You better believe I edited this pompous shit – RB
Pindostan Readies ‘Plan B’ to Arm Syria Rebels
Adam Entous, WSJ, Apr 12 2016
FASCHINGSTEIN – The CIA and its local so-called allies have drawn up plans to supply more-powerful weapons to moderate rebels in Syria fighting the Russia-backed regime in the event the country’s six-week-old truce collapses, according to Pindo and other boxtops. The preparations for a so-called Plan B center on providing vetted rebel units with weapons systems that would help them in directing attacks against Syrian regime aircraft and artillery positions, the officials said. The WSJ first reported in February that Obama’s advisers were pressing the White House to come up with a Plan B to counter Russia in Syria. Since then, fresh details have emerged on the nature of the new weaponry that could be deployed under the covert program. The preparations were discussed at a secret meeting just before the cease-fire took effect on Feb 27 and in follow-on exchanges between intelligence services. In those meetings, there were provisional assurances from the CIA that the Turks & Toads would be given approval to expand support to Syria’s moderate opposition. Coalition members have agreed on the outlines of Plan B, but the White House must still approve the list of specific Plan B weapons systems before they can be introduced to the battlefield. Officials said the CIA has made clear to its allies that the new systems, once agreed upon, would be given to the rebels only if the truce and the concurrent political track toward a lasting peace fall apart and full-scale fighting resumes. A senior boxtop said of the CIA’s message to the rebels:
The agreement is to up the ante, if needed.
The discussions of Plan B come as representatives from the regime and the opposition prepare to resume negotiations in Geneva this week. Development of the weapons list is part of a broader behind-the-scenes effort by the Obama administration to deter Russia while preventing the Turks & Toads from taking matters into their own hands. The message conveyed to the Russians has been that the moderate opposition isn’t going away and that a return to full-scale fighting could end up putting more Russian pilots in danger. The CIA has twinned assurance to Turks & Toads that they will allow more weapons, with warnings not to provide Manpads. The CIA believes that rebels have obtained a small number of Manpads through illicit channels. The Toads have suggested tinkering with them to limit how long their batteries would last, or installing geographical sensors that would prevent them from being fired outside designated areas of Syria. Faschingstein has so far remained cool to these suggestions. Jackass Kerry in private meetings last week urged Turks & Toads to use their influence with the rebel groups they support to continue to abide by the truce. Violations of the truce have increased in recent weeks, raising fears that it could fall apart at any moment and spurring intelligence agencies to ready the Plan B package. The cessation of hostilities has become increasingly shaky. But boxtops say they don’t think it is on the verge of collapse. In private meetings with the Russians, Jackass Kerry and DCI Brennan have warned the alternative to the truce could be a dangerous escalation on the battlefield. An admin boxtop said in yet another paraphrase of this highly public ‘secret message’:
If the ceasefire collapses, if the negotiations don’t go anywhere, and we’re back to full-throttle civil war, all bets will be off, the outside patrons will double and triple down, throwing everything they can into Syria, including much more lethal weaponry.
Obama has been cautious about expanding Pindo support to the moderate opposition, much to the chagrin of Turks & Toads. The CIA’s covert program has grown gradually since it was launched in 2013 with limited supplies of small arms and ammunition. In 2014, the CIA introduced advanced antitank TOW missiles on the battlefield. More recently, the CIA has allowed some rebel groups to receive BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, though the quantities have been relatively small. Deciding which weapons systems to introduce on the battlefield, and to whom, has always been a difficult balancing act for the Obama administration. Turks & Toads have increased pressure on Faschingstein to up the ante in support of the moderate opposition in part by calling for the introduction of weapons systems that they know are a red line such as Manpads. To get Turks & Toads to back off their demands, Pindos have proposed alternative systems that Faschingstein believes would pose less of a proliferation danger. That is how they responded to calls by Turks and Toads for the introduction of a limited number of Manpads in Syria during the Plan B discussions. They are looking at different types of anti-aircraft weapons, including Soviet-era systems that would be less mobile. But batteries mounted on vehicles would be easier targets for Syrian and Russian aircraft.