Un apparentemente dettagliatissimo articolo del Wall Street Journal rivela che gli Stati Uniti, assieme ad Arabia Saudita, Emirati Arabi e Giordania, starebbero per dare il via ad un programma di aiuti militari a favore di alcuni gruppi di ribelli siriani con il duplice obiettivo di supportare la lotta contro il regime di Assad e di contro-bilanciare il peso dei gruppi jihadisti all’interno della resistenza.
The Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month, vastly expanding the Obama administration’s role in support of moderate forces battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to diplomats and U.S. officials briefed on the plans.[…]
According to new details of the American initiative, as described by the diplomats and U.S. officials, the U.S. plans to provide training, small arms, ammunition, and possibly certain types of antitank missiles. Saudi Arabia and other countries plan to provide antiaircraft weapons on a small scale to ensure their use is closely monitored, according to the officials.
The buildup will be gradual, officials acknowledge. U.S. and Saudi officials believe it will take months of arming and training before there are enough moderate fighters on the battlefield to make a meaningful difference on the ground against Mr. Assad’s forces and their Hezbollah allies.[…]
The effort is designed to strengthen moderate rebel forces, giving them more clout than Islamist fighters, and eventually to shift the momentum of the war in the rebels’ favor after months of gains by resurgent Syrian regime forces bolstered by an influx of Hezbollah fighters, officials said.
U.S. intelligence agencies now think that there are 2,500 to 4,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria.[…]
The CIA told diplomats it would take up to three weeks to ship all of the arms to bases in Jordan, where Americans and their Arab and European allies will vet and train groups of rebels in small clusters.
The first small groups of U.S.-armed rebels could enter Syria in late July or early August after an initial two weeks of vetting rebels and training in how to use the weapons, these officials said.
The CIA, in advance of Mr. Obama’s decision to provide American arms, had already begun to store weapons in warehouses in secret locations, diplomats said. Those stocks, according to the officials, encompass Soviet-era weapons, including ammunition for Kalashnikov rifles and armor-piercing antitank missiles.
The first rebel units expected to receive American arms already have military experience using Soviet-era weapons, reducing the need for more extensive training in their use. Many of the rebels are defectors from Mr. Assad’s armed forces.
U.S., Saudi and other spy agencies plan to work with rebels in groups of 10 to 20, according to the officials. Each will get vetted and then trained on the armaments they are to be given. Up to a few hundred of the fighters will enter Syria under the program each month starting in August.
At that rate, officials believe it will take about four to five months to reach “critical mass” to affect the course of events on the battlefield.[…]
The U.S. and Saudis are now in talks with France about pre-positioning French-procured arms in Jordan so that rebels can be trained on their use before Aug. 1 and be ready to enter the fight alongside American-equipped fighters, according to the officials. French officials declined to comment.