By Yuram Abdullah Weiler

Unleashing Lethality: Obama OKs MANPADs for Syrian “moderates”

December 14, 2016

“[A]n ultimate goal of the United States continues to be a world which is free from the scourge of war and the dangers and burdens of armaments....”  —United States Arms Export Control Act

The Nobel Peace Prize winning U.S. president, Barack Hussein Obama, has issued an executive determination allowing the export of lethal weaponry to Syrian “moderate rebels.”  The decision by the U.S. commander-in-chief reflects the Washington regime’s utter lack of morality and underscores its desperation to effect regime change in Syria at any cost, even by arming al-Qa’ida-affiliated terrorists with MANPADS, Man-portable air-defense systems.

Citing efforts to fight terrorism in Syria and therefore within the scope of U.S. “national security interests,” Obama has authorized the transfer of lethal military articles and munitions “to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals.” In short, fanatics with links to al-Qa’ida or any other extremists supporting the Washington regime’s frantic efforts to topple the sovereign government of Syria may now legally acquire armaments itemized on the United States Munitions List.  Obama’s arms waiver not only brands his administration as a brazen violator of international and U.S. law, but also exposes his government as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Munitions List

Those arms made available to terrorists by Obama’s directive are enumerated in a document called the United States Munitions List, and are termed “defense articles and defense services pursuant to ... the Arms Export Control Act.”   The list includes, but is not limited to, fully automatic firearms, howitzers, mortars, recoilless rifles, flame throwers, rockets, bombs, grenades, land and naval mines, non-nuclear warheads for missiles, explosives and incendiary agents (to include HMX and RDX and their derivatives), tanks and other armored vehicles.  

Also included under the waiver, but not specifically mentioned on the Munitions List, are MANPADS, portable surface-to-air missile systems designed to be transported, carried and fired by one or more individuals. In any case, removing U.S. weapons supply restrictions to Syrian “foreign fighters” under the pretext of fighting terrorism appears to be an ill-conceived and thinly-veiled last-ditch attempt at regime change by a desperate lame duck president, and certainly flies in the face of alleged U.S. efforts to stop further MANPAD proliferation.

Arms Export Control Act

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) was passed during the administration of president Gerald Ford at a time of congressional concern over the sheer volume of U.S. arms sales to foreign governments, which amounted to $2.5 trillion among 128 nations.  The minimum intent of the act was to insure that any so-called defense articles sold were used exclusively for defense.  At a higher level, the act sought to promote peace by cutting worldwide arms sales, as the AECA text reads, “It shall be the policy of the United States to exert leadership in the world community to bring about arrangements for reducing the international trade in implements of war and to lessen the danger of outbreak of regional conflict and the burdens of armaments.”

The AECA can be viewed as a high watermark in the ongoing power struggle between the White House and the U.S. congress for control over U.S. foreign policy.  Attorney Peter K. Tompa explained, “As originally enacted, the AECA reflected congressional distrust of a strong executive.”  The congressional distrust had arisen over president Nixon’s role in distorting the realities of the U.S. war against Vietnam as well as his personal involvement in the Watergate scandal.  Thus, the AECA waiver for supplying U.S. arms to Syrian “moderate rebels” may be Obama’s parting shot in a continuing foreign policy battle between the executive and congress.

Peace prize presidency

The AECA tasks the U.S. president with the responsibility of convening a conference of arms dealers and state purchasers to “consider measures to limit conventional arms transfers in the interest of international peace and stability.”  Obama has not simply failed to live up to the spirit of the AECA, as has every other U.S. president from Ford to Bush II. On the contrary, he has escalated the contagion of conflict like none before him.  No doubt this is why former Nobel Peace Prize committee secretary Geir Lundestad expressed regrets at having awarded the medal to the Potomac potentate in 2009.

Perhaps it is because of heightened expectations of Obama, especially after the sordid presidency of the Crawford cowboy, that most are highly disappointed with him.  Or, perhaps it is because within days of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, he ordered 30,000 additional troops deployed to Afghanistan. For despite campaign promises to end his predecessor’s wars, Obama outdid Bush II when it came to American aggression.  Bush only bombed four countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.  But Obama not only has bombed Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria, but also has military operations in Cameroon, Central Africa, Jordan, Niger, and South Sudan.

Circular logic

Syria has been on the U.S state department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism since December 29, 1979.  Countries on this list are prohibited from receiving U.S. economic or military aid or importing defense articles, yet the criteria used for placing a given country on or removing it from the document seem to be fuzzy, if not entirely political, having little to do with terrorism.  

For example, North Korea, which reportedly has nuclear weapons capabilities in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was placed on the list by Reagan in 1988 and removed by Bush II in 2008.  Likewise, Iraq, another charter member, was first removed by Reagan in 1982 to enable the legal sale of U.S. arms to support Saddam’s war effort against Iran.  Returned by Bush I to the list in 1990 before the first Persian Gulf war, the country was finally removed by Bush II following the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation. 

Syria, probably for political reasons tied to the wishes of the Zionist regime, was made a charter member of this exclusive club of pariah states in 1979.  It is amusing to read the “Backgrounder” on Syria produced by the Council on Foreign Relations, whose logic for the placement of the country on the U.S. list seems quite circular.  To begin with, the author notes that Syria is considered a state sponsor of terrorism due to its support of groups on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, like Hezbollah and Hamas.  This could not be the reason for the original nomination, however, since Hezbollah did not appear until 1985 and Hamas not until 1987.  

Failing to shed light on Syria’s original sin, the author then concludes that Syria is indeed a state sponsor of terrorism because it “has been on the State Department list of countries sponsoring terrorism since the list’s inception in 1979.”  In essence, the argument is Syria is on the U.S. list because it is a state sponsor of terrorism, and we know that it sponsors terrorism because it has been on the list since 1979.

When someone, some group or some nation facilitates terrorists by providing increasingly lethal aid, by logical necessity, said party becomes an accomplice in any subsequent terrorist act perpetrated by the benefactor.  With Obama’s waiver, the U.S. has implicated itself as a state sponsor of terrorism and should therefore, at a minimum, place itself on its own pariah-state list.


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