US Used Ramstein Base to Arm Syrian Rebels, Without Informing German Govt

Unapproved Transfers Violated German Law

New reports on the ongoing US program to arm Syria’s rebels have brought focus on several different operations. Among these is evidence that the US used the Ramstein Air Base in Germany as a route through which to ship the weapons.

That’s a big problem, because all indications are that the United States never informed the German government of these shipments, nor is there any sign that Germany ever gave even tacit permission for such shipments.

That would mean that the transfers were a violation of German law, and while the German government will likely not make a huge deal out of it, that’s not to say it won’t have consequences. Public protests surrounding the US military presence in the country will likely grow stronger with the suggestion the US is willfully violating German law.

This is all the more problematic because US arms to Syria have been ineffective, with many arms ending up in the hands of Islamists. At times US arms are on both sides of Syrian battles, and have just led to more infighting. Germany’s surprise complicity in that doubtless won’t sit well with many.

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.