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Why We Should Arm the Syrian Freedom Fighters
It has been over two years already and 70,000 deaths in the quest by Syrians to topple President Assad. The Rebel fighters by now control large sections of the Aleppo urban area, key dams that supply water to it and Damascus, they control a major military base and the oil producing fields in northern Syria. Around Damascus, Assad's loyal soldiers hunker down and deny much access into the city central, but the rebels are on the fringe and penetrating block by block.
Arming these rebels is chancy because some groups are al-Qaeda affiliated with their own agendas, but they are well trained and armed. Obama's own staff including the Defense Secretary, CIA director, and Sec. of State, all indicated they would support it. Yet, it was President Obama that vetoed it in a myopic vision. Some might say he was "chicken shit".
Arming the rebels would ensure that Iran would be denied Syria, their ally, should Assad collapse. It would also lose its conduit for weapons into its other proxy, Hezbollah. Iran would be more isolated from the Middle East. The longer the war goes on, the more desperate Assad will become and more likely to use his chemical weapons. He is already using Scud missiles against his own people. They could also end up in "bad hands". The rebels forces are getting arms from a variety of sources, so we might as well help them. They have captured many weapon and ammo depots in Syria. The US and others could supply arms to those identified groups that are not affiliated with radical Islamists. By doing so, when Assad falls, they would be more inclined to be pro-West and democratic, should they win the internal fight for power between the various factions.
Yes, it is a gamble, but it is better than doing absolutely nothing.