Qatar: Syria rebels' tiny ally in the background

Sally

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Hmm, so it is even Qatar that
is involved in this mess.

Qatar: Syria rebels' tiny ally in the background

Qatar has been a key funder of the rebels in Syria, but it's been a learning process for the status-seeking emirate.

By Nabih Bulos
January 12, 2014, 7:00 a.m.

DOHA, Qatar — As the hot sun cut through the morning haze of the seemingly perpetual summer of this Persian Gulf city, commanders of Syria's Western-backed opposition forces convened for a series of high-level meetings.

The participants, leaders of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, were desperately engaged in damage control after a loose coalition of Islamist groups had taken over the council's warehouses on the Syria-Turkey border, seizing U.S. donations and prompting a suspension of American aid.

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Qatar: Syria rebels' tiny ally in the background - latimes.com
 

waltky

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What they really need is the weapons we agreed to send them - but haven't...

US May Decide to Train Syrian Rebels
May 28, 2014 WASHINGTON (AP) — In an open move that would significantly boost U.S. support to Syrian rebels seeking military help in their quest to oust President Bashar Assad, the White House may soon sign off on a project to train and equip moderate forces.
President Barack Obama is weighing sending a limited number of American troops to Jordan to be part of a regional training mission that would instruct carefully vetted members of the Free Syrian Army on tactics, including counterterrorism operations, administration officials said. They said Obama has not yet given final approval for the initiative and said there is still internal discussion about its merits and potential risks. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss administration deliberations by name. In a speech at the U.S. Military Academy on Wednesday, Obama was expected to frame the situation in Syria as a counterterrorism challenge and indicate he will expand assistance to the opposition, although he was not expected to announce the new program, the officials said.

However, the State Department, Pentagon and U.S. intelligence community, along with many in Congress who back the move, have concluded Assad will not budge without a change in the military situation on the ground, according to the officials. At the same time, there are growing fears about the threat posed by al-Qaida-linked and -inspired extremists fighting in Syria, the officials said. The Senate Armed Services Committee last week passed a defense bill that authorizes the Defense Department to provide training and equipment to vetted elements of the Syrian opposition. The U.S. already has covert support operations in place for the Syrian opposition, and it is not yet clear how the new program would work. The United States has spent $287 million so far in nonlethal aid on the civil war, now in its fourth year.

Rebel commanders for three years have been asking the U.S. for lethal assistance as they've seen gains wiped out one after another, but the U.S. has been reluctant to move to that kind of aid for fear weapons could end up in the hands of extremist rebels who might then turn on neighboring Israel or against U.S. interests. The State Department on Tuesday declined to comment on the proposed train-and-equip program. Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, however, told reporters that an array of options to support moderate Assad foes remained under consideration. She also highlighted the terrorism threat. "We have been clear that we see Syria as a counterterrorism challenge, and therefore certainly we factor that in, in options we consider," she said. "The current policy approach continues to be strengthening the moderate opposition, which offers an alternative to the brutal Assad regime and the more extremist elements within the opposition."

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