US government is paying rebel salaries to fight the Assad forces

Published time: February 15, 2014 04:14                                                

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Frustrated by the deadlock of the second round of Geneva 2 talks, Saudi Arabia has reportedly offered to supply the rebels with anti-aircraft missiles. Meanwhile Russia has accused the US of once again hijacking peace talks and pushing for regime change.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Russian-made  antitank guided missiles and Chinese man-portable air-defense  systems are up for grabs, already waiting in warehouses in Jordan  and Turkey.

An Arab diplomat and several opposition figures with knowledge of  the Saudi efforts have told WSJ that these supplies are likely to  tip the battlefield scales, as the rebels will become capable of  taking on the government’s air power and destroying heavy armored  vehicles.  “New stuff is arriving imminently,” a Western diplomat  with knowledge of the planned weapons deliveries told the  American publication.

Leaders of the Syrian opposition said they don’t yet know the  total amount of military aid that will be shipped. The new  weapons are expected to reach southern Syria from Jordan while  the opposition in the north will get arms from Turkey, the  Western diplomat said.
Raising fears that civilian aircraft may eventually become  targets, last June several media outlets suggested that Saudi  Arabia had already begun supplying anti-aircraft launchers and  missiles to militants in Syria. But so far Saudi Arabia, as well  as the US, has been officially opposed to arming the rebels with  big guns and antiaircraft missiles as they could fall into  extremist hands.

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According to the WSJ report, rebel commanders struck a deal on  the new armaments shipment during a meeting with US and Saudi  intelligence agents in Jordan on January 30. During that meeting,  rebels allegedly claimed that their new military gains would help  force official Damascus consider President Assad’s ouster and  bring forward a political solution to the conflict.

  Mercenaries on US payroll?

  The Wall Street Journal also reports that their rebel sources  claimed the US government is paying their salaries to fight the  Assad forces. The Southern Front brigades allegedly received $3  million in cash in salaries during the two meetings in Jordan,  one held on January 30 and the other late last year. 

Meanwhile, congressional aides told the WSJ about scheduled  meetings with Syrian opposition leaders next week. The Syrian  delegation will allegedly seek extra armaments in order to battle  al-Qaeda and al-Nusra elements.

Two destroyed tanks outside of a damaged mosque in Azaz, Syria. Credit: christiaantriebert via Flickr

Two destroyed tanks outside of a damaged mosque in Azaz, Syria. Credit: christiaantriebert via Flickr

“We’re trying to assure the international community that they  can support moderates without the threat of arms falling into the  hands of al-Qaeda,” said Oubai Shahbandar, a senior adviser  to the Syrian opposition. Saudi Arabia and US have so far refused  to comment.

  Geneva 2 stalemate

As the second round of Geneva 2 talks so far fails to produce any  results, the Russian Foreign Minister has criticized the American  stance at the negotiations accusing it of hijacking the talks for  the purpose of “regime change” in Syria.
“The only thing they want to talk about is the establishment  of a transitional governing body,” Sergey Lavrov said Friday  after meeting with the German foreign minister in Moscow.  “Only after that are they ready to discuss the urgent and  most pressing problems, like terrorism.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a meeting in Moscow on February 14, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Eduard Pesov)Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a meeting in Moscow on February 14, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Eduard Psov)

“I am very worried about the systematic attempts to disrupt  the political settlement in Syria,” therefore “forcing  the (Syrian) government to slam the door.”  Lavrov recalled that talks were kick started to implement the  original Geneva communique, position of which Russia and Syria  solemnly defend. The June 2012 document stipulates the creation  of a transitional political body, holding of free and fair  elections, the start of a national dialogue, a review of the  constitution and legal system. Nowhere does it mention removal of  president Assad.  “Now they are saying that to keep talking is senseless, because  the government (of Syria) doesn’t want to agree about the makeup  of a transitional governing body. We are going in circles,”Lavrov said.

The Syrian government’s position remains that stopping terrorism  and bloodshed should be the priority at the negotiations that  started last month. The second round of negotiations between  government and opposition representatives began on Monday but no  progress has yet been made. The opposition, backed by the US and  its allies, insists on forming a transitional authority with  “full executive powers,” thus ousting Assad.

Rebel fighters inspect an alley in the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on February 14, 2014. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Aboud)Rebel fighters inspect an alley in the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on February 14, 2014. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Aboud)

After five days of negotiations the opposition has accused the  government’s team of “belligerence,” while the  government delegation said that the opposition have an  “unrealistic agenda.”    “The negotiations are not moving toward a political  solution,” said Louay Safi, a spokesman for the Syrian  opposition delegation, accusing the government side of adopting a  hostile stance.  “I deeply regret to say that this round did not achieve any  progress,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad  said. “We came to the Geneva conference to implement Syria’s  declared position to reach a political solution. …  Unfortunately the other side came with another agenda, with an  unrealistic agenda.”    The UN’s Lakhdar Brahimi, curator of the talks, plans to meet the  sides on Saturday, the final day for round two of the  negotiations, but it remains unclear if he can offer any prospect  of drawing the warring parties closer together.

No surprise here that Obama is paying their salary. The Muslim Brotherhood (political not religious though they pretend to be) manage the paid mercenaries.

Congress is looking for a detailed budget – Congress Wants ‘Black Budget’ Info on Spy Agency Spending

Also related: Obama Funding Syrian Rebels Beheading Christians, Using Child Soldiers

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