Syrian Rebels Anxious for US Arms
Scott Peterson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Syrian rebels are wondering what’s taking so long for the U.S. to follow through on a pledge to send them badly-needed weapons.
After the Obama administration acknowledged last month that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime had used chemical weapons, the White House said it was ready to arm some rebel factions fighting to overthrow the embattled leader.
However, Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst with the Institute of the Study of War, says that leaders of rebel forces in Syria have complained that they’ve received few, if any, weapons at all since the administration pledged to move beyond providing non-lethal aid.
It remains unclear why the U.S. is stalling although White House press secretary Jay Carney said this week, “We were not bluffing. The president was very serious.”
However, the administration seems intent on sending just small arms, not the anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles the rebels contend are needed to turn the tide on al-Assad’s military, which is being reinforced by manpower from the Hezbollah in Lebanon and heavy artillery from Russia and Iran.
O’Bagy believes that when help does arrive, it’ll be too little, too late. At best, she says the weapons assistance will only prolong the conflict — now in its 28th month — not end it decisively with a rebel victory.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
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