U.S., allies agree on standards for which opposition groups in Syria will receive aid
By Karen DeYoung – 20 February, 2014 – Washington Post
The United States and its principal European and Arab allies have agreed on a unified way of providing Syrian rebel groups with aid, classifying them into those who should receive arms supplies and other assistance, those who are ineligible because of clear extremist ties, and those whose eligibility requires further discussion, according to U.S. and allied officials.
Along with new initiatives by the United States and others to increase weapons shipments, rebel training, intelligence and other support, the plan — set during a U.S.-led meeting of intelligence chiefs here last week — is designed to overcome divisions among governments that have been deeply split over which opposition groups to aid and what to supply.
“The idea is that no country will act unilaterally and all will abide by the same understanding,” said one Arab official. The official called the listing a “living document” that will be constantly updated as rebel alliances shift.
It is far from the first effort to organize outside assistance over the past two years of Syria’s grueling civil war. Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France and the United States, among those who participated in last week’s meeting, have often disagreed over how to bolster the opposition and undermine Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
But officials from several European and Arab governments represented at the intelligence gathering and at other high-level U.S. meetings in recent weeks — many of whom have complained in the past about a lack of administration leadership — said there has been a substantive shift toward a more aggressive U.S. posture and a willingness by others to follow that lead. …more