US training Syrian rebels to secure chemical weapons
Training Syrian rebels to secure the country's chemical weapons might be a good idea but for one small catch: Most of the rebels are al-Qaeda and since they will be the ones securing them, al-Qaeda will have control over the chemical weapons
when the music stops.
The US and its allies have hired contractors to train some Syrian rebel
brigades in chemical weapons security, Syria Deeply has exclusively
learned from four diplomats, including one US official. The sources
asked to remain anonymous, as they deal directly with developments in
Syria. The training would mark a higher level of coordination between
the US and armed opposition forces, working to secure Syria’s chemical
arsenal during a period of political turmoil.
The diplomatic sources say defense contractors hired by the US and
its European allies have recently conducted training exercises with
Syrian rebel forces in Turkey and Jordan. The programs were intended to
prepare brigades to handle chemical weapons sites and materials they
might encounter, as Assad troops lose control of over parts of the
country. US contractors have also been on the ground in Syria to monitor
the status of regime stockpiles, said an employee with a major US
defense consultancy that has been engaged in that work.
“They’re probably trying to provide near real-time surveillance at
all these sites. There’s no point in limiting yourself,” said Anthony Cordesman
of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He emphasized
that any training of rebel fighters would represent just one element of
contingency planning underway and said it would be incorrect to assume
that training rebels is “the only hope”.
The State Department affirmed its concern over Syria’s chemical
weapons, concerns that have been discussed with opposition leaders, but
would not comment directly on the details of this report. The Defense
Department hasn’t responded to a request for comment on the revelations.
What could go wrong?
Labels: Bashar al-Assad, chemical weapons, Syrian uprising