Oct
08
2012

VMI speech, 10/08/2012: Mitt Romney will promise to arm Syrian rebels, if elected.

From the text of his prepared remarks:

In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.

If you’re wondering… there have been multiple reports (The Guardian, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post, and… the US State Department) that Iran has been shipping men and material to Syria (the men may be withdrawn fully soon, though).  And if you’re wondering how the local governments will react to Romney’s call for the arming of the Syrian rebels, it’d be pretty much a sigh of relief: the Saudi and Qatar governments have been hesitant about supplying aid to the rebels precisely because the Obama administration has frozen up on the subject like a rabbit in tharn*. I mention both of these things mostly for the benefit of Democrats and other natsec ignoramuses; I fully expect Republicans and conservatives to be already checked out on these things.   Not that I particularly expect that mentioning these things will keep the Left from whining anyway.

But then, having them try to explain why ‘helping Libyan insurgents’ = good while ‘helping Syrian insurgents’ = bad should provide the rest of us with some amusement throughout the morning.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Don’t bother looking for that analogy in the link: the New York Times would never put it in those terms.  What the NYT said was this:

For months, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels but have refused to provide heavier weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles, that could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war’s tide. While they have publicly called for arming the rebels, they have held back, officials in both countries said, in part because they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists. As a result, the rebels have just enough weapons to maintain a stalemate, the war grinds on and more jihadist militants join the fray every month.

9 Comments

  • jbird says:

    I don’t know. Helping out Libyan rebels hasn’t exactly worked out all that well. Just ask Mali and the State Dept.

  • Cameron says:

    While I don’t agree with the idea (Since arming folks in the Middle East bites us on the butt) I can see why he would want to support them. I just hope that if he is elected and he goes through with this, he has advisers on staff that know the country as well as they know the U.S.

  • Doug Stewart says:

    I, too, find it disconcerting just how often our guys end up getting shot with American-made weapons that aren’t given to TurkIndIsraeUnitedKingdaudiarabia.

  • acat says:

    Libya was .. poorly thought out. We didn’t so much “help” the “rebels” as “pour gasoline on a fire”. The country hasn’t got a long history of peaceful transitions of power, so .. we shouldn’t be surprised by chaos. We should, however, be demanding a hell of a lot more from the French and Italian beneficiaries.
    .
    As for Syria .. I am still a proponent of the Bush “flypaper” doctrine. Let ‘em fight there, so they won’t fight here. Who knows, we may get a stable government out of it. It’s not *likely* … but then the U.S. has been an exercise in improbability.
    .
    Mew

  • qixlqatl says:

    Yeah, this is one I don’t know what the “right” course of action might be. I suspect there isn’t one, only a bunch of bad alternatives to muddle through. It’s hard to have a sensible M.E. policy when the M.E. itself doesn’t make much sense, I guess.
    .
    What I do know is that B.O.’s f.p. record…. leaves something (everything?) to be desired, shall we say? So if he is choosing to do nothing, it’s probably exactly the wrong thing, if not the worst possible thing.

  • Cameron says:

    “It’s hard to have a sensible M.E. policy when the M.E. itself doesn’t make much sense, I guess.”
    .
    I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. ME = Middle East or Mass Effect. Either way, no decision is the right one and everything ends up in flames.
    :-)

  • qixlqatl says:

    LOL@Cameron. Never played ME, so that didn’t occur to me, but when you put it that way, I can see the parallel…

  • acat says:

    To your point, Cameron, there is a rational move .. and it is to keep the flames Way The {copulation} Over There.
    .
    In spite of any wailing, gnashing of teeth, and sackcloth-fashion of the Left, the winning moves are first to narrowly define “national interest” in a classical, semi-Jacksonian way, and second to act accordingly.
    .
    Mew

  • Doc Holliday says:

    His view on American strength is sound. I also agree with standing by Israel, strengthening Nato, and making Putin said by standing firm on missile defense.

    Whe we talk about arming Syrians, and even operations in Syria, I think we are heading back into the same ol’ weeds. You can’t really tell a friend from foe in that region, mainly because there are so few friends. So I guess you can tell the real friends, but after they fill out a fire team, what do you do with the rest of the people?

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