Syrian "rebels" (courtesy worldtribune.com)

Nick’s recent post about the Obama Administration’s decision to arm Syrian “rebels” resonated in my thinkenator. “These guns (at the moment, only small arms like AK pattern rifles, not including anti-tank or anti-air missiles) will be handed out without any background checks, registration or other hallmarks of the gun control plans that president Obama says are necessary in the United States.” I savored the ridiculousness of that position at my local gun store. Obama’s Boyz don’t want polite, tax-paying Americans without a criminal record to buy black rifles but they’re OK with handing out fully automatic firearms to religious/tribal fanatics in a land where the last time they had an extended period of peace was . . . never. There’s another, equally galling aspect to this . . .

The President of the United States has openly and condescendingly mocked Americans who say they need “assault rifles” to protect against the possibility of a tyrannical government. Yet he’s intent on providing assault rifles to “rebel” forces who oppose a “legitimate” (i.e., UN recognized) government. The President does so in the name of ending the slaughter that accompanies tyranny.

This is a point that’s not lost on . . . wait for it . . . The New York Times. Well, generally.

For nearly two years, the Obama administration has described the Syrian regime as having “lost all legitimacy” and “clinging to power.” And yet, it has surprisingly endured. That’s because neither assertion is really accurate. Mr. Assad still has strong support from many Syrians, including members of the Sunni urban class. While the assistance Syria receives from its external allies, like Iran and Russia, is important, it would be inconsequential if the Assad regime were not backed by a significant portion of the population.

The paper’s editorial concludes “Syria is like Iraq, except worse.” When it comes to Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, Obama is like Clinton, only worse. Something to keep in mind as the civilian disarmament industry continues its endless campaign to promote tyranny.

Click here for more discussion on TTAG’s Free Fire Zone forum

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66 Responses to Arming Syrian Rebels: A Point Worth Repeating

  1. This bears repeating…. Does anyone remember the CIA arming Afghan rebels? Look how well that ended for us.

    • In a covert manner and then leaving them high and dry with near perfect deniability…not saying there aren’t similarities (and that the resulting sh*t storm we’ve been in for the last 12 years won’t be renewed by their action), just that it’s an imperfect comparison.

    • At the time, arming the Afghans made sense because it was against the Russians who invaded for natural resources and other reasons. The problem was we abandoned those who we supported immediately after the Russians left. The problem was follow through. Iraq in many ways is a success story. Infrastructor and a way to continue a semi-honest political system. Afghanistan can be the same, it will just take more time and resources because they started out so far behind both in infrastructor, and culture.

      The issue I have the Syrian rebels, they have already declared themselves loyal to al-Qaeda. They are already committing atrocities. These guys will turn on us as soon as they have control. The “freedom fighters” McCain visited/photo op, several of them are known kidnappers/criminals. Have we learned nothing from Libya/Egypt? I wouldn’t be suprised if it wasn’t the rebels themselves who used chemical agents on civilians (who didn’t support them) but then in turn blame Asad for killing the civilians. It isn’t a sin in Islam to lie if the lie furthers the goal of Islam.

      • I would dispute that we abandoned the Afghans right after the Russians left. That would imply that the Russians leaving was the reason for the end of our support. It would be more accurate to say that we ended our support to the multiple factions we were supporting when those factions began to fight each other for control of Kabul. We said to these groups at the time that that if their forces fought for control of Kabul we would stop supporting them. They fought, we left.

        When people claim that the Syrian rebels are allied to/controlled by Al Qaeda this too is not completely accurate. It would be a tragic misinterpretation of the situation to lump all of the forces opposing the government into a one size fits all box. Just like Afghanistan there are different competing groups fighting the government that have very different goals, agendas, and visions for what their countries ought to look like should they prevail.

        The problem in Syria as I see it lies in a couple a areas. One, Syria has many ethnic and religious minorities that at the moment feel the must to cling to the Assad regime because the currant regime IS secular. As far as I know ALL of the big rebel groups are Sunni, and their agenda is to bring about a Sunni controlled Syrian state. That IMO would only increase the possibilities of ethnic cleansing, genocide, a mass exodus of minority Syrians, etc for all the minority groups that felt they had to back the Assad government out of fear for their lives of a living in a Sunni controlled state.

        Second, and has been pointed out, all of these people have been strongly indoctrinated with an anti western, and anti Israel point of view. Who ever wins, I fear that the winner will feel the need to “stand up” to Israel to show that they are a force to be reckoned with.

        For these reasons I do not believe our getting involved in Syria either with active intervention, or military aid can in any way bring about any positive results either for us or for the Syrians.

        I do support providing extensive medical and humanitarian aid. I think in this case it is our best course of action.

        • >> I would dispute that we abandoned the Afghans right after the Russians left. That would imply that the Russians leaving was the reason for the end of our support.

          This would imply that indeed, but why would you dispute it if that is exactly what happened? By the time mujis started fighting each other full on, the American support has long been gone.

          The reason why support did linger for a little while longer after Soviet army withdrew was because there was still the official communist DRA government and their army fighting the fight. Once that disintegrated, there was no point in supporting any faction in the country anymore, and so US packed up and left.

      • POPPYCOCK. The Soviets invaded because CIA double agents convinced them the U.S. was going to invade Afghanistan – for many of the same reasons you ascribe to the USSR.

        Ask Zbigniev Brzezinski sometime, if you run across him plastered.

      • >> At the time, arming the Afghans made sense because it was against the Russians who invaded for natural resources and other reasons.

        Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to rescue the local communist party that had a rebellion on its hand. It was not about natural resources (USSR had plenty of everything), it was about control.

        The rough equivalent would be if, say, Dominican Republic had a communist uprising in it, and US deployed troops on the ground by request of the government it considers legitimate to suppress the rebels. All purely hypothetical, of course.

        >> The problem was we abandoned those who we supported immediately after the Russians left.

        No, the problem is that you supported people who were fundie war criminals even back then (even over more secular / liberal rebels), just because they had more people and fought better.

    • Drove the commie pinkos out or Afganistan .

      Educated the western world that the Soviets system was no omnipotent and that the USSR Army was not made up of 10′ tall supermen (as the political class of the west believed thru the 50-80s). That is communism fell (until Clinton cashed in the “Peace Dividend”)

      • >> Drove the commie pinkos out or Afganistan .

        And replaced them with Taliban. Epic fscking achievent right there.

        Commies at least build schools, universities, hospitals and factories in the country.

    • Thats exactly what I thought of when I finished this article. Worked out real good for us last time.. Hey lets give them some high quality training too!

      All the better to shoot us with.

  2. I mentioned this to my wife last night… this hypocrisy goes beyond mental gymnastics. It is downright blatant about face to domestic vs foreign policy.

  3. These same rebels have sworn their allegiance to al Qaeda. They’re also in possession of MANPADS – shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles that were smuggled in from Libya.

  4. Does Robert Farago really believe a government which lobs SCUDs (tactical ballistic missiles) at its own people is “legitimate” ?!?! Please explain. Perhaps you feel the “election” in which Assad won “98%” of the vote was free and fair. For a man who won 98% of the vote, the hundreds of thousands of protesters who took to the streets in Syrian cities like Homs (until he leveled it) and the world’s most-defecting-army is awfully strange, don’t you think?

    We all agree with you regarding the irony of Obama supporting Syrian rebels with arms but wanting to deny Americans the right to bear those same arms. We get it. But you lose your moral argument when you start depicting genocidal Syrian dictator Assad as a good guy. Stick to guns and stop demonizing Syrians who are sacrificing their lives to win the freedoms we enjoy every day.

    • Of course I don’t think of Assad as a good guy. I am under no illusions of his murderous tyranny. But like it or not, Assad’s administration is the internationally recognized official government of his country. The United Nations, the organization to which the US feels obliged to pay lip service to whenever we pursue foreign policy military initiatives, recognizes the Assad regime.

      • So Obama’s government is the internationally recognised legitimate government of the US and any attempt to stand against it would be what?

        • I bet Obama administration would use Gas on Rebels in the US, not just the tear kind either.

        • We should send them weapons, but only the ones that are allowed to people in California, New York, or even better, Chicago. We are trying to stop mass shootings, aren’t we?

    • You missed the point. He isn’t saying that the Syrian gov. is good, but rather “legitimate” as in it is the standing government such as our government is the current standing government for our country so our government is legitimate. You didn’t do well on the SAT’s after high school, did you?

      • If international recognition is the criteria, Hitler was “legitimate.” So was Stalin. So was Milosevic. So was Saddam.

        Regardless, the point of this statement is pretty clear:

        “Yet he’s intent on providing assault rifles to “rebel” forces who oppose a legitimate government.”

        Rebels is in quotes (as in, he questions them and their cause) while legitimate is not (he does not question Assad’s legitimacy and states it as undisputed fact worth mentioning), so the statement implies Obama is arming the wrong side.

        • You are out of your mind Mike. RF is simply reporting facts, not taking positions in regards to the Syrian government. His point is about the firearms, not the Syrian government. Put away your flame thrower.

        • First, putting something in quotes does not mean someone is questioning the thing in quotes. And in this particular case “rebels” was quoted because RF was pointing out this is exactly what someone who would use armed resistance here would be called. Thus pointing out the hypocrisy of mocking people who want to be armed here in case the need for rebellion arises as silly nitwits who think they can stand up to a government, while at the same time giving other “rebels” the means to stand up to their government. I find it hard to believe you did not catch that, as it was the oft repeated main point.

          And while we are at it, when someone fights against something that is bad, it does not make them good by default. Since you already brought up Hitler, let’s use that prime example. Hitler rose in Germany by fighting the real bad communists there. By your argument, that makes Hitler good. Starting to see the problem with your simple silly analysis?

          In this case we know Assad is bad, but the “rebels” (quotes added in mockery, just to drive home they can be useful in multiple ways) are at best just as bad and all signs point towards them being in fact worse. The best possible outcome would be for both sides to fight each other until neither side has any living combatants. Since the rebels were losing, giving them small arms may actually help get to that outcome, but somehow I doubt it was the goal of this president. In any case, I really hope they never get more advanced weapons because anything we give them now will for certain come against us in the near future.

    • Trouble is, the Syrian rebels are little better than Assad himself. There are no “good” guys in this conflict.

      I say we stay out of it entirely.

    • Assad’s regime is the legitimate governance; the rebels are infused with Al Qaida – to the point of leadership. BOTH practice fundamentalist Islam and both have a doctrinal/spiritual hatred for the US, the West and Israel.

      What is missing in the conversation (national conversation) is any recognition of that salient point….AND, we have recent history to glean to determine whether our soft-hearted (and hard-headed) assessments of other troubled and late regimes were either correct or completely wrong.

      Egypt, it was said, would never adopt an MB candidate, much less elect him and that the MB had “no political ambitions”…and that the people simply wanted “democracy” (a concept that is anathema to Islamic doctrine).

      Libyan rebels were simply looking for “freedom” and were really very reasonable, peaceful people – even though we KNEW, they were infused with and led by Al Qaida. And look how well that turned out with one Ambassador, his aide and two Navy SEALs, dead at the hands of whom?…oh yeah; Al Qiada affiliate, Ansar AL Sharia!

      The Syrian Rebels murdered and dislocated, the Christians in Homs and have brutalized, civilians, children and the military in Syria.

      One-more-time…THERE ARE NO GOOD GUYS – STAY THE HELL OUT!

  5. So… If, as gun grabbers insist, there is no point in owning firearms to stand against a tyrannical government, since those governments have planes and tank that will render them pointless, why then is our government sending those same small arms to rebels in Syria to fight against a government that has planes, tanks and chemical weapons?

  6. I hadn’t connected the dots until reading this article. Who has two thumbs and is frustrated, angry, and disappointed anew..this guy.

  7. He freely arms those that according to fact match his own words about us.

    “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    They cling to the teachings of Islam and are xenophobic. They blame others for their economic failures and cause violence. Yet we are the ones that cannot be trusted.

    This administration make me sick to the core of my very soul with their lies and slander upon the American People.

  8. My prediction is that one day these same rebels will attack us and Obummer will say they were pi&&ed at the Bush administration for something.

    • if he gets one for handing out machine guns, I would not be surprised. The last one he got nobody is quite sure why he got it anyway.

  9. More interventionist bullsh!t. Some dumbass think-tankers in DC will try to spin this as our duty to the world and that somehow this is best for our “interests.” Yeah, right.

    I can get you a real good deal on ocean front property in Arizona, too…

  10. This is an obvious and overt act of war against a foreign government! It is also completely un-Constitutional and, thus, illegal. The whole “WMD” bull$hit excuse is getting pretty old. I can’t believe Americans are still buying it. I guess he’s gotta get us focused on something else until this NSA scandal blows over.

    Wake up, folks!

    • Whether or not Assad used any amount of chemical on the rebels is completely beside the point. This is an internal struggle between factions that are largely ideologically linked in their hatred of us. Our government and our military is assembled to defend this Constitution and by proxy, this people – not the Syrians, the rebels, the Libyans, Egyptians, Tunisians, Algerians, Iraqi, Afghan, Turks, Jordanians or any number of other “cultures” infused with Islam to the 99%+ saturation point.

      They all hate us, ideologically and all it takes is a “close encounter” for them to enjoy the fruits of “Allah’s Mercy”, measured in after life benefits for the low- low price of American blood on Islamic soil.

      This government and this society (American) have chosen to ignore history and still refuse to study Islamic doctrine; it is easier to simply play on our gut compassion for “all other peoples” and send someone else to die for our guessing!

      We need to stay, out, of, Islamic, lands where the clear security of this nation is not at immediate risk.

  11. One of my inflexible rules: Never, never, never give weapons to a Muslim. Or money or means to buy weapons. Ever, never.

  12. One other part you missed…what’s this going to cost me?

    So not only is Obama OK with handing out assault weapons without background checks and mental health screening, those weapons are paid for with TAX DOLLARS.

    So it’s not OK for me to SPEND MY OWN MONEY on firearms that I want without a 4473, but it is OK to force me to buy assault rifles for Syrians. Sounds about right.

  13. I am sure the contradiction in policy is lost on him. So the rhetoric is just that.

    The only thing going on here is Pentagon Cold-War Warhawks have convinced him that the opportunity to destabilize a government that provides Russia with its only Mediterranean base is TOO JUICY to pass up – consequences and blow-back be damned!

  14. All 3 of these guys in the photo have their fingers where they’re supposed to be. The guy on 1 knee has a scope and what appears to be a bipod on his AK. This must be the elite special forces team of the jihadis.

  15. After funnelling black rifles to the Mexican drug cartels why would it be a surprise that he’d funnel them to Al Qieda affiliated terrorists?

  16. So, big deal. We’re shipping arms to Hamas and al Qaeda. What could possibly go wrong? When all is said and done, I’m sure that al Qaeda will think things over, recognize the error of their ways, repent, convert and become our bestest ever buddies in the whole wide world. Just ask The Prophet Barack from Chicago.

  17. There are so many problems with Obama’s plan to “arm the rebels” that Congress should act to stop it.

    One of the network’s national news broadcasts over the weekend said there is no question that some of the arms/ammo will end up in hands on both sides of the fight, including Islamic extremists who seem to be on a side of their own. The “expert” said that Washington is hoping that the majority of the supplies ends up where they want them to go.

    That is so blatantly ridiculous that one wonders if Washington truly has lost its collective mind. When you consider how diligently these same people are working to disarm law-abiding Americans, you would be forgiven for thinking we are living in a real-life Twilight Zone.

  18. FWIW, my Syrian friends tell me that Assad is well-liked by most of his people. When the whole mess began, the great majority of the protestors/insurgents were foreigners, apparently. It is the height of foolishness and hypocrisy to arm the rebels. Furthermore, I am absolutely certain that if protests and armed insurgency broke out in the USA, the government would not hesitate a second to employ chemical or biological weapons on them, (as it accuses the Syrian government of doing) should ordinary force of arms not be sufficient to completely crush the revolution. These actions, you see, would be “uniquely necessary in order to restore the peace.”

  19. Don’t you mean handing out firearms to the Taliban?
    After all these rebels are in league with them as well as composed of them.

  20. Syria is another Kobayashi-Maru, damned if you do, damned if you don’t trap. The current rebels, are a literal rag-tag hodge-podge of everyone with beef against the government. They will NOT stop fighting until they are either:

    1) All dead.
    2) Assad’s regime is dismantled and he steps down from power.

    Assad himself, being the intelligent dictator he is, has secured Russian support for his government – the Russians themselves are interested in countering US influence in the region, and have quite generously backed him both with material aid and blocking any UN activity. Hezbollah and other Shia groups back Assad as well. Assad will not stop until:

    1) The rebels are defenseless and mostly dead
    2) His position in the government is guaranteed and he not forced to resign.

    The US cannot blindly expect 2 sides, with diametrically opposed views, to simply negotiate because we say, “Y’all should negotiate.” Best strategy up until this point was to contain the violence, but that might have already failed… there is growing evidence the involvement of Hezbollah fighters could destabilize other countries in the region.

    So yeah. Whether the US does something or doesn’t, there are no nice choices. Just a set of messy options that vary in scope and scale in their results of death and chaos.

    • One solution that Assad would likely agree upon is splitting the country along sectarian lines, with him in charge of Alawite/Shia/Christian part. Rebels reject this idea, though.

  21. There have been many astute comments on this thread (as is typical for TTAG, and bravo sirs).
    In this case it seems that there are no ‘friendlies in Syria. Other than simply avoiding entanglement altogether our best course would seem to be balancing the power of the rebels against the government with the goal of causing the conflict to continue without escalating. The real threat here is the proliferation of militant Islamic guerrillas. I suspect a poll across the rebel groups would include some of the same bad actors we have faced in Afghanistan and Iraq, seen in Egypt and Libya, and will likely face again somewhere at some time.
    Frankly both sides are diametrically opposed to everything we hold dear. The best likely outcome is the continual ‘tethered goat’ that Iraq provided and which to some extent Afghanistan still does. Keep these young jihadists busy fighting somewhere against someone, anyone really, but us. Even if it means arming them lightly and supplying them to keep the fight going, just so neither side wins.
    On another note; this is rather unlike a hypothetical uprising of American ‘rebels’ against a tyrannical government. Dare I say it in fact bears no resemblance to anything like a real ‘civil’ war or even a revolutionary one in any meaningful way.
    The hypothetical equivalent would be various factions of U.S. semi-pro soldiers of fortune fighting alongside some minority Canadians against the Canadian government with economic and recruiting support from the Southern Baptist Coalition and backed by a smattering of irregulars from all over Central America with the goal of setting up a Christian theocracy in place of the duly elected Government of Canada under cover of ‘liberating’ the oppressed Canadians. Of course once that goal is met there will be a second genocidal war in which the Baptists try to kill off their erstwhile allies from the south because they are majority Catholics. . .
    If it sounds silly it’s because it is, though also deadly serious to those involved. I find it impossible to support any side in such a conflict since no side has a goal that I would want to reach fruition. Imagine trying to sort out whether one ought to back the fascists against the communists or vice versa. In this situation it’s more akin to deciding whether to back a brutal secular dictator or brutal fanatical religious would-be dictators. Either way no one is free, but at least Assad is the devil we know and his forces won’t be moving on to the next nation in line to support the next theocratic takeover.

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