Obama Inc. has chosen not to provide anti-aircraft missiles to the Free Syrian Army’s Islamist militias, but conveniently the Saudis have stepped in to provide those.
The practical difference is minimal. The Saudis are deliberately using Euro weapons for the same reason that the UAE shipped non-American weapons into Libya. Obama Inc. knew what the UAE was doing, but asked them not to use American weapons. It’s called plausible deniability.
American officials say that the United Arab Emirates first approached the Obama administration during the early months of the Libyan uprising, asking for permission to ship American-built weapons that the United States had supplied for the emirates’ use. The administration rejected that request, but instead urged the emirates to ship weapons to Libya that could not be traced to the United States.
“The U.A.E. was asking for clearance to send U.S. weapons,” said one former official. “We told them it’s O.K. to ship other weapons.”
I would say that the odds are good that this is what just happened with the Saudis in Syria. That Obama didn’t want to be associated with any potential fallout from providing anti-aircraft weapons to the terrorists and let the Saudis do it instead.
Saudi Arabia plans to supply the Syrian opposition with anti-aircraft missiles to counter President Bashar al-Assad’s air force, German news weekly Der Spiegel reported Sunday.
The article, citing a classified report received by the German foreign intelligence service and the German government last week, said Riyadh was looking at sending European-made Mistral-class MANPADS, or man-portable air-defence systems.
Der Spiegel noted the shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles can target low-flying aircraft including helicopters and had given mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan a decisive edge against Soviet troops in the 1980s.