While the U.S. government shuts down national parks and cemeteries, it ramps up covert training for “moderate” Syrian rebels
Jihadis in USAID tent show off their captured U.S. weaponry
“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of” — New York Times, April 28, 2013
Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda — USA Today, April 11, 2013
So who exactly are the “moderates” that the CIA is training? The Supreme Military Council. And how is that going?Â The Blaze reported on September 27 that “terrorist fighters with an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria seized weapons and other supplies meant for the secular Syrian Supreme Military Council, U.S. State Department and other western officials confirmed to TheBlaze.”
Note also what is below: “The latest setback came last month, when 11 of the largest armed factions in Syria, including some backed by the United States, announced the formation of an alliance with a goal of creating an Islamic state.”
“CIA ramping up covert training program for moderate Syrian rebels,” by Greg Miller in the Washington Post, October 2:
The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, U.S.-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country”s civil war, U.S. officials said.
But the CIA program is so minuscule that it is expected to produce only a few hundred trained fighters each month even after it is enlarged, a level that officials said will do little to bolster rebel forces that are being eclipsed by radical Islamists in the fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The effort, however, is expected to do little to bolster the fighters, who are being eclipsed by Islamist forces.
The CIA”s mission, officials said, has been defined by the White House”s desire to seek a political settlement, a scenario that relies on an eventual stalemate among the warring factions rather than a clear victor. As a result, officials said, limits on the agency”s authorities enable it to provide enough support to help ensure that politically moderate, U.S.-supported militias don”t lose but not enough for them to win.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the agency has sent additional paramilitary teams to secret bases in Jordan in recent weeks in a push to double the number of rebel fighters getting CIA instruction and weapons before being sent back to Syria.
The agency has trained fewer than 1,000 rebel fighters this year, current and former U.S. officials said. By contrast, U.S. intelligence analysts estimate that more than 20,000 have been trained to fight for government-backed militias by Assad”s ally Iran and the Hezbollah militant network it sponsors.
The CIA effort was described as an urgent bid to bolster moderate Syrian militias, which have been unable to mount a serious challenge to Assad or match the growing strength of rival rebel factions that have hard-line Islamist agendas and, in some cases, ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
The CIA is “ramping up and expanding its effort,” said a U.S. official familiar with operations in Syria, because “it was clear that the opposition was losing, and not only losing tactically but on a more strategic level.”
The CIA declined to comment.
The latest setback came last month, when 11 of the largest armed factions in Syria, including some backed by the United States, announced the formation of an alliance with a goal of creating an Islamic state. The alliance is led by Jabhat al-Nusra, a group that has sworn allegiance to the al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.
Operating under constraints
The descriptions of the CIA training program provide the most detailed account to date of the limited dimensions and daunting objectives of a CIA operation that President Obama secretly authorized in a covert action finding he signed this year….
The program is aimed at shoring up the fighting power of units aligned with the Supreme Military Council, an umbrella organization led by a former Syrian general that is the main recipient of U.S. support….