Britain Not So Eager to Arm Syrian Rebels

Growing Evidence of al-Qaeda Links Has Brits Thinking Twice

After spending most of the months of March and April trying to convince the European Union to abandon an arms embargo on Syria and allow them to start throwing weapons at the rebellion, officials familiar with the situation say that the Cameron government is growing averse to the idea, with al-Qaeda’s cozy relationship with the rebels apparently a big factor.

Experts describe Britain as “less gung-ho” than before, and there is growing consensus that the wholesale armament once advocated would lead to those arms being used against Israel and other nations across the region.

Britain seems to be following a similar aversion from US officials about the plan, with Jabhat al-Nusra’s public merger with al-Qaeda likely a big part of forcing that rethink and ending the claim that the rebels are uniformly pro-West.

France so far hasn’t shown any indication of a similar rethink, and cautioned against using the Nusra merger as an excuse to stop backing the rebels. Still and all, the diplomatic momentum the rebels once had may be slipping away as the reality of their fighters on the ground gets more apparent.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.