Sunday, December 18, 2016

Salman Rafi Sheikh — Obama’s departing gift to the “Syrian rebels”

According to the decision, the waived sections of the law will allow the US to provide “defence articles and services” to forces within Syria allied to the US, the White House said on Thursday December 8, 2016, a decision which the White House said is “essential to national-security interests” of the US.
While such a decision was taken in 2013 too, what makes this announcement different from the past is the (deliberately inserted) vagueness, allowing for wider interpretations in multiple ways based on what group the US identifies as a terrorist threat. According to the statement, “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals” will receive these weapons to ‘counter terrorism in Syria.’
While the mainstream Western media has identified Kurds as the potential beneficiaries of this announcement currently fighting the IS in and around Raqqa, this decision, if not cancelled by the Trump administration, will have larger implications, particularly in terms of prolonging and complicating the war.…
Let’s call a spade a spade. There is nothing new in the newly announced decision. This is potentially what the US has been doing for years. Being yet another step in the direction of protecting (read: John Kerry’s deal) and arming (read: waiver decision) “rebels”, the US is deliberately encouraging armed groups in Syria, regardless of what these groups call themselves.
They are groups who fight alongside Al Qaeda-affiliated forces and some of whom are reportedly willing to join Al- Qaeda in the wake of their defeat in Aleppo....
Obama’s departing gift to the “Syrian rebels”
Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs

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