Syrian Rebels Push US to Resume Failed CIA Arms Smuggling Scheme

Program Ended Up Sending Substantial Arms to ISIS, Other Islamist Groups

The multi-year CIA arms smuggling program in Syria was one of the most embarrassing failures of the US war there, and that’s really saying something. Massive amounts of arms were shipped to Syria with little accountability, and subsequent studies have shown a lot of the arms ended up with ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamist factions.

But there’s no idea so bad they might not try it again, at least that’s the reasoning of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who have sent a delegation to court the US about the possibility of restarting the program.

The pitch centers on President Trump’s hostility toward Iran, with the FSA arguing that a great way to prove how much he hates Iran would be to resume arming the Sunni rebels in Syria to fight against Iran and their allies.

Its not clear how this wold even conceivably work at this point, however, with most of the rebels holding little to no territory in Syria, and the CIA never particularly good at making sure their arms get to the intended factions. Resuming the smuggling would likely just compound the problem of US arms making the rounds to various Islamist factions that will ultimately use them to fight the US.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of