Report: U.S. long ready to aid rebels
AMMAN, Jordan — The U.S. military began laying the groundwork to arm and support Syrian rebels more than a week ago, using a military exercise currently being held in Jordan as a cover for bringing in personnel and equipment.
Despite official statements by the Obama administration that a decision to arm the rebels was made on June 13, preparations were seen by McClatchy on the ground days earlier. In addition to the 300 Marines that Jordanian officials said were currently stationed along Jordan's northern border with Syria, meetings were held between Syrian rebels and U.S. officials more than 10 days ago to establish what type of weapons the White House is willing to provide.
Jordanian officials have said that those Marines had no connection to the exercises currently being run by the U.S. and Jordanian militaries, though they were brought into the country under the guise of being part of the “Eager Lion” exercises. Regional analysts and officials have said that while those exercises are touted as a “multilateral relationship-building” measure, on the ground they are widely seen as the U.S. “flexing its muscles” and laying the groundwork for future maneuvers.
“The U.S. has been preparing this for some time. So it is very clear to us, here on the ground in Jordan, that the Obama decision to arm the rebels was made weeks ago rather than days ago,” a Jordanian diplomatic official said in an off-the-record briefing. Other diplomats, interviewed in Jordan, said that there was widespread consensus that the U.S. was preparing to arm the rebels, though the gesture was often called “too little too late.”
Like the Jordanian official, the officials, rebel leaders and others who spoke to McClatchy did not want to be quoted by name.
Syrian rebels, said one European official, had repeatedly traveled to Jordan to try to plead their case with the diplomatic community and had pressed the need for a no-fly zone and heavy weapons.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Saudi prince will donate all wealth, $32B worth
- Famine nears in Yemen; deadly blasts continue
- Iran shrugs off deadline for nuclear talks
- Militants attack Egyptian army checkpoints in Sinai, kill 53
- Indonesia plane crash death toll 141 as search effort ends
- Greek default drama plays out
- Europeans swelter in rare heat
- Egyptian president plans tougher legal system in speech at burial of prosecutor
- Smoking ban appears to be cause of 15-hour Australian prison riot
- Cool wind provides relief as Pakistan heat wave’s death toll tops 830
- French government rebukes United States over spying claims