(GPA) Washington – President Obama has given the go ahead to the United States departments of Defense and State to export more arms to Syria following the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian forces.
In a presidential memorandum issued this week; the White House authorized more “defense articles and services” to be directed to Syria for “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing U.S. military operations.”
The memo specifically points out that these weapons are to be used to “counter terrorism in Syria.” Obviously this has already been tried and despite who the weapons are intended for they usually end up in the hands of known terrorist organizations despite monitoring by the US.
Yet to make things even worse; Obama is lifting the “end use” monitoring usually required in the shipment of weapons to armed groups. The kind of monitoring was established in section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). The memo stated that the president is now providing a waiver of “the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A,” which would make sure these weapons don’t end up in the wrong hands. Waiving section 40A also lifts “standards that apply for identifying high-risk exports” to active combat zones.
The only safeguard would be a provision in section 40(g2) of the AECA which forces the executive branch – in this case the State Department – to take any export requests in front of the committee on foreign affairs in the House of Representatives. This is the committee chaired by Republican representative Ed Royce who has already spoken in favor of both placing sanctions on the Syrian government as well as advocated for the ceasefires that allow “moderates” to regroup.
Royce is of the stripe that believes “Putin has been driven by the goal of propping up the Assad regime. Along with Iran and Hezbollah, that has meant the indiscriminate murder of countless innocent women and children.” So we shouldn’t expect any moderation when it comes to him being willing to help prop up the rebels fighting Assad. The memo offers a fast track process in front of this committee where an export of new weapons only needs to be announced 15 days in advance.
The memo will also waive prohibitions in the United States Legal Code section 2249a. This is the part of US legal code which places a “prohibition on providing financial assistance to terrorist countries.” The president is allowed to waive this regulation if it is in the “interest of national security.” The only catch is that the requests to send arms or funding under this law is that it must be reviewed 15 days in advance. The board that reviews request under this statute is the Committee on Armed Services…chaired by terrorist supporter John McCain.
McCain, who has already been advocating for increasing arms to “opposition” in Syria will most likely have no problem leading the charge in approving these matters.
Even if the US was only arming “moderate” groups in the past and “keeping tight monitoring” on their weapons, they still ended up in the hands of groups like al-Nusra and in some cases the Islamic State. This new order by the president lifts the responsibility for monitoring these transactions completely now and admittedly fastracks the export of arms and support to known terrorist organizations. The Obama administration is clearly growing desperate in their last days and is willing to escalate the war in Syria even farther and has no problem arming “questionable” groups to do so. For a man who “cares about the humanitarian costs” of this war, Obama sure seems willing to ensure it will only continue.