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Helping Syrian rebels wouldn’t benefit US / EU suspends arms deliveries to Egypt

The EU has restricted military aid to Egypt and condemned the violence in the county but has left other aid untouched. The US has yet to make a decision on the aid issue. Egypt has said the EU’s decision will only play into the hands of extremists.

Catherine Ashton the EU‘s foreign policy chief said on Wednesday that the EU is calling on all sides in Egypt to go back to the negotiating table.

"We strongly condemn all acts of violence and we do believe the recent actions of the military have been
disproportionate," Ashton told a news conference at the close of a four-hour meeting between the inisters.

"We will review assistance to Egypt but assistance to the most needy will remain, all member states feel very strongly they want to continue to support the people of Egypt," she added.

She said all 28 EU member states agreed to suspend export licenses for weapons or any goods that could be used for internal repression. She also said the EU would review their aid programs to the Arab nation.

All EU ministers “strongly condemned” the disproportionate use of force in Egypt by the security forces but also the violence perpetrated by those in opposition to the authorities.

Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, told the German broadcaster ZDF that their aim was to send a strong message to Egypt but also called for expectation to be realistic.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff does not believe the Syrian rebels would support US interests in case America helps them defeat Assad, according to General Martin Dempsey’s letter, obtained by AP.

In an August 19 letter to Congressman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Dempsey writes that the US military had the capability to destroy the Syrian air force and thus shift the balance of the two year old war in favor of the rebels. The General however doubts the reasonability of doing so.

"The use of U.S. military force can change the military balance,” Dempsey said. “But it cannot resolve the
underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.''

Engel is an advocate of increasing US military presence in Syria. He proposed the use of cruise missiles and other weapons against Assad-controlled air bases in his letter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dated August 5. Dempsey has on the contrary continually warned the country’s political elite against
stronger military commitment in the conflict, citing the US experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his letter, Dempsey points out the factionalism of the Syrian
opposition, not all of which shares the Western vision of the
country’s future.

“Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but
rather about choosing one among many sides,'' Dempsey says.
“It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to
promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their
favor. Today, they are not.''

Dempsey described Syria's war as “tragic and complex”,
which has been supported by the recent developments there.

On Wednesday, reports emerged of deadly chemical weapons use in
Syria, with conflicting accounts of the events in the media
giving the number of casualties from dozens to over 1,000. The
news came on the same day that the UN inspectors arrive in
Damascus to investigate allegations of use of

toxic arms.

The Syrian conflict has already killed more than 100,000 people, with atrocities being committed on all sides. On Tuesday, Kurdish militias battled against Al-Qaida-linked fighters in the northeast of Syria. Iraqi officials had to set up an entry quota for Syrian Kurds fleeing escalating violence against them in
what’s developing into a full blown side conflict of the Syrian war

When the House and Senate Intelligence Committees gave a green
light to arm Syrian rebels in July, Martin Dempsey was not
optimistic about the move, warning of the huge expenses military
options entailed, specifying that a no-fly zone over Syria could
cost the US between $500 million and $1 billion a month to maintain. He reiterated his concerns in the letter to Engel. “It is a deeply rooted, long-term conflict among multiple factions, and violent struggles for power will continue after Assad's rule ends,” he wrote. “We should evaluate the effectiveness of limited military options in this context.”

Dempsey thus supported the Obama administration's current policy
of providing humanitarian assistance and some limited help to
moderate opposition, saying that would be “the best framework
for an effective U.S. strategy toward Syria.''

Added: Aug-21-2013 Occurred On: Aug-21-2013
By: bengordon115
Other Middle East
Tags: EU, syria, egypt, US
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