Poll: Americans back airstrikes, oppose arming Syria rebels

Published Tuesday, September 30, 2014

poll conducted by CNN revealed that the majority of American citizens back the US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but oppose sending military forces to the ground and arming “moderate” Syria rebels.

The poll showed that 73% of US citizens support the coalition’s air raids, however, they expressed concern regarding US plans to arm the so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition.

In Washington, lawmakers voted to authorize the training and arming of “moderate” Syrian rebels to combat ISIS, a move US President Barack Obama hailed as “an important step forward.”

However, the poll showed that while 42% support Obama’s proposal, 52% oppose it.

Moreover, 45% of the surveyed described ISIS’ danger as “very serious” and 23% said it is “fairly serious.”

When it comes to boots on the ground, 24% of Americans do not believe their country is going to send armed forces to the ground, while 36% said there is a “probability.”

US politicians against arming so-called “moderate” rebels

Former 16-year member of the US Congress and two-time US presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich wrote in an article for The Huffington Post on Wednesday entitled “8 Reasons Why Congress Should Vote No on Training and Funding Syrian Rebels,” that the moderates, the US wants to train and fund, captured an American journalist and sold him to ISIS, who beheaded him.”

Similarly, Former US Congressman Ron Paul, an outspoken anti-interventionist, denounced US plans to arm and train “moderate” rebels, noting that these Western-backed forces have been “helpful to ISIS.”‬‪

“The FSA turned over the weapons, that we (the US) sent them, to ISIS,” Paul said. “It is pretty well recorded that for $50,000 the FSA turned over one of the two American journalists to ISIS.”‬‪

In an interview with CNN, Barak Barfi, the spokesperson for the family of murdered American journalist Steven Sotloff, said that “moderate” Syrian rebels backed by the United States government sold Sotloff to ISIS.

“We believe that these so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold him probably for something between $25,000 and $50,000 to ISIS and that was the reason he was captured,” Barfi declared.

In his article, Kucinich quoted historian Alastair Crooke who described “moderate” rebels in Syria as being “rarer than a mythical unicorn,” and warned that “funding Syrian rebels will precipitate a new and wider war in the Middle East.”

“Saudi Arabia, which, with Qatar funded the jihadists in Syria, is now offering to ‘train’ the rebels,” which means that “the sponsors of radical jihadists are going to train ‘moderate’ jihadists,” Kucinich added.

Kucinich also described the US Treasury as becoming the “piggy bank” of ISIS.“

The US has supplied weapons to the Iraqi government and to Syrian rebels which have ended up in the hands of ISIS,” he explained. “As a result, the US Air Force has been bombing Humvees and armored troop carriers purchased with US taxpayer money.”

Likewise, Paul said the US sent weapons to rebel groups operating under the banner of the Free Syrian Army “in order to overthrow Assad” but these weapons “ended up with ISIS in Iraq.” After realizing that error, the United States decided that they “better help out the Iraqis again” by “going after these radicals.”‬‪

“We go there (to Iraq) and we blow up the weapons that we sent,” Paul added.‬‪

A recent study by the London-based small-arms research organization Conflict Armament Research revealed that ISIS jihadists appear to be using US military-issued arms and weapons supplied to the “moderate” rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia.

Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat, also opposed Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels, fearing the weapons could fall into the wrong hands.

“I oppose the president’s plan to arm Syrian rebels at this time,” he said. “We must have greater assurance that we aren’t arming extremists who will eventually use the weapons against us.”

(Al-Akhbar)

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