Both classified documents and background statements by American and Middle Eastern officials confirm that most of the weapons sent to rebel forces in Syria are going to Islamic jihadists, according to a report in Monday's New York Times.
The jihadist elements among the forces fighting to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad have raised doubts about the U.S. role of providing intelligence and logistics support for arms shipments to Syrian rebels, arranged by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Washington's goal has been to help secular democratic groups overthrow the dictatorial regime and establish a democratic government friendly to the United States and its allies. Instead, the supply of arms may be "sowing the seeds of future insurgencies hostile to the United States," the Times noted.
Such a development would hardly be novel. During the 1980s, the United States supplied weapons to Saddam Hussein and to Afghans battling the Soviet invaders of their land. Then Saddam became the menace to be driven out of Kuwait and later Baghdad, while the anti-Soviet freedom fighters became the anti-Western terrorists in Afghanistan.
News of a misdirected effort in Syria could become embarrassing for the Obama administration and for the president's reelection campaign on the eve of Tuesday night's townhall debate at Hofstra University in Hampstead, New York.
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