US ‘Vetting’ in Syria Boils Down to a Handshake

Officials to Use Same Route for Arms as Medical Aid

Significant questions among Congressmen about how the Obama Administration intends to “vet” the Syrian rebel factions it plans to arm centered around a lack of specifics on the plan. Today’s report from the State Department is likely to just enhance those concerns.

Officials say that they intend to essentially use the exact same loose process that’s been in place for smuggling US medical and food aid to rebel factions when they begin smuggling in lethal weapons.

“I sign the paperwork, and shake the hands of the FSA official. I wish them well and walk away,” one State Department official noted. In essence, the process is a handshake and hoping for the best.

Small amounts of money and medical aid have been shipped this way, though much of the promised aid never got around to be delivered because the State Department was concerned about the disorganization of the groups involved, primarily the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the SNC.

It is this same exact flawed process that’s going to be used to throw weapons at the rebellion, and while State Department officials say it seems to have worked in the past, that’s mostly because little worth stealing has been sent.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of