Americans are learning more about the latest piece of major folly the United States has stumbled into in the Middle East, providing arms indirectly to Islamic extremists, considered to be our most important foe, in Libya and Syria.
Knowing that probably most Americans, including in the Congress,
would not want the United States to involve itself in the civil wars in
either Libya or Syria to the degree that providing arms to one side or
the other would have represented, the Obama administration decided
instead to provide arms, or money or other materiel translatable into
arms, to the Libyan and Syrian oppositions through third parties.
instruments chosen were Sunni Muslim Persian Gulf monarchies Qatar,
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. By involving them, the United
States knew that it would be handing off to these countries the choice
of recipients of the aid, including the arms. The CIA and the Defense
Department were also -- in spite of the holes in U.S. intelligence --
fully aware that both the Libyan and Syrian opposition included Islamic
extremists, with some groups affiliated with al-Qaida, even though their
links to that organization might have been unclear.
So now we
face the results. Post-Gadhafi Libya is still a seething mass of
well-armed militias, lacking governmental authority and any semblance of
law and order, more than a year after the death of Mr. Gadhafi. For
example, no arrests have yet taken place as a consequence of the
September killing in Benghazi of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens
and three of his colleagues.
This is entirely crazy in terms of logical policy. It could even serve
as evidence that the United States is not smart enough to play in Middle
East politics and war, particularly to provide arms. In the short run,
supply of U.S. arms to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
for transmission to Middle Eastern rebel movements should stop flat. The
United States arming Islamic extremist insurgents, sworn enemies, is
breathtakingly bad policy and should end now, before more damage is
done. (Full Story)