WASHINGTON — As an intermittent supply of arms to the Syrian opposition gathered momentum last year, the Obama administration repeatedly implored its Arab allies to keep one type of powerful weapon out of the rebels’ hands: heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles.
The missiles, US officials warned, could one day be used by terrorist groups, some of them affiliated with Al Qaeda, to shoot down civilian aircraft.
Related: Globe Tells the Truth About TWA 800
But one country ignored this admonition: Qatar, the tiny, oil-and-gas-rich emirate that has made itself indispensable to rebel forces battling calcified Arab governments and that has been shipping arms to the Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s government since 2011.
According to four US and Middle Eastern officials with knowledge of intelligence reports on the weapons, Qatar has since the beginning of the year used a shadowy arms network to move at least two shipments of shoulder-fired missiles, one of them a batch of Chinese-made FN-6s, to Syrian rebels who have used them against Assad’s air force.
Deployment of the missiles comes at a time when US officials expect that President Obama’s decision to begin a limited effort to arm the Syrian rebels might be interpreted by Qatar, along with other Arab countries supporting the rebels, as a green light to drastically expand arms shipments.
This is such garbage when I've previously noted the CIA was sending stuff in. Truth be told, though, the problem is mine for expecting to read something different.
Qatar’s aggressive effort to bolster the embattled Syrian opposition is the latest brash move by a country that has been using its wealth to elbow its way to the forefront of Middle Eastern statecraft, confounding both its allies in the region and in the West.
Aren't they behind Al-Jazeera?
Related: Viewers should decide whether to watch Al Jazeera America
The strategy is expected to continue even though Qatar’s longtime leader, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, stepped down last week, allowing his 33-year-old son to succeed him.
“They punch immensely above their weight,” one senior Western diplomat said of the Qataris. “They keep everyone off balance by not being in anyone’s pocket.”
Obama in April warned Hamad about the dangers of arming Islamic radicals in Syria, although most US officials have been wary of applying too much pressure on the Qatari government. “Syria is their backyard, and they have their own interests they are pursing,” said one administration official.
Qatari officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The United States has little leverage over Qatar on the Syria issue, because it needs the Qataris’ help on other fronts. Qatar is poised to host peace talks between US and Afghan officials and the Taliban.
See: Sunday Globe Special: Taliban Agree to Truce
Haven't talked since.
The US forward base in Qatar gives the US military a command post in the heart of a strategically vital but volatile region.
Qatar’s ability to be an active player in a global gray market for arms was enhanced by the C-17 military transport planes it bought from Boeing in 2008.
In Obama’s meeting with Hamad at the White House on April 23, he warned the Qatari leader that the weapons were making their way to radical groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group that the United States has designated as a terrorist group.
Affiliated with Al-CIA-Duh, huh?
Qatar to the Quick
Qatar Emir Quits
Also see: Obama's Syrian Shift
The lies stayed the same.
"Syria launches Homs assault; Artillery, planes" by Bassem Mroue | Associated Press, June 30, 2013
BEIRUT — Government troops launched a series of attacks in central Syria on Saturday, striking with artillery, tanks, and warplanes in a drive to capture rebel-held neighborhoods in the country’s third largest city of Homs, activists said.
The army of President Bashar Assad has been on the offensive in Homs province in recent weeks, reclaiming some of the territory it has lost to the rebels since Syria’s crisis began 27 months ago.
The military, building on its capture of the strategic town of Qusair between the Lebanese border and Homs at the beginning of this month, has overrun a number of nearby villages. It also has hammered the center of the city, a rebel stronghold since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011.
Homs, a city of about 1 million, has shown great sympathy for the opposition since the early days of the uprising. A month after it started, protesters carried mattresses, food, and water to the main Clock Square, hoping to emulate Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s revolt that overthrew Hosni Mubarak.
Security forces quickly raided the encampment, shooting at protesters and chasing them through the streets. The onslaught only boosted the intensity of the protests, fueling a revolt that has posed the most serious challenge to date to the Assad family dynasty that has ruled Syria since 1970.
Homs is the capital of Syria’s largest province, which carries the same name and extends from the Lebanese border to the frontier with Jordan and Iraq.
Activists in the city said all cellular lines were cut early Saturday before warplanes pounded rebel-held areas. The air raids were followed by intense shelling with artillery, mortars, and tanks, before troops tried to advance.
Several activists in the city said the regime began bringing in reinforcements last week, apparently in preparation for the attack....
Also Saturday, the Observatory and the Aleppo Media Center said a missile hit Aleppo’s Katourji neighborhood, killing and wounding several people. The Observatory said at least three people were killed while the media center said the death toll could be as high as 15.
Gee, I wonder where that could have come from.
That's so odd because I was told the rebels were winning again:
"Syrian rebels take major checkpoint" by Sarah El Deeb | Associated Press, June 29, 2013
BEIRUT — Rebels captured a major army post on Friday in the southern city of Daraa after nearly two weeks of intense fighting, as battles raged between troops and opposition forces in the province that borders Jordan, activists said.
Daraa, the provincial capital of a region that carries the same name, is the birthplace of the uprising. Rebels hope to one day launch an offensive from the area to take the capital, Damascus.
How far back they have fallen in a few months. And now the hope one day.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists around the country, said Islamic militants led by members of the Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, captured the checkpoint after a two-week siege.
It said rebels blew up a car bomb Thursday, killing and wounding a number of soldiers, and then stormed the post, made up of two of the highest buildings in the city.
‘‘This post is very important because it overlooks old Daraa,’’ said Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads The Observatory. He added that the capture opens the way for rebels to take the southern neighborhood of Manshiyeh that is close to the Jordanian border.
An amateur video posted by activists showed rebels blowing up one of the two buildings after putting explosives inside it. Another video showed four militants carrying Nusra Front black flag standing in front of the building saying it will be blown up, apparently to prevent the regime from using it in case its forces capture it again. The videos appeared genuine and were consistent with other AP reporting of the events.
That's a sad statement. Just the fact that the newspaper has to issue something like that tells you a whole pile regarding their credibility (or lack thereof).
Of course, the AmeriKan media would never lie about issues of war and peace, right?
Like I said, you are going to see a lot more of these:
"Suicide bomb kills 4 in Syrian capital’s Old City" by ALBERT Aji | Associated Press, June 28, 2013
DAMASCUS, Syria — A suicide bomber blew himself up near the headquarters of Syria’s Greek Orthodox Church in Damascus’ Old City, killing at least four people Thursday, minutes after the patriarch had entered the cathedral, state-run TV and a church official said.
The blast in the ancient quarter of narrow streets and historic buildings was the first reported suicide attack of the Syrian civil war inside the Old City, although other such bombs have struck the capital city during the conflict.
The blast struck in the vicinity of the Virgin Mary Cathedral in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Bab Sharqi, the broadcast said, although it was not clear if the church was the attack’s target....
SANA, Syria’s state-run news agency, said a nearby clinic run by a Muslim charity appeared to be the target.... Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, which has reporters in Damascus, said the target of the attack appeared to be a nearby post of the National Defense Forces, a paramilitary force fighting the rebels who are trying to topple President Bashar Assad.
Residents also disagreed about the target, with some saying the bomber may have detonated the explosives prematurely. Progovernment gunmen were seen roaming the streets afterward....
Christians are one of the largest religious minorities in Syria, making up about 10 percent of the population of 23 million people. They have tried to stay on the sidelines of the conflict, although as Islamist militants have increasingly joined with the opposition, many Christians have been leaning toward the regime.
As have most Syrians. No one likes a**hole terrorists taking over their neighborhood.
As the bloodshed has intensified, hopes for an international conference to try to reach a political settlement between the regime and opposition have faded.
"Saudi minister pledges aid to Syrian rebels; Kerry sought meeting after Qatar conference" by Karen DeYoung | Washington Post, June 26, 2013
JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said Tuesday that his country will help Syrian rebels ‘‘the most effective way we can’’ in response to what he called ‘‘genocide’’ perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar Assad.
‘‘Saudi Arabia is not a country that interferes in internal affairs of countries,’’ Saud said in a news conference with visiting Secretary of State John Kerry.
As they foment rebellions in Iraq and Syria.
‘‘But an invaded country, where genocide is being perpetrated, is not a normal situation,’’ he said, in a reference to Hezbollah and Iranian militia fighters aiding Assad’s forces. ‘‘And I can say with clarity that we will help the Syrian people defend themselves.’’
Saud’s passionate language contrasted with Kerry’s restrained description of both the crisis and the potential remedy. While Kerry has used the term ‘‘ethnic cleansing’’ to refer to Syria’s increasingly sectarian war, he has not called it genocide.
According to the United Nations, nearly 93,000 Syrians have been killed and about 5 million Syrians have fled their homes internally or to neighboring countries during the more than two-year-long conflict.
The situation ‘‘has been made far more difficult and complicated by Assad’s invitation to Iran and to Hezbollah. . . to cross international lines,’’ Kerry said....
Kerry said he needed a ‘‘face to face’’ with the Saudis, following last Saturday’s meeting in Qatar of 11 European and regional governments leading efforts to aid the opposition.
Some of those nations, including Saudi Arabia, have been waiting for a stronger expression of US leadership before increasing their aid....
While none of the rebels’ benefactors has publicly announced specific forms of aid, Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar, has indicated that it is prepared to send an increased flow of heavy weaponry, including hand-held surface-to-air missiles. The United States, in addition to sending light weapons and ammunition, plans to increase its training of rebel commanders and fighters, along with stepped-up logistics and intelligence assistance.
Looks like DEEPER INVOLVEMENT to ME!
While the first part of Kerry’s extended Middle East tour has concentrated on Syria, he will arrive Wednesday in Amman, Jordan, for three days of efforts to try to move his Palestinian-Israeli peace initiative forward.
The plan for direct talks between the two sides has been stymied by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s reluctance to start direct talks with Israel without a political sweetener such as the Israeli release of Palestinian detainees.
Six Zionist Companies Own 96% of the World's Media
Declassified: Massive Israeli manipulation of US media exposed
Why Am I No Longer Reading the Newspaper?
Also see: Settling on This Post
Oh, Kerry adopted Israel's position, did he? And so did Obama?