After the White House noted there was no “military solution” in Syria on Thursday, President Obama requested Congress allow the expenditure of 500 million dollars to be spent on training and arming Syrian opposition forces in Syria, presumably so that they can find a military solution in their two plus year old battle against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian state military.
Recipients of the money — opponents of the Syrian government headed by Bashar al-Assad — will be vetted to make sure they are not members of terrorist groups, according to the formal request Obama submitted to Congress.
“This funding request would build on the administration’s longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed, and will enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
The administration’s budget request includes $1.5 billion for a “Regional Stabilization Initiative” in which the Syrian opposition would partner with neighboring countries Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
So that’s 2 billion dollars in total. It’s worth noting that the last time the U.S. attempted to give money for guns and “aid” to the moderate Syrian opposition much of it ended up in the hands of the extremist group Jabhat al-Nusrah which then used those resources against both the moderate Syrian opposition and Bashar al-Assad. That’s what happens when you lose a battle. The victor takes your stuff.
It’s also unclear just how many moderate Syrians are left fighting in the country unless Obama is talking about giving all the money to the Kurds in northern Syria. But, I’m sure it will all work itself out despite Secretary of State Kerry previously being completely wrong about the situation in Syria and much of that money and many of those weapons going to extremists who’ve sworn to end our way of life.