US arms Syrian rebels with first heavy weapons – raising war stakes

I believe that this move by Obama is in retaliation for Russia’s move with Crimea and Iran’s uncompromising stand on A bomb negotiations. He can now apply lot’s of leverage on them by upping the support. Ted Belman
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 7, 2014, 8:56 AM (IDT)
BGM-71_TOW-towBGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile

Two Syrian rebel militias judged moderate in Washington have in the last few days taken delivery and begun using – mostly in the Idlib region – the first advanced US weapon to be deployed in more than three years of civil war,DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal. It is the heavy anti-tank, optically-tracked, wire-guided BGM-71 TOW, which is capable of piercing 50mm thickness of Syrian tank armor and Syrian fortifications at a range of 4 kilometers. Armed with this weapon now are Brig-Gen. Abdul-Hila al Bashir, the new commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is headquartered at the Golan town of Quneitra, and Jamal Maarouf, head of the rebel Syrian Revolutionary Front fighting in the north.

The appearance of this advanced missile radically alters the balance of strength on the Syrian battlefield. It also denotes a striking change in Obama administration policy, which hitherto flatly resisted every demand to provide Syrian rebel groups with the heavy arms essential for them to have any chance of standing up to Bashar Assad’s superior military strength.

Our sources report that in the last few days, the new weapons are being airlifted in through two routes: the southeastern Turkish town of Diyarbakir on the Tigris, and the giant northern Saudi King Faisal Air Base at Tabuk near the Jordanian border.

US Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, arranged during his visit to Israel last week for the Netanyahu government to waive a standing agreement between the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel, whereby Saudi Air Force F-15 fighters are not stationed in Tabuk given its proximity to Israeli air space.

Dempsey explained that they were needed as air cover for the American transports flying the new weapons in via Saudi, and the convoys ferrying them onward from the Saudi base to their destination in southern Syria through Jordan. Stationed at the Tabuk air base too is a squadron of French fighter jets.

The route from Turkey to Syria runs through the “Kilis Corridor”, which is a narrow rebel-controlled strip 40 kilometers long from the southern Turkish town of Gaziantep up to the big Syrian town of Aleppo.

From his headquarters at Quneitra, opposite IDF positions on the Golan, Gen. al Bashir commands most of the Syrian forces fighting Bashar Assad’s army in the south.

Maarouf and his Syrian Revolutionary Front operate from a base in the southern Turkish town of Antakya.

In the last of his recent press interviews on April 2, Maarouf disclosed that some of the Front’s operations against the Syrian army were carried out in conjunction with al Qaeda’s Jabhat al Nusra.

Our military sources report that Syrian tank armor is not thick enough to withstand the BGM-71 TOW rockets. To save his tanks, Assad has shifted the brunt of his anti-rebel operation to heavy air force bombardments, which claim a heavy toll among civilians.

Washington is therefore confronted with its next decision about whether to give the rebels sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons as well.
According to our sources in Washington and Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov obtained from US Secretary of State John Kerry a commitment, when they met in Paris last week, not to supply the rebels with hand held anti-aircraft missiles.

April 7, 2014 | 12 Comments »

Leave a Reply

12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. @ honeybee:

    I am going to have the clips removed and turn into pendants.

    You are going to like this.(great minds think alike….. 🙂 )
    Way back, my wife has lost one earring. It was gold and blue topaz (Texas official gemstone…)
    So the way I made lemonade out of this, was to turn the one earring into a flower and add to it gold stem and leaves and turn it into a broach.

  2. mar55 Said:


    You live in the wrong state! I found a pair of earrings from Toledo,Spain, gold and engrave with Star of David, at the fea market. I am going to have the clips removed and turn into pendants.

  3. @ bernard ross:
    An excellent assessment of the situation. Obama was providing arms and training to the Jihadis through Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
    Benghazi blew up on his face and he tried to lay low until the crisis passed. Indirectly Obama is responsible for the false flag attack on the Syrians with chemical weapons provided by the Saudis. He should have been indicted for the crimes committed. He and Hillary are responsible for the loss of life in Benghazi. Impeachment is not enough for these criminals. To the gallows. Moderates? My foot. Appearances are only illusions. Trying to cover up but the manure of their behaviour after so many months still smells.
    Mr. Ross, you are very well informed. The clarity with which you present and expose your arguments is always on target.

  4. “I believe that this move by Obama is in retaliation for Russia’s move with Crimea and Iran’s uncompromising stand on A bomb negotiations. He can now apply lot’s of leverage on them by upping the support. Ted Belman”
    “It also denotes a striking change in Obama administration policy, ”

    I don’t agree. Obama was hot and heavy in the supply and training through Turkey, Jordan and Saudi before the Benghazi exposure. I believe that Obama had to back off from getting connected to the Jihadis which was happening in the Benghazi hearings and media reports. Furthermore, the accusation that the jihadis may have made the chemical attack probably frightened him and his party to back off so as not to endanger the Congressional mid terms or a possible impeachment or the possible revelation that a connection to the jihadis now, like in the afghan ’80’s, could strengthen the accusations of false flag at 911 and the Boston Marathon. I believe this also relates to the backing off Saudi, probably in agreement with Saudi AND the Saudi behavior to disassociate itself from the jihadis it funded, in public, and reinventing itself as moderate and against Jihadism. The finger instead was pointed at Qatar and the MB when in fact they had both been working together. I believe that the saudi qatar split is a sham, a show, and that basically everyone has been lying low. Qatar runs the MB, hamas and gaza and sudi the salfis and AQ(except ISIL which is baathist(syria). Now that Benghazi has ceased to be very noisy Obama can come back as if he is just starting to aid the jihadis, termed rebels, in an overt and legal way. Benghazi was illegal. I think the same is true re sisi and that after the sisi election Obama will return to support sisi as being the will of the egyptian people. Nothing actually changed except that the schedule was delayed by Obama backing off. I have said for a long time that there was an understanding with the US and GCC and Israel and i do not think this ever changed: only appearances and fake disagreements for public consumption. It appears by the location that there is an attempt to have the Syrian Golan put into the hands of the “rebels” in any fragmentation of Syria. They would be under the supervision of GCC and Jordan. I think they will agree a situation with the soviets based on positions on the ground, hence the need to get back ground for talks.

  5. Obama – or whoever forced Obama to do this – is a complete idiot.

    Stay out of Syria.

    Those rockets will be used against Israel.

    If Israel has to go in against Hezbollah, those missiles will end up in Hezbollah’s hands.

    Y’know. I bet this was as much anti-Israel, as anti-Putin.

    If Obama wants to stop Putin, then let them drill oil in the Arctic, the Gulf, and encourage fracking. Sell the oil to Europe – so they do not have to buy it from Putin – and bankrupt Putin; but that would actually accomplish something.

    Come to think of it, this has to do with Netanyahu standing firm.

    This is as much anti-Israel as anti-Putin.