The CIA is reportedly discussing a plan to augment the fighting capability of the terrorist forces they have been supporting in Syria since the beginning of the crisis in 2011 if the “ceasefire agreement” currently underway in Geneva falls apart. The discussion centers around the supply of weaponry that would help the jihadists better respond to the Syrian and Russian air forces. The discussion is centered around the possibility of sending a variety of anti-aircraft technologies ranging from MANPADs (man-portable air defense systems) to less portable systems, including Soviet-era BM-21 Grad missiles.
According to reports by the Wall Street Journal, the CIA has given “provisional assurances” to “coalition members” to expand support to forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if the ceasefire falls apart and “full scale fighting” resumes, but the United States is declaring the right to determine which weapons will be introduced to the battlefield as part of this “renewed” effort to arm terrorists fighting the Syrian government.
The discussions between the United States and its “coalition members” were part of a plan that the Washington Post described as a “Plan B” for Syria if the ceasefire talks fell through and fighting resumed.
“On the eve of the ceasefire agreement coming into effect in Syria at midnight on February 27, the heads of Middle East intelligence agencies met to lay out a plan for waging war after the truce. And consultations on the matter never stopped ever since,” RT reports.
As Adam Entous writes for the Wall Street Journal:
In those meetings, officials briefed on the deliberations said, coalition members received provisional assurances from the CIA that they would be given approval to expand support to Syria’s moderate opposition. Coalition members have agreed on the outlines of Plan B, but the White House must still approve the list of specific Plan B weapons systems before they can be introduced to the battlefield.
Officials said the CIA has made clear to its allies that the new systems, once agreed upon, would be given to the rebels only if the truce and the concurrent political track toward a lasting peace—Plan A—fall apart and full-scale fighting resumes.
“The agreement is to up the ante, if needed,” a senior U.S. official said of the CIA’s message to the coalition supporting antiregime rebels, adding that the administration’s main focus now was to find ways to make the cessation of hostilities and political negotiations stick.
A CIA spokesperson declined to comment on the deliberations.
The discussions of Plan B come as representatives from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition prepare to resume U.N.-brokered negotiations in Geneva this week.
Development of the weapons list is part of a broader behind-the-scenes effort by the Obama administration to deter its adversaries in the Syrian conflict while preventing the U.S.’s coalition partners who are supporting the moderate opposition from taking matters into their own hands.
The discussions regarding “Plan B” are taking place between Washington, Ankara, and Riyadh.
Many experts claim that the terrorists are most in need of technological assistance and electronic means to defeat and skirt Assad’s artillery and air force.
For the latter purposes, however, MANPADS are being brought up for discussion as a legitimate option for weapons assistance to terrorists on the ground in Syria despite the fact that reports suggest that the United States is hesitant to provide them. Still, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are reportedly very eager to provide the portable systems.
Of course, the provision of MANPADs to al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists poses a number of threats to civilized peoples. First, if terrorists are in possession of the means by which to down aircraft from the ground, civilian passenger aircraft the world over will find itself in danger of being taken out of the sky as the result of terror attacks aimed at sensitive targets.
Civilian passengers will thus be put at risk with known terrorists and terrorist organizations in possession of powerful weaponry capable of targeting them from the ground. If terrorists are indeed provided with MANPADs and, if a civilian airliner is in fact targeted as a result, then it must be the United States, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia who are held directly responsible for the death of innocent civilians that will inevitably follow.
Second, if terrorist “rebels” are in possession of a sizeable armory of MANPADs, a new and greater threat to Syrian and Russian air forces will be present. According to the Wall Street Journal, US officials have already addressed this issue with their Russian counterparts and have done so in a manner that resembles a threat much more than a genuine discussion.
The Wall Street Journal reports that US “officials” have conveyed a “private message” to the Russians indicating that a “return to full-scale fighting could ‘end up putting more Russian pilots in danger.’”
“If the ceasefire collapses, if the negotiations don’t go anywhere, and we’re back to full throttle civil war, all bets will be off,” said a Senior Obama Administration official to Moscow as quoted by the WSJ. “The outside patrons will double and triple down, throwing everything they can into Syria, including much more lethal weaponry.”
Thus, the American position seems to be a warning to the Russians that, if the fighting resumes (meaning between the Syrian government and the phantom “moderate rebels”/protected terrorists), then the US’ resumed assistance to the terrorists will manifest itself in a way that threatens Russian pilots, a highly incendiary move to say the least since Russia is not likely to take a threat to its military personnel lightly. Nor is it reasonable to believe that Russia will simply back down or stick to a “business as usual” method in regards to the shooting down of a Russian jet.
Terrorists in Syria already have access to a small number of MANPADs that the CIA claims they have purchased “through illicit channels” but that many researchers feel have actually been provided by the CIA or, at the very least, Saudi Arabia or Turkey. The CIA refused to comment on the alleged “Plan B” when contacted by Sputnik on Wednesday.
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