Not only are we sending $60 million in aid, but now we are actually training the Muslim Brotherhood fighters, aka Syrian rebels:
FOX NEWS – Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed to Fox News that the U.S. is training anti-Assad forces in the Syria conflict, saying Tuesday the hope is to convince President Bashar Assad to “change his current calculation.”
Kerry, speaking to Fox News in Doha, Qatar, became the first U.S. official to acknowledge the off-site training on the record. He would not go into detail about the training, describing it as “one part” of the U.S. effort and something that “a lot of countries” are doing.
“I think what President Obama is hoping is to build on what has already happened. The president put in place sanctions and that helps to strip some of President Assad’s ability to fuel his war machine,” Kerry said.
The New York Times previously reported on the effort to train Syrian opposition forces, quoting unnamed officials, but this is the first time the State Department has spoken openly about it.
“There are a lot of nations working at this,” Kerry said of the effort to pressure Assad. “And so I think President Assad needs to read the tea leaves correctly.”
As we point out every time, here are the groups that make up the Syria rebels trying to topple Assad:
CHICAGO TRIBUNE – Syrian rebel groups have chosen Brigadier Selim Idris, a former officer in President Bashar al-Assad’s army, to head their new Islamist-dominated military command, opposition sources said on Saturday.
The joint command named Islamist commanders Abdelbasset Tawil from the northern province of Idlib and Abdelqader Saleh from the adjacent province of Aleppo to serve as Idris’s deputies, the source said.
The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam. It excludes the most senior officers who had defected from Assad’s military.
Its composition, estimated to be two-thirds from the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, reflects the growing strength of Islamist fighters on the ground and resembles that of the civilian opposition leadership coalition created under Western and Arab auspices in Qatar last month.
And here’s why we are training them, because our government has granted them legitmacy:
FOX NEWS – President Barack Obama says the U.S. now recognizes Syria’s main opposition group as the “legitimate representative” of the country’s people.
Obama says the Syrian Opposition Council is now “inclusive enough” to be granted greater legitimacy in the international community. The president says that level of recognition comes with responsibility, including making sure the group organizes itself effectively and is committed to a political transition that respects the rights of women and minorities.
The move paves the way for greater U.S. support as the group seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Obama spoke in an interview with ABC News.