Terming the weapons themselves are likely to have a relatively small impact, analysts see the timing of the leaks that US weapons are starting to show up in the hands of Syrian rebels as a carefully orchestrated release designed to send a message to “Assad and to his supporters like the Russian government.”
The message, at least on the surface, is that the Obama Administration’s policy toward Syria is still essentially what it was last week, with officials talking up war and working to aid the rebels trying to take over the country, despite Syria’s sudden ratification of Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
The exact amount of weapons is of some dispute, though they are believed to include only light arms and not any of the anti-aircraft weapons the rebels have sought, as they have promised to attack civilian aircraft and the US appears not to want to go down that road just yet.
The lack of such arms has prompted another round of angry condemnations from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which the US is sending the weapons to, saying that the arms won’t make a difference and that the US needs to dramatically escalate them. The FSA has also come out against Syria joining the CWC, because it seems to have forestalled US attacks they were hoping would install them in power.