a few years earlier.
If a direct link is what is needed then you're not going to find much, as they're not that dumb and incompetent.
If you’re spending billions on weapons I doubt you didn’t make sure they go to the right person.
meaning more than 50% of weapons?
That's not true. The U.S. has never armed al Qaeda in Syria (al Nusra). The U.S. has bombed them, and cut off arms to other groups when it looked like there was a possibility of them getting into al Qaeda's/al Nusra's hands.
That's not true. The USAF might have bombed them, the CIA certainly supported them. The war between the CIA and DoD is described here .
> The group received funding, including salaries for its fighters, from the CIA, before being cut off in December 2014 following battlefield reversals at the hands of the al-Nusra Front.
> In mid-2015 the group renewed cooperation with the al-Nusra Front as part of the Army of Conquest during the northwestern Syria offensive (April–June 2015).
The CIA having supported groups that have at times worked with al Qaeda in Syria (and at times fought against them) is quite different from the CIA arming al Qaeda.
The only mention of al Qaeda/al Nusra in your second link is this:
> President Obama this month authorized a new Pentagon plan to train and arm Syrian rebel fighters, relaunching a program that was suspended in the fall after a string of embarrassing setbacks which included recruits being ambushed and handing over much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to an Al Qaeda affiliate.
> Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.
> The United States is not sending arms directly to the Syrian opposition. Instead, it is providing intelligence and other support for shipments of secondhand light weapons like rifles and grenades into Syria, mainly orchestrated from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The reports indicate that the shipments organized from Qatar, in particular, are largely going to hard-line Islamists.
The only mention of al Qaeda in the New York Times article is this:
> The disorganization is strengthening the hand of Islamic extremist groups in Syria, some with ties or affiliations with Al Qaeda, he said: “The longer this goes on, the more likely those groups will gain strength.”
Did you mean "airdropped weapons and munitions"? Probably they put "bombed" in the official expense reports as a shorter synonym. CIA has been supporting Al Qaeda and other Sunni Saudi proxies for the last 3 decades at least, and i don't see what can realistically happen that would make CIA stop now. If anything, given current Shia position - formed Shia belt from Lebanon to Iran (thus in particular killing any chances for Saudi pipelines to Europe) plus Yemen (where US openly turns blind eye to religion based genocide by Saudis) and Russia playing on Shia side (Russia no specific religious prefs here, they support Shia only because US chose Sunni) - the support would probably be increasing.
I constantly get criticized for this. "No, of course America isn't funding ISIS. We're fighting them." I then talk about The Bay of Pigs, the 1973 Coupe in Chile, Iranian Contras, The School of the Americas ... a criminal rap sheet that shows a pattern of sociopathhy by the US government -- and Syria fits that pattern: arm ISIS, bomb Assad and then bomb ISIS too .. we're creating and fighting all the wars.
I'm not surprised, but the majority of Americas would be .. if this appeared on CNN, NPR or a major media outlet. Otherwise it's "fake news."
When sales for 1984 went up after the Trump election, I was greatly disheartened. It meant the current administration had commandeered the minds of people to think that now was the age of Orwell, when in reality, we've been in 1984 long before I was born and long before my parents were born.
But yeah, the short and long of it is that Donald Rumsfeld specifically disbanded the Iraqi command structure after the invasion, against President Bush's orders, because he believed (correctly) that it would result in large groups of them forming armed militias and start a middle eastern uprising. His belief, thanks to the teachings of his mentor Leo Strauss, was that without a mortal philosophical enemy the United States could stay at perpetual war with, the US, buoyed by continued economic prosperity, would continue drifting towards liberal ideals like economic, social and racial equality, and away from things like duty, honor, and fear of god; which in his mind, made America great.
In short, they believed the fear of communism is what kept Americans in line, and that the progress of the 60s, once that fear started collapsing, was something that needed to be avoided at all costs from occurring again. So they needed a new enemy, even if we had to make it ourselves.
Rumsfeld even, at one point, came out and explicitly said that that was his goal at the time, so its not even a conspiracy. Its publicly stated fact, that gets little to no news coverage.
Its like when Dick Cheney came out in an interview over the biopic he published, and admitted on air that the reason he was for torturing people [paraphrased]: "had nothing to do with intelligence. If we tortured suspected terrorists, no one would ever be able to call the Republican party weak on terrorism". He literally admitted to a war crime, and nothing happened.
Do you have a reference for that - because that is one hell of a strong accusation?
NB Not saying that it would surprise me, but I've never heard that particular accusation before. Though it does sound worryingly like the claims that US money indirectly funded the Taliban via Pakistan - allegedly without the US knowing but that is a remarkable thing not to know....
I thought the idea was that you call them terrorists specifically so that they’re not official enemy combatants and the Geneva convention doesn’t apply?
I don't think a state actor can be accurately described as sociopathic. The expectations and interactions among nations are fundamentally different from those among people.
Using psychological terms in a strictly behavioural fashion for groups/countries seems to me to not just be an analogy but capturing the essence of what is observable. Many of the concepts are similar e.g. identity, cooperation, aggression, lying, betrayal, self-preservation, fear etc.
You can defend this further and claim that even when examining an individual, you will see conflicting identities and traits that resembles the conflict in a group rather than a constant, simple, single identity. The underlying truth appears to not be not that a group does not have psychological behaviours its that a single simple human identity doesn't really exist and is always an emergent property of some collection of heterogeneous smaller parts identities/modes/processes etc.
That's simple: they're weak and can't get away with it. The baseline conduct of nation states is basically that of fairly rational psychopaths, capable of evaluating what they can get away with. Deviations from that norm are mostly reminiscent of irrational psychopaths. Anyone who expects "moral", "just" or "trustworthy" behavior from a nation state is just out of their mind.
Some would say “submitted to” rather than “withstood”; heck, accommodating a powerful neighbor out of fear and inability to effectively resist is called “Finlandization” for a reason.
Kekkonen and the collapse of democracy:
Only after they came to a stalemate and peaceful agreement with the USSR did they split from the Axis and align with the Allies.
Interstate relations are what anarchy looks like.
Certainly Iran and Russia getting a poke in the eye probably wasn't a bad thing from the CIA's perspective but they were probably not the only (or even main?) players. More like the gun store and some advisory support. For the other suspects we need only look for the folks who benefited from a buffer between Russia and Iran and their own states and a proxy army keeping Iranian/Syrian/Russian forces tied down. The whole thing is pretty inexcusable though and the people responsible are a level of criminal IMOP. It also appears the scheme isn't going to work out long term and Iran and Russia will continue to have influence in the region. Which given the behavior of our "friends" in the area I can't say I feel terrible about. But I'm probably not looking at it through a geopolitical chess perspective but more a perspective of ruined lives and societies and the spread of extremist ideology.
EDIT: "CNN says that we are at war with Eastasia. therefore we are at war with Eastasia."
Can you expand on this? Thanks.
It's been this way a long time and didn't start with 1984. There's a saying the '1984 is not an instruction manual', but with it's great proliferation amogst all the great works, one has to wonder that it's spread through society can be thought of as an instruction book on how to lead a society into fear and oppression by claiming it is literature.
In Iraq: In the contest with Saddam Hussein, at least beginning in the 1990s, the U.S. built a strong relationship with the Kurds there. The Kurds used U.S. support to create de facto autonomy from the Iraqi government (something they are voting on in a couple of weeks - potentially a major event in Kurdish history). They became a skilled combat force and strong allies of the U.S., fighting alongside the Americans through the Iraq War and now in the fight against ISIL.
In Syria: My impression is that the relationship between the U.S. and the Iraqi Kurds extends now, with the Syrian civil war, to the Kurds in Syria. Like those in Iraq, the Syrian Kurds also have used their government's weakness to establish some autonomy.
In Turkey: There is no government weakness and no autonomy, but an ongoing contest with crackdowns, terrorist attacks, and more. The Turkish government calls the PKK 'terrorists', but the government's hands are hardly clean. The Turkish government does not want autonomous Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq, both of which would border the Kurdish region in Turkey and would encourage and support Turkish Kurds.
Are the PKK terrorists? Freedom fighters? Some of each? I can't tell you. But certainly they have some argument for seeking self-determination in the face of oppression, and unlike groups such as ISIL their goal is self-determination for their own people, not to bring down governments and to take land and liberty from others.
Evidence, yes. Even Turkish government give serial numbers of captured weapons.
Might be the bikeshed effect in action.
It's not uncommon to arm enemies after fighting a war. Look at Japan and Germany.
They will use the rebels to destabilize Assad's government and then try to install a US favorable one. One could say they are just using al qaeda, they are a stepping stone. I doubt either Isis or al qaeda would be the favorable government, leading to another jihad with the US.
For somebody in the middle such as myself, if you want to make a persuasive argument you'd be most convincing by demonstrating emotional stability, rationality, and evidence (links to wikipedia will suffice).
I mean it does seem weird that you have liberals cheerleading for funding a genocide, and completely losing their shit at Republicans for trying to stop it.
People across the political spectrum are sick and tired of our absurdly expensive and destabilizing foreign wars and international policing.
Republican politicians are escalating the war. We've actually increased the number of lives and dollars being sent to this war since Trump came into office. None of the Republican governing factions are seriously opposed to the Middle Eastern war.
Democrat politicians aren't really trying to stop it either. Obama de-escalated relative to Bush, but there was never a serious push to withdraw. Some of the progressive governing factions are in favor of moving foreign war spending to domestic investments, but I don't really hear the drums beating for ending the war purely for the sake of it.
There's a disgusting discrepancy between voter priorities and politicians.
"""After training as a parachutist, he fought with a special force organized by the O.S.S., the British and the Free French to coordinate elements of the French Resistance with advancing Allied troops after the Normandy invasion. He also instructed members of the French Maquis in the use of explosives.
The O.S.S. later sent him into northern Italy for an equally dangerous mission with the Italian underground, and it was there that he rekindled his passion for the classics. Holed up in an abandoned villa, he discovered a bound copy of Virgil and opened it to a section of the first Georgic that begins, “Here right and wrong are reversed; so many wars in the world, so many faces of evil.”
Professor Knox recalled, in “Essays Ancient and Modern,” “These lines, written some 30 years before the birth of Christ, expressed, more directly and passionately than any modern statement I knew of, the reality of the world I was living in: the shell-pocked, mine-infested fields, the shattered cities and the starving population of that Italy Virgil so loved, the misery of the whole world at war.”""
TRANSLATION: we've been here before, at least twice
Well the fact that antifa and all that stuff happened within a couple months of everyone donating to the ACLU is amusing on its own.
I mean, I disagree about what our (I'm French) are doing in some places, but its hardly been a secret.
The CIA and it's equivalent are not working to get those countries to a stable state, they are working to get them to a non threatening state. Big difference.
Maybe you mean they didn't realize non-state treat is bigger than threatening state? I don't really understand.
New York Times, Aug 2, 2017
I'm down 20% since Trump was elected. Not saying we are wrong, necessarily.
But its good to check these theories against reality whenever possible.
Perhaps, the to-capacity usage of black/smuggling routes by various powers (US, NK, Saudi) - would increase business to legal transportation routes? Because the price of being illegal might be driven too high. Thus shipping might actually be doing well... I dunno.
(Note that it should really be: military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex, since that is a more accurate description of the conglomerates currently destroying the planet..)
Though the Kurds are almost everything the US could want in a mideast ally - moderate, self-sustaining and stable, demonstrably capable - we will probably never embrace them fully due to our relationship with Turkey.
Turkey lists the PKK as a terrorist organization, as Ankara and PKK have been fighting a separatist conflict for decades. Though the PKK has never targeted Americans, the US still lists the PKK as a terror org to placate Ankara.
The US has invested in Turkey as a strategic regional ally since the Cold War. Geographically Turkey was a key bulwark against Soviet power, and indeed we housed nuclear missiles within Turkish territory for many years. Even after the USSR collapsed, Turkey's regional value to the United States has grown. Incirlik is one of the largest air bases in the world, and remains a key logistical point for our military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Turkey was also important to the US ideologically because they were a stable, moderate, secular Muslim state, e.g. the kind of country we wanted to serve as a template for the rest of the Middle East. Thanks to Erdogan, this value has decreased sharply thanks to his moves to consolidate autocratic power at the expense of the still largely secular and moderate Turkish populace.
(Tried to keep the value judgements out of that, sorry if I offended someone by summarizing too generally).
A terrorist is a terrorist only when Americans are targeted?
But if you don't kill Americans... well, then the US can label you separatists or independents or some other creative euphemism. If you're useful to them.
Cynical take, and I certainly don't agree with it myself, but nonetheless that's how it works.
So again, can you substantiate your claim that modern PKK is a terrorist organization?
If that doesn't make them a terrorist organization... well, I don't know what to tell you.
If that doesn't make them a terrorist organization... well, I don't know what to tell you.
It's a war.
Turkey is definitely not blameless in this conflict, but I want to see some reliable sources for the outrageous claims you just made.
On the executions: References 56, 57, 58, 59: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdish%E2%80%93Turkish_confli...
There's way more, these are just the top google search results on each of these claims.
Rebel groups have pretty fluid membership. I see some joining one group and going to ISIS. That's how ISIS ended up with a lot of US weapons in their hands.
Now they are in debt to the WMF, are a totally non-stable state ravaged with crime and their slowly progressively moving government has reverted decades in terms of democracy and human rights. It's a mini-Iraq with less than 1/8 of the news coverage.
Oh definitely, Assad is liberal and secular, to the point where he operates countless secret torture prisons and has forcibly disappeared tens of thousands of his citizens. Use the term "lesser of evils" if you must. But relatively liberal? Absolutely not.
Even when compared to similar Middle Eastern autocrats, Assad is simply on a whole other level in my opinion. One might argue it's because of the war, but I really don't see why war crimes and torture prisons are required to "win" the civil war.
On the contrary, his people will never forget. Good luck building a stable and successful country with so much blood on your hands.
There are a few other good sources. I'll try to find them.
We're talking about the al-Assad ruling family? The same family whose literal policy is to raze towns that shelter any opposition, and are currently literally gassing their own citizens?
The US have never managed to secure any positive relationship with any secular/moderate Arab movement due to an mixture of commiphobia and incompetent arrogance within the western diplomatic establishment. Where as there is an relatively close relationship between most of the sponsors of radical Islamic terror and the US establishment through the gulf royals and their investment into the failing businesses of western dynasties and retired generals/admirals.
So the result of tolerating/establishing a moderate semi-secular government in an Arab state, tend to benefit Iran/Russia as we saw with post Saddam Iraq where the new government was forced to buy Russian planes and ask for Iranian support as the US kept stalling their attempts to buy American(mostly due to infighting between us suppliers) until half of Iraq had fallen to ISIS.
>Since the outbreak of war in Syria, weapons from Central and Eastern Europe have flooded the conflict zone through two distinct pipelines – one sponsored by Saudi Arabia and coordinated by the CIA, and the other funded and directed by the Pentagon.
>A series of investigations by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) have brought to light these multi-billion-dollar weapons deliveries -- exposing the misleading and potentially illegal documents on which they rely, the shady dealers at its heart of the trade, and the governments that have profited from the war.
In the course of the Arab Spring, the legitimacy of many ME leaders/dictators was questioned, among the most notable of these was the rule of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. A popular local outpouring of resentment against his regime was coopted and inflamed by hardline Sunni extremists, many of these being veterans of the Iraq War or younger generations of recuits. This escalated into a full civil war, which quickly turned into a proxy battle for control over Syria, which heretofore had been a Russian proxy state, with a large air base.
While the United States has been arming anti-Assad (who also are notably anti-American) forces, Russia has been targeting civilian population centers (with both conventional and chemical weapons) to first create then inflame the Syrian refugee crisis, driving political instability first throughout Turkey then the EU - both sides seeking to ratchet up the pressure on terms favorable to them.
The tl;dr is a civil war turned proxy war is creating some of the most acute human suffering present in our world today.
The refugee crisis unfolded years before Russia even entered the conflict. Accusing them of creating it now is silly. Nor did Russia have a large air base in Syria until last year. Nor did the Russians supply or use chemical weapons. In fact, they earnestly tried to do the opposite - take Assad's chem weapons away (though they obviously failed).
The thing about Russia targeting civilians is curious to me. Is Russia killing civilians in Syria? Sure. Are Russians doing it on purpose, as part of their strategy? That I am not so sure about. I suspect it has more to do with urban nature of the conflict, low-precision bombs, bad intel, and yes - I have to admit - the traditionally lower value Russians place on human life (including their own). But as a part of some grand genocidal strategy that Western press attributes to the Russians? Probably not.
Case in point, when US aviators were bombing Mosul, they were also killing hundreds of civilians in the process (see links below). Despite the fact, no one has accused the US of specifically targeting civilians. All civilian deaths were chalked up to mistakes, rather than evil intent.
But in Russia's case, it's a strategy. Beats me why.
Correct, I misspoke earlier - the Russians did not create the refugee situation - but they have certainly inflamed and weaponised it. In addition to targeting civilian population centers with indiscriminate munitions, they have also shut down legal asylum from Syria into Russia, claiming that Syria is safe for its residents. Again, it does this so the refugees are forced to flow eastward into turkey then Greece, despite Syria being a proxy state and Russia owing some form of assistance. They've compounded these issues by spreading disinformation in Europe, planting stories of fake rapes and murders by Syrian refugees in European media, again to sow distrust and create political instability. And I'm thoroughly unconvinced about the efforts of Russians to find and confiscate chemical weapons - they only agreed to the deal in the first place to mitigate the chance of Americans opening direct military operations after the red line violation, and as you've alluded to, there have been plenty of chemical weapon attacks since then.
And to fend of further misrepresentations of my words, I never said Russia's goal is to kill civilians - again their goal is to destroy their homes and communities, so that they are forced to become refugees. By closing its own borders it's making sure other countries have to bare the burden of its operations - this is what the NATO commander meant when he said Putin is trying to use Syrian refugees to break NATO.
I seem to remember the Assad regime continuously arresting, torturing, and even outright shooting peaceful protestors for a number of months, which directly lead to the armed rebellion. Obviously, Sunni extremists would later hijack the opposition, but I feel that far too many gloss over Assad's role in starting the entire conflict.
"This year, UNICEF "said it has verified at least 38 attacks on schools around Syria, whether in government-held areas or rebel-controlled territory. Before Wednesday's attack, 32 children were killed in 2016 in attacks on schools," as the group's regional chief of communication, Juliette Touma, told The Associated Press.
"A total of 60 attacks were recorded on schools in 2015," she told the AP, adding that 1 in 3 schools in the country have been rendered unusable by the conflict."
"At least 96 children have been killed and 223 injured in eastern Aleppo in the past week, UNICEF said Thursday, with some left to die on the floor of hospitals due to lack of medical supplies. Syrian and Russian forces have been bombarding rebel-held areas of the city for five straight days in what has been described as the most intense bombing campaign to hit the city since the war in Syria started six years ago."
The sentiment of this question explains why even further. ISIS does very bad stuff and is a major problem, and we can all wonder why the west doesn't do more to stop them because they clearly have the ability to do so. But then the moment the US gets really involved, everyone is going to shift blame to them for everything. I don't condone secretive actions like this myself, but considering the US's global influence and capability, if they weren't doing something about ISIS the question could easily be restated "What does the US government gain by allowing extremists to rape and pillage the middle east?"
Yeah, a lot of "moderate rebels" (that are slightly less theocratic than ISIS)
Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US and Iran an enemy, so therefore the US supports the rebel groups that fight Assad's regime. What's more, US's close ally Israel is right at the border of Syria and Israel is a long time enemy of Iran as well.
...not that the middle east needs the help dividing itself, but a pan-arab superstate would probably be bad news bears for the Med region
So the US government declared him a savage animal and wanted to overthrow him. The problem? Russia was Assad's ally. And they refused to allow that to happen. They have deep ties with Assad. As well as naval bases in Syria. So that resulted in a proxy war. The US aiding, arming, and training savage barbaric monsters aka Isis, aka Islamic barbarians to fight for them to take over Syria. And the Russians, who actually are on the right side, who are supporting Assad and fighting these monsters.
This is all about energy folks. Natural gas and Russia's strangle hold on europes nat gas supply.
When you understand this, the level of barbarism the US is engaging in puts the fedgov in a whole new level of depravity in most people's eyes.
That took longer than it should have because of the stupid throttling at HN regarding posts. It's hard to carry any kind of discussion when you are limited to three? Replies per hour?
I loved the example of one of the publicly-available arms contracts being altered after reporters sent questions; even in something as big as arms deals and proxy wars, someone in the bureaucracy will fuck up the paperwork: https://www.occrp.org/assets/makingakilling/pentagon-procure...
Does anyone have insight here?
"Reporters have pieced together the Pentagon’s complex supply line to Syria using procurement records, ship-tracking data, official reports, leaked emails, and interviews with insiders. This program is separate from a now-defunct CIA effort to arm rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad."
To distract from something else or to downplay their ill deeds or to explain what they did in completely different context so that the real intent can be hidden.
The dichotomy of arming and supporting extremists and those who support global extremism like SA on one side while accelerating surveillance programs at home to protect yourself from the same extremists is diabolical, something a truly despotic state can pull off.
They would have to have near complete control or a pliant media, civil institutions, academia and a passive citizenry to pull it off.
Why shouldn't the Pentagon be arming allies in the Syrian civil war? Speaking very generally, I hope they do support those resisting Assad, Iran, and Russia. There is nothing necessarily nefarious in arming allies, and it's better than sending your own people to fight and die.
However, I'm surprised it's going on:
First, the Obama administration was accused of being too cautious in arming anyone, not only in Syria but in Ukraine. (I read that they studied the issue, and concluded that the tactic of arming insurgents rarely worked out well, and often resulted in the arms falling into the wrong hands. I don't know how much that study influenced their decisions, however.) Obama was in office until January, so Trump would only have had a few months to setup and execute this multi-billion dollar program, including procurement, international logistics, and more.
Second, the Trump administration has announced they are abandoning the rebels, except when they are fighting ISIL, and accommodating Assad and the Russians (and as a result, their ally the Iranians).
So under what and whose policy are the Syrian rebels being armed?
They must operate with totally different views of what constitute "good" and "bad" outcomes of the whole conflict. I guess you can justify all of that by just being cynical enough, but I'd like it if the military (at least in democratic countries) had to make their rationale for heating up conflicts transparent to the civilian world.
If there is conflict:
- there will be multiple groups who want to defeat each other
- you can sell weapons to the richest of those groups
- you can sell weapons to third party governments (who use money collected forcefully from the public) to "fix the problems" caused by the conflict
I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned here yet, since it's even in the title of the article. Of course, there are still profits for the US military-industrial complex. For instance the article states that "US-based Alliant Techsystems Operations" has a contract for buying these weapons from countries like Bulgaria. In addition, one can cynically assume that heating up the conflict will increase demand for US involvement and subsequent increase demand for US weapons. Still, I find it interesting, that after initially arming rebels with US weapons, the US switched to soviet-style weapons. According to the article, the rebels "were already using and familiar with" the soviet-style weapons. I would say that makes sense, but would hardly be a deal breaker if your main motivation was selling US weapons. This is not meant to defend US policies, but I think their geopolitical motivations are much more important than mere profit seeking and corruption.
By the way, this seems to be a very well researched article, thanks for the submission @rapeofthelocke.
Perhaps we need to consider that governments as they exist today do not work, especially when power is held in the hands of so few people. The US congress (which has the power to kill people) is only made up of 100 senators, which is supposed to represent the views of ~325 million people. Doesn't that seem a little fishy? In the age of the internet, why can't everyone with a computer or cell phone participate in policy making?
A good example is the often observed fact that "Napoleon was the best thing to have ever happened to the British". Europe was very close to aligning against Britain, and dragging them into a revolutionary war ala the US, but at the last minute a new bad guy appeared, the French, whose energy the other European powers poured themselves into.
Israel-the-people or Israel-the-currently-dominant-political-faction?
Because the answers are different and opposed.
Much the same reason as Hamas is (and why Israel was instrumental in creating Hamas because it's the enemy they want to have): it's an opponent to their existing more established enemies that creates instability and conflict among Arab and Muslim grouos, and because if it succeeds in displacing the existing groups rather than merely weakening and destabilizing them while killing lots of Arabs, it's ideology is much easier to turn international opinion against.
On the other hand if the US were to do nothing, people would decry the injustice of such a powerful nation ignoring - tacitly accepting - the mass murder of civilians.
There are no good answers here.
Edit: Any country, not just the US, that tried to get involved in foreign affairs to the degree that the US has would inevitably have negative outcomes. Involving oneself in messy situations usually leads to messy conclusions.
I thought it was commonly understood at this point that "spreading democracy and human liberty" translated to "strategic significance". Which I'd feel a lot better about if they just came out and said. I might even support the campaigns if a good argument were made. But being deceived leaves a bad taste in the mouth and you start not trusting.
The mistake you're making is using the "we". If you mean a state within State by "we", you are wrong, if you mean the people, the public, you are right. People general have no clue what their state (not government) are doing to others.
(As if that were even remotely possible to be the outcome)
So what is it then? Why are we there? It's not human liberty when the people being armed are worse than the people they are trying to overthrow.
The Soviet Union was a bigger reason, with Russia (with an assist from al-Qaeda/ISIS) stepping in to take their place not long after the USSR fell.
There's been peace among the First World countries because they are united in an alliance with common enemies. The US has been important in forming the alliance, sure, but the enemies were the real key.