It appears that Obama's decision to send arms came too late to matter. Thank heaven. This will slow the drift to another bigger Mideast war. MHG
NATO: Assad Prevailing in Syria
Special to WorldTribune.com
July 21, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "WT" - LONDON — NATO has determined that President Bashar Assad ended any short- or mid-term threat from the Sunni revolt in Syria.
Officials said NATO, in consultation with Western intelligence agencies, assessed that the Sunni rebel campaign against Assad failed over the last three months.
The officials said Assad’s military, backed by Iran and Russia, would capture major rebel strongholds with the exception of northern Syria by the end of 2013.
“Currently, the tide seems to have shifted in his [Assad] favor,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on July 18.
Officials said the assessment led to a decision by several leading NATO countries to halt lethal weapons shipments to the Sunni rebels. They cited Britain, France and the United States.
“The rebel campaign has deteriorated dramatically since April and now it’s not clear who is fighting Assad or who is just getting a paycheck,” an official said.
The NATO assessment asserted that most of the Syrians involved in the revolt — including those in the Free Syrian Army — were no longer fighting the Assad regime. Instead, the bulk of combat has been assumed by foreign fighters, most of them affiliated with Al Qaida.
“They [Syrian rebels] are frustrated and angry at the world for not stepping in and helping,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a tour of a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. “I explained to them I don’t think it’s as cut and dry and as simple as some of them look at it.”
In mid-July, both Britain and France signaled their opposition to any weapons shipments to the Syrian rebels. Officials said the two countries, which until June were the most supportive of arming the opposition, determined that any major weapons shipments could end up with Al Qaida militias.
“There are certain conditions that need to be met before eventually sending weapons,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
“For now France has not modified its position. We have the ability to do it, but we haven’t delivered any lethal weapons.”