Sunday, June 30, 2013

Qatar Sends Shoulder Fired Missiles To Syria's Rebels

Qatar is punching above its weight, said one Western diplomat describing its aggressive foreign policy and arming of rebels. New York Times

Taking Outsize Role in Syria, Qatar Funnels Arms to Rebels -- New York Times

WASHINGTON — As an intermittent supply of arms to the Syrian opposition gathered momentum last year, the Obama administration repeatedly implored its Arab allies to keep one type of powerful weapon out of the rebels’ hands: heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles.

The missiles, American officials warned, could one day be used by terrorist groups, some of them affiliated with Al Qaeda, to shoot down civilian aircraft.

But one country ignored this admonition: Qatar, the tiny, oil- and gas-rich emirate that has made itself the indispensable nation to rebel forces battling calcified Arab governments and that has been shipping arms to the Syrian rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.

Since the beginning of the year, according to four American and Middle Eastern officials with knowledge of intelligence reports on the weapons, Qatar has used a shadowy arms network to move at least two shipments of shoulder-fired missiles, one of them a batch of Chinese-made FN-6s, to Syrian rebels who have used them against Mr. Assad’s air force.

Read more ....

My Comment: With a no-fly zone not in the cards, the Syrian rebels will need these shoulder fired missiles to offset the Syrian regime's advantage in the air. I also suspect that Saudi Arabia is playing a far bigger role behind the scenes on these weapon transfers.

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