France Pushes EU to Arm Syrian Rebels

Hollande Insists Unproven Allegation of Chemical Weapon Plan Justifies Arms

With Britain already insisting that either the European Union needs to abandon the arms embargo on Syria or it is simply going to ignore it, France is now joining in, claiming it is vital for Europe to start throwing weapons, en masse, at the rebel fighters.

French President Francois Hollande is citing a claim that Bashar Assad is planning to use chemical weapons, something neither proven nor backed by anything but a single comment from Israeli officials, as justification for sending arms to the rebels.

France and Britain have been keen to intervene internationally in recent years, with both of them leading the charge into imposing regime change on Libya, and France also invading Mali earlier this year. The complexities of Syria’s civil war make it fraught with difficulties as well, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the interventionist ardor.

Indeed, though there is no indication that they’ve been successful at all in funneling the aid to specific recipients in the past, officials are claiming the growing number of al-Qaeda linked rebels is a justification for the arms as well, with their own aid going to “more secular” groups, at least in theory. The reality, of course, is that on the ground there is not a “secular” rebellion and a religious one, but rather a single rebellion, mostly led by Islamists, and no matter who the packages of arms are addressed to, they’ll spread quickly throughout the movement.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.