President Obama, in order to arm Al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebels, has waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups. Not surprisingly, federal law currently bans giving weapons to terrorists. Though it seems Obama does have the authority to bypass the restriction and he is choosing to do so by arming the Syrian rebels who have links to Al Qaeda, a group still listed as supporting terrorism.
The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would “waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction.”
Those two sections prohibit sending weaponry to countries described in section 40(d): “The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” Congress stated in the Arms Control Export Act.
The Syrian rebels not only include factions that are explicitly loyal to Al Qaeda but, according to US intelligence and experts analysts, those factions are now dominant within the opposition. So it is highly likely that some of the arms being shipped into Syria right now by the CIA will fall into the hands of Syrian rebels loyal to Al Qaeda.
The law allows the president to waive those prohibitions if he “determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the United States.”
Under section 40(g) of the AECA, the Obama team must also provide Congress — at least 15 days before turning over the weapons — “the name of any country involved in the proposed transaction, the identity of any recipient of the items to be provided pursuant to the proposed transaction, and the anticipated use of those items,” along with a list of the weaponry to be provided, when they will be delivered, and why the transfer is key to American security interests.
Essential? I thought it was made pretty clear to the president and friends that America did not have any vital national security interests at stake in Syria. That’s why Obama pulled the bill, it was going down. And that bill was related to chemical weapons not arming the rebels to undermine the Assad government. How is undermining the Assad government essential to the national security interests of the United States?
President Bashar al-Assad has already said that by arming the rebels President Obama will kill the chemical weapons deal. Now bans on arming terrorists are being waved to justify dubious activity that might blow up a peace deal? Looks like war with Syria is still very much on the table as the US government gives weapons to groups loyal to the people that attacked America on 9/11.
Photo by FEMA under public domain.