October 15, 2014

CIA Says Its Often Not Effective to Arm Rebels

Should we arm the so-called moderate Syrian rebels? It’s been a contentious question for more than two years. A new study from the CIA about arming rebel groups over the past few decades indicates it’s not typically as effective as we’d like. The New York Times reports, “The still-classified review, one of several C.I.A. studies commissioned in 2012 and 2013 in the midst of the Obama administration’s protracted debate about whether to wade into the Syrian civil war, concluded that many past attempts by the agency to arm foreign forces covertly had a minimal impact on the long-term outcome of a conflict. They were even less effective, the report found, when the militias fought without any direct American support on the ground.” Given the president’s refusal to commit ground troops, arming rebels we often can’t tell apart from ISIL seems an especially bad idea.

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