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Guest Commentary: Why arming rebels in Syria is a bad idea

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Guest commentary by Roland McDonald

The problem President Obama is having with media over Syria and the use of chemical weapons use is much bigger than a red line being crossed. The failure to act has been the top issue, but it is far from the center of the problem. A problem exists in the fact that no one knows who used chemical weapons in Syria and that is why nothing has been done. There is no Open Source intelligence clearly proving which side is to blame, yet the pressure on President Obama to act has been unyielding. This presents another problem; how should the President respond? Boots on the ground seems to be out of the question; although, recent reports have come in that Special Operations Forces are being deployed [1]. Arming vetted rebel groups has been the preferred choice it seems. This, in my opinion, is the epicenter of the trouble in the Middle East over the past few years.

The International community wants to see an end to civil conflicts like Libya and Syria, but there is no way to be sure backing rebel soldiers, even after a thorough vetting process, is an indirect sponsorship of terrorist cells. We need only look at Libya to see what can happen. Rockets and other weapons used by rebel forces in Libya ended up in the Gaza strip.

The trend has continued as protests have broken out across the region which leads up to poor results for the countries acting in the name of democracy and human rights. The attack on US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya followed by attacks on US posts in Egypt and Yemen are just a few examples without mentioning Allied embassy issue [2]. If we give small arms to rebels a portion of them will likely end up in the wrong hands. A close inspection of every faction in the Free Syrian Army will show soldiers from countries like Iran, Lebanon and other areas where opportunist seeking a terrorist state reside [3]. That is the ultimate goal as we have seen in Yemen, for example. Protests and civil unrest have become the softer side of terrorism, whether intended or by coincidence. A large group of protesters sprinkled with a few Jihadists’ with an agenda is a recipe for chaos.

[1] http://nsnbc.me/2012/06/04/nato-special-forces-in-syria-now-official/

[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/14/us-protests-idUSBRE88C0J320120914

[3] http://www.defence.pk/forums/middle-east-africa/243943-british-paper-reports-hamas-training-fsa.html

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the Lint Center Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. or any employee thereof. The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Lint Center Bloggers.


About the Author:

Roland McDonald III, MA is the Founder of Am-Int Global Intelligence & Analysis. He is also devoted to human rights and the pursuit of world peace. Roland works with various nonprofits to help bridge the gaps in these areas. He specializes in intelligence collection planning and analysis.

James Webb Joins Lint Center Mentoring Team

Mr. James Webb served in the United States Marine Corps for 26 years, where he spent 10 years as an Intelligence Analyst/Chief and 16 years as a Counterintelligence specialist.

Mr. Webb has expertise in Counterintelligence (CI), Human Intelligence (HUMINT) collection and prevention, J2X operations, intelligence analysis and production, and counter-threat finance at tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

Having spent a good deal of his career overseas, including deployments to forward areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Djibouti, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Korea, Mr. Webb will bring a career life experience of nearly three decades of strategic and operational experience to the Center’s mentoring team.

We are most appreciative of Mr. Webb’s support and are eager to set him up with a Lint Center mentee.

To see Mr. Webb’s full bio, please check out the Mentor Bios page.