Obama Wants $500 Million to Train and Equip Syrian Opposition

The sum comes out of the president’s new Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund.

National Journal
Kaveh Waddell
Add to Briefcase
Kaveh Waddell
June 26, 2014, 12:05 p.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama has asked Con­gress for $500 mil­lion to train and equip mod­er­ate ele­ments of the Syr­i­an op­pos­i­tion.

The sum is part of a $1.5 bil­lion Re­gion­al Sta­bil­iz­a­tion Ini­ti­at­ive that would also es­tab­lish part­ner­ships with Syr­ia’s neigh­bors — Jordan, Le­ban­on, Tur­key, and Ir­aq — to off­set the threat of ex­trem­ism that has already over­flowed in­to Ir­aq. In ad­di­tion, it would help these coun­tries deal with the hun­dreds of thou­sands of refugees who have been dis­placed by the fight­ing in Syr­ia.

This ini­ti­at­ive draws from the Coun­terter­ror­ism Part­ner­ships Fund, a $5 bil­lion pro­gram the pres­id­ent an­nounced at West Point in May.

“These funds would help de­fend the Syr­i­an people, sta­bil­ize areas un­der op­pos­i­tion con­trol, fa­cil­it­ate the pro­vi­sion of es­sen­tial ser­vices, counter ter­ror­ist threats, and pro­mote con­di­tions for a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment,” said Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil spokes­wo­man Caitlin Hay­den in a state­ment on Thursday.

The U.S. already con­ducts secret CIA-run pro­grams to train the mod­er­ate op­pos­i­tion in Syr­ia, but this new ini­ti­at­ive would broaden its in­volve­ment in the coun­try.

This an­nounce­ment comes days after the pres­id­ent pledged to send up to 300 mil­it­ary ad­visers to Ir­aq to train and co­ordin­ate with Ir­aqi gov­ern­ment forces in their battle with IS­IS, a Sunni mil­it­ant group. The Syr­i­an op­pos­i­tion, like in­ef­fect­ive gov­ern­ment forces in Ir­aq, will likely prove dif­fi­cult part­ners in the fight against ex­trem­ism in the re­gion. But as the ap­pet­ite for mil­it­ary in­ter­ven­tion in the U.S. hits his­tor­ic lows, the pres­id­ent turns to stra­tegic part­ner­ships such as these in hopes that a loc­ally led coun­ter­of­fens­ive would be viewed as more le­git­im­ate and would be more likely to bring about last­ing sta­bil­ity.

What We're Following See More »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
1 days ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
1 days ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
1 days ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

NEVER TRUMP
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

Source:
×