News / USA

White House Working to Address Lawmakers' Worries on Syria Aid

A general view shows damaged buildings on a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs, Syria, July 12, 2013.
A general view shows damaged buildings on a deserted street in the besieged area of Homs, Syria, July 12, 2013.
The White House says it continues to work to address concerns U.S. lawmakers have about President Barack Obama's decision announced in June to send lethal aid to Syrian rebel forces.  

Worries in Congress about Obama's plan to send lethal aid, reportedly small arms and ammunition, to the Free Syrian Army emerged in reports by The Washington Post and other media.

The White House announced the aid decision after the U.S. determined the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition on several occasions last year.

Publicly, officials avoid speaking in detail about congressional concerns. Comments are limited to observations about the importance of supporting rebels who are facing the Assad regime and its allies, Hezbollah and Iran.

Press secretary Jay Carney said the administration continues to work with Congress to address concerns.  

He declined to discuss specifics regarding aid shipments or timelines, but appeared to provide some indication of the message the administration is likely communicating to Capitol Hill.

"We have with our allies and partners worked to strengthen the elements of the Syrian opposition that have in our view the best interests of the Syrian people in mind, and of the future of Syria, and we continue to work with those elements," said Carney.

On Thursday, the Syrian Opposition Coalition expressed deep concern that "elements in the U.S. Congress" are delaying new support to the Free Syrian Army.

A statement attempted to address U.S. congressional concerns about weapons falling into the wrong hands, saying the coalition would ensure that "arms will not reach extremist elements."

In June, the president's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, voiced confidence about the ability to efficiently channel aid, and prevent it from reaching extremists.

"It has been important to work through them while aiming to isolate some of the more extremist elements of the opposition, such as al-Nusra," he said. "We now have those relationships. We now have that pipeline flowing. We've seen material get into Syria, including to the SMC [opposition Supreme Military Council]."

Moderates versus radicals

Michael Rubin, of the American Enterprise Institute, said, "Even if we are able to separate the wheat from the chaff, when it comes to determining who is moderate versus who is radical, number one, today’s moderates may be tomorrow’s radicals, or number two, the radicals might simply move in and take the arms from the moderates to whom we give them.”

In its reporting, The Washington Post said Obama's lethal aid plan drew objections from members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, which review covert operations.

In a stinging criticism of Obama, The Post editorial board said U.S. allies are "baffled and alarmed" by the president's "fecklessness on Syria," and now his failure "to deliver even on the modest action he decided on."

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs