News / Middle East

US Arms to Syrian Rebels Held Up

US Arms To Syrian Rebels Held Upi
X
July 13, 2013 1:40 AM
Syrian groups fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad are still said to be waiting for weapons the United States pledged last month. But as VOA’s Kent Klein reports from the White House, the arms shipments have not received final approval in Washington.
TEXT SIZE - +
Kent Klein
— Syrian groups fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad are still said to be waiting for weapons the United States pledged last month. But, the arms shipments have not received final approval in Washington.
 
As Syrian government forces make gains on the ground, the limited lethal aid U.S. President Barack Obama promised the opposition has yet to be sent - almost a month after his announcement.

The issue seems to be Congress, where approval is being stalled while lawmakers debate the types of weapons to send, and to which groups.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday the administration has been talking with lawmakers in an effort to settle those questions and speed up approval.

“The fact is, we are working with Congress on the issue of the president’s announcement of enhanced military assistance, but I do not have anything about specific shipments to provide to you," said Carney.

Deciding which groups should receive aid is difficult. Shifting alliances among the groups complicate this decision, according to Michael Rubin at Washington’s American Enterprise Institute.

“There has been a steady radicalization as this debate has been occurring for the last two years, and so the opposition which we looked at back a year, a year-and-a-half ago, when we had this debate, is not the same opposition that starts today.  The opposition has become steadily more radical," said Rubin.

Rubin says another question is which arms the opposition wants and whether the U.S. is willing to provide them.   

“What the Syrian opposition wants is a qualitative military edge.  They want, for example, surface-to-air missiles, and that raises a whole new set of political questions about whether or not we think that the Syrian opposition should have them, whether, when push comes to shove, we trust the Syrian opposition not to turn on us or our allies," he said.

Russia acknowledged in May that it has agreed to sell advanced air defense missiles to the Assad government.  It is not clear whether the missiles have been delivered.

The Iranian-backed group Hezbollah, which the United States considers a terrorist organization, is also supporting the Syrian government.

These developments, and gains by rebel groups said to be affiliated with al-Qaida, have some experts wondering whether any U.S. help for the opposition will be too little, too late.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid