Syrian rebel (courtesy telegraph.co.uk)

“Syrian rebels, frustrated by the West’s reluctance to provide arms, have found a supplier in an unlikely source: Sudan, a country that has been under international arms embargoes and maintains close ties with a stalwart backer of the Syrian government, Iran,” nytimes.com reports. “In deals that have not been publicly acknowledged, Western officials and Syrian rebels say, Sudan’s government sold Sudanese- and Chinese-made arms to Qatar, which arranged delivery through Turkey to the rebels. The shipments included antiaircraft missiles and newly manufactured small-arms cartridges, which were seen on the battlefield in Syria — all of which have helped the rebels combat the Syrian government’s better-armed forces and loyalist militias.” Quite how all these machine gun machinations—not to mention Operation Fast and Furious—square with the accountability and transparency goals of the United Nations Small Arms Trade Treaty is anyone’s guess. My guess? They don’t. And if you don’t think the Middle East is a Gordian knot of armed antagonists, make the jump for a slice of STRATFOR’s analysis . . .

Both Iran and Syria would like to build up an additional source of militant leverage against Israel. The Iranian regime grew concerned with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region that led Hamas to distance itself from the Iran-Syria axis. When the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt, and when Syrian Islamists were making gains in their rebellion against the al Assad regime, Hamas calculated that in this sectarian environment it was better to align with its ideological allies than to risk alienating itself by maintaining a close relationship with the Syrian and Iranian regimes. As sectarian tensions grew over the Syrian battle of Qusair in the spring, reports began emerging that some Hamas fighters had joined Sunni rebels in Syria against the regime. At that point, Iran had to worry about its leverage weakening among Palestinian proxies in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon, all while Iran’s main ally Hezbollah was heavily preoccupied with trying to hold its ground in Lebanon while fighting Sunni rebels in Syria.

But Iran also sought ways to maintain its leverage among the Palestinians. Even as Hamas tried to publicly distance itself from Tehran, it was Iran’s supply of long-range Fajr-5 rockets to Hamas that nearly led to an Israeli invasion of Gaza at the end of 2012 and exposed a still robust relationship between the ideologically opposed allies. With Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood politically sidelined, the Egyptian military bearing down on Hamas in the Sinai Peninsula and cutting off the group’s supply lines and Syria’s Sunni rebels in a stalemate with the regime, Hamas is likely to find even more reason to remain close to Tehran. Iran, meanwhile, is trying to compensate for the sectarian challenges confronting its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq by widening its militant proxy network wherever it can. Part of this strategy involves building up a presence in the West Bank to threaten Israel. This strategy also falls in line with Hamas’ interest in undermining Fatah, especially as the Fatah-led Palestinian National Authority engages in more peace negotiations with Israel that fail to acknowledge Hamas’ authority in the Gaza Strip.

Good luck Mr. John “Peace is not made by pantomime” Kerry. And thank for giving extremists full-auto firearms and God knows what else while seeking to deny “assault weapons” to law-abiding Americans. [h/t CJ Chivers]

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34 Responses to U.S., Allies Make Mockery of Small Arms Trade Treaty. Already.

  1. Blame a nation blame China they give Iran all the small arms they want and Iran gives them to Syria Blame Obama for backing terrorist because they are also Muslims like Obama is.

    • I doubt obama is a muslim. Doesn’t matter if he is. I don’t doubt that helping “rebels” is just a replay of history. Much like many other involvements, the U.S. government officials think they can buy friends. They don’t care if the people are just as bad or worse, human rights wise than those the “rebels” are fighting, just whether or not they will play ball with U.S. officials interest.

      • Give the man a prize! Geopolitics is always about making friends and influencing people who will do your bidding when asked.

      • Obama is not a Muslim by faith but I think he fancies himself at least part Muslim by culture. However, the real reason that he aligns himself with Islam against the West his quasi-Marxist ideological education. Shortly after 9-11 the neo-Marxists developed the theory that AQ and other proponents of Islamic supremacy represented the new vanguard of the global proletariat. They believed that world was now divided into exploiting capitalist nations (the G-20) and the oppressed underdeveloped nations. Obama sees AQ, the Muslim Brotherhood Iran as only superficially driven by Islamic religious ideology. The underlying cause that they are fighting is socialism, countering global warming etc. Obama is a prisoner of his own ideology and cannot see any motives for behavior outside of his own paradigm.

        • You’d think you knew Obama personally by how you talk about the guy. He taught at one of the most conservative law schools in the country (at least it’s law school/economics/business grad schools) I hardly doubt the man is a “neo-marxist,” which is a term that seems to only be used by those unfamiliar with the philosophy. Let me be clear, I’m a decidedly pro capitalist and love my guns. But I have a political science and philosophy degree and I can see a modicum of the theory in your post but I think you misunderstood quite a lot.

          For one, saying he is a “muslim” by culture is ridiculous. There’s no (real) evidence for this outside of fringe groups, which sadly do seem to be over represented in discussions with guns. Claims like yours make it MUCH harder for the pro-2nd amendment crowd to be taken seriously in the public sphere and are quite damaging. This is why all the New York liberals think people with guns are a bunch of millenarian survivalists and anti-government conspiracy theorists.

          First, marxists see AQ and such groups as a SYMPTOM of global capital. Not the new vanguard. I don’t think anyone in the west (which Marxism is about as western as philosophy gets) seriously defends AQ or terrorism. Marxism expressively disavows the idea of a “vanguard,” it says that capitalism will inevitably crush itself and drawing on Hegelian theory, that the “end point” of history will lead to a stateless socialism. No vanguard necessary. They also still believe it will start within DEVELOPED nations. Also, the secret cabal of marxists (which are really just high earning academics with cushy positions that are paid by how many papers they publish) actually started this theory that terrorism was an out growth of global inequity in the 1980’s. One the first wave of terrorism started, they were quick to explain it away according to their paradigm. That’s nothing new at all.

          Second, I don’t think you know what “muslim culture,” means. Islam is incredibly fragmented. It’s not hierarchical like Catholicism, even Protestantism and Judaism is usually more structured than Islam. Bascialy, anyone who is popular with followers can be a religious authority in Islam. As long as people listen, they’re a spiritual authority. Most Muslims don’t even acknowledge groups like AQ as being muslim (only in the sense that Mormons are Christian.) Because one of the MAJOR tenents of Islam prohibits conversion and killing (two of the foundational tenents of Takfiri/Global Islamic terrorists). Even thinkers like Sayyid Qutb (founder of modern radical Islam) disavowed killing civilians or striking globally. What you are confusing for “Islamic culture,” is really local cultures which you know nothing about and do not understand who happen to be largely Islamic, a religion which you know nothing about and do not understand. Muslims are incredibly diverse, ranging from the conservative Wahabist strain in Saudi Arabia with women in veils to modern generally secular Turkey and Indonesia or moderate Qatar where the education rate of women is higher than in the West and higher than men.

          It’s ridiculous to say Obama thinks AQ and Iran (who are VERY different ideologies and groups) are driven by entirely Western ideologies. It’s the kind of occidental revisionism that makes it impossible to create intelligent policies and once again, makes the autocratic anti-gun liberals think anyone with a gun is crazy. For one, there’s no evidence to that. Regardless of whether you actually like the guy, your talking about a president who has ramped up efforts to assassinate Islamic terrorist (Takfiri) groups more than any other before him, debateably including Bush. Obama has a pretty hawkish Foreign Policy to the developing world compared to most presidents. I don’t think he cares what their underlying ideology is, as long as their actions are detrimental to the U.S. led international order he will do what ever is most effective to destroy the enemies of the country. Again, say what you will about the guy, but it’s ridiculously silly to suggest someone could become president without an earnest desire (even if misguided) to further the interests of the US and that someone with fringe beliefs wouldn’t immediately be exposed. Also, where do you get Iran and Global Warming from? No one thinks that. It’s a joke to think otherwise. The people fighting this war are the National Security Apparatus bureaucrats who have continued to decide these operations since 9-11-01. Obama more or less just signs off on the shit. Do you actually think one man has enough time in the day and enough brain power to actually personally oversee every policy and choice over every tendril of the vast state? IF there was someone actually capable of doing that (and there isn’t) that person would be so above and beyond the rest of us he wouldn’t fall into simplistic paradigmatic thinking that little ol’ you managed to see through.

          Sadly, it is YOU who cannot see any motives outside of your own marginal paradigm. Psychologically it is comforting to see the world in such simplistic causal terms, as if all could easily be fixed if everyone just thought like you did and saw the same truth you did rather than realizing that international relations , ruling a country as vast and important globally as the US is more complex and myriad than you can comprehend. There is no secret motive or ideology that ties everything together, its a constantly fluid, fast moving stream of disparate events that require completely different and often contradictory responses (which don’t always work out) in an infinitely complex and anarchic system. Yeah, sure, everyone has certain heuristics that shape the way they view events, the president being no exception but grow up.

    • Iran and Syria are the good guys in this fight.
      Obama is an atheist, just like every other president since 1981.

  2. We give American tax money to everyone ,than sell to everyone all the Arms they want ,Tanks, jet fighters, bombs, rockets etc, you name it ,,, Why for the NEW WORLD ORDER! and the American people be DAMMED, WAKE UP AMERIKA!

    • Obama is different; he stopped selling arms to Israel and started Giving them to the MB to include F-16s and Abrams Tanks

      • Funny, Israel is still getting billions in US tax money every year. It does need to be cut, just like every other dime of tax money going overseas.

        • What? No mention of the Denver Airport? The Illuminati?

          A 2/10 at most for poor references to well known counter-cultural conspiracy references. I would throw in another point if you at least called us “sheeple”

  3. You keep forgetting….the United Nations Small Arms Trade Treaty is
    only for the “little people”…namely YOU. We will ignore the fact that
    a treaty that violates the Constitution is null and void for the
    moment…not that POTUS or Congress gave a flying fig about
    that either.

  4. These camelfvckers and their political machinations remind me of the shifting loyalties of competing cliques of high school girls. Except that the girls are probably more dangerous even if they’re not as well armed.

  5. They don’t seem at all interested in closing that murdering-terrorist-fanatic-nongunshow-loophole, do they?

  6. “frustrated by the West’s reluctance to provide arms”

    Say WHAT? Four thousand SAMs is “reluctant”?

  7. The current imbroglio (as Robert would say) does not directly involve the US providing arms to anybody other than Israel and Jordan. And quite frankly, that is a good thing. As the Stratfor analysis demonstrates, what we are seeing–finally and unsurprisingly–is the breakdown of the lines in the sand drawn by England and France when they carved up the Ottoman empire following WWI, lines that were for convenience and that ignored ancient tribal boundaries and alliances. And perhaps too we will witness the ultimate show-down between the Shia and the Sunni (at least in the Middle East), a battle that has been brewing for hundreds of years. We have no business in this fight; it is a religious war, not a political one, and political solutions will not work. It is time for the map to be redrawn, and we should let the participants perform that redrawing without outside interference.

    • Mark
      You do realize that the majority of the ME used to be Christian, especially the Levant don’t you? Nice to know you have no qualms with genocide, you’ll be at ease when those you love suffer

      • What history book are you reading? Christianity may have found its begiinings in the Middle East, but it was never the dominate religion.

      • The US and UK share responsibility for the creation of Israel. To abandon them now would be like having a child and throwing it to the wolves. We can close every single military base outside the US and withdraw all other foreign aid for all I care. We would be better for it. We, as a people, have made many mistakes in our young history; slavery and the Indian genocide to name two of the worst. Abandoning Israel, a State and a situation we created, would be commensurate with the aforementioned travesties. We have enough blood on our hands already. Israel must not be left to stand alone.

      • Chris, what you propose would simply set us back on the world stage and recklessly endanger our interests and even our security. No foreign policy is a bad foreign policy.

    • MarkN for the win. If you want an example of what our direct military involvement in the ME will accomplish take a look at the Belgians experience in the Congo. When you blunder into religious and tribal warfare without picking a side you’re merely setting the stage for prolonged bloodletting by enabling both sides to keep fighting. Sometimes the opposing parties just have to fight it out until one of them wins.

      I realize that actually ‘winning’ wars has become unpopular since WWII but endless intervention without definitive resolution is a terrible strategy unless constant turmoil is the goal (and there are times that the latter is a legitimate goal). For my part I don’t condone spending US blood and treasure on limited war. Either fight to win in the long term or allow the belligerents to work it out amongst themselves.

      Lacking a strategic or economic interest in the outcome of a war our position should be neutral. Preventing genocide within a sovereign state not the US or an ally isn’t something our federal government is tasked with doing.

    • “The current imbroglio (as Robert would say) does not directly involve the US providing arms to anybody other than Israel and Jordan.”
      —–
      Bullshit. I’m not saying that bullshit was your intent, just the result.

  8. I’ll have to scrape the pieces of my head off the walls and ceiling before reading that “analysis” again.

  9. Yet another reason why the US should not adopt the Small Arms Treaty: much of the Middle East clearly doesn’t give a sh!t.

  10. Mark N wrote:
    “And quite frankly, that is a good thing. As the Stratfor analysis demonstrates, what we are seeing–finally and unsurprisingly–is the breakdown of the lines in the sand drawn by England and France when they carved up the Ottoman empire following WWI, lines that were for convenience and that ignored ancient tribal boundaries and alliances.”

    I think this is just more anti-western propaganda.
    The implication being that if the West had only been “sensitive” to
    to local sensibilities then all would have been well in this neighborhood.
    Not hardly.
    I suggest you watch this short animation before you chisel this idea in stone:

    “Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history? Pretty much everyone. Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Persians, Europeans…the list goes on. Who will control the Middle East today? That is a much bigger question. “
    http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/imperial-history.html

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