Obama waives ban on arming terrorists to allow aid to Syrian rebels
Story Code : 303267
President Obama said Tuesday that he had the authority, under the Arms Export Control Act, to "waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction,” Washington Examiner reported.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., backed the president’s decision on providing military assistance to the Syrian opposition during an appearance on CBS Sunday.
"Our intelligence agencies, I think, have a very good handle on who to support and who not to support," Corker said. "And there's going to be mistakes. We understand some people are going to get arms that should not be getting arms. But we still should be doing everything we can to support the free Syrian opposition."
At congressional hearings early in September, while making the case for President Obama’s plan for military action in Syria, Kerry told senators that the armed opposition in Syria “has increasingly become more defined by its moderation,” implying that al-Qaeda-affiliated groups no longer made up the majority of the militants in the Arab country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Kerry, saying, "al-Qaeda units are the main military echelon.”
"It was unpleasant and surprising for me - we talk to them, we proceed from the assumption that they are decent people. But he is lying and knows he is lying. It's sad," Putin said, referring to Kerry.
The United States accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus on August 21. Russia, however, said that the foreign-backed militants staged the attack to incriminate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A proposal by Russia to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control has so far stopped US military strikes against the country.
A UN report said chemical weapons were used on a "relatively large scale" in Syria, without blaming Damascus for the attack.
However, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the report makes clear that the Syrian government was behind the attack.