Western aid to Syrian rebels mountsAugust 15, 2012
Syrian rebels have been funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar from the outset of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. and Britain have become financially committed in recent months as well. Note the recent developments:
- “Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels”
- “US Authorizes Financial Support For the Free Syrian Army”
- “Syrian opposition group organizes to send funds to rebel army”
- “U.S. sets aside $25 million for non-lethal aid to Syria rebels”
- “UK offers more nonlethal aid to Syria’s opposition”
The Western aid fits the pattern of taxpayer money given as foreign aid to the foot soldiers of the Arab Spring. The first problem with the Syrian aid, as with the Egyptian and Libyan aid that preceded it, is that the cash winds up in the pockets of rebels who carry dual membership with Al Qaeda.
The second problem is that the Syria Accountability Act prohibits Americans from exporting goods to and doing business with Syria. The law permits federal aid to Syria if and only if Syria restores Lebanese sovereignty, renounces Hezbollah, and terminates its weapons of mass destruction programs. Those conditions haven’t been met.
Granted, the reported aid isn’t going to the Syrian regime, but the 2003 act does not make a distinction between the Syrian regime and Syrian dissidents.
Keep in mind that if you tried sending or selling supplies without a license to anybody in Syria, you would be arrested, put on trial, and convicted for export violations. Just ask Mazen Ghashim, who was convicted for export violations in 2008 for shipping computers to Syria.