While most people are focusing on the Syrian ceasefire, which has held since February, as an opportunity to negotiate a settlement to the civil war, the US and its “vetted rebels” are looking beyond it, making plans for the day when it collapses.
According to officials familiar with the situation, the CIA has been drawing up a “plan B” for the collapse of the peace talks, which will see a massive new influx of US weapons to “moderate” rebel factions, in another attempt to shift the war in favor of those groups.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because the CIA already had programs for arming “vetted” rebel factions earlier in the civil war, programs which ended with those groups no more powerful, and large amounts of US weapons winding up in the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
“Plan B,” then, is really just America’s long-standing plan A, which has already failed, rebranded with a different letter, because nominally the US has to pretend it believes in the peace process it’s so eagerly planning for the collapse of.
The same plan, only moreso, as officials say the CIA is also planning to send even more powerful anti-aircraft weapons to the rebel factions, with an eye toward shooting down Syrian warplanes.
And Russian ones. With Russia now directly involved in the war, providing weapons to shoot down Russian planes seems a deliberately provocative action for the US, and ill-timed since they are supposedly negotiating a deal to team up against ISIS.
Though US officials continue to insist that the fight against ISIS is their primary focus in Syria, the import of anti-aircraft weapons reflects the administration’s priorities, which as ever involve fighting against Russia.