Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Qatari FM: "I am astonished, ... Europeans are wrong!"

 'Mais ... Mais Laurent? '
"... Hamed bin Jassim Al Thani, prime minister and foreign minister of the Gulf state, told al-Jazeera TV that the decision was wrong ...On Monday EU foreign ministers agreed to extend the arms embargo on Syria for a further three months ...
"I am astonished at this decision," Bin Jassim said. "The rebels only want to be able to defend themselves. At the present time this is the wrong decision. It will only prolong the crisis."

1 comment:

Bandolero said...

Surprise, surprise. What might be the background that the emir is not pleased?

Looks like without more foreign weapons the rebels can't win. LA Times has just an interesting report on this:

Syria rebels say they don't have the weapons to end the war

Some key quotes from this piece:

1. Though rebels have made gains in the north and east, seizing military bases and checkpoints, opposition figures who had made predictions of quick victory now say their arsenal is at a level that can support only a war of attrition. "There will be no quick and practical end," said Nabil Amir, spokesman for the Damascus Military Council, a key rebel group.

2. Last year, a steady flow of predominantly light weapons, most shipped through Turkey from the gulf states, enabled rebels in northern Syria to destroy government tanks, down attack helicopters and fighter jets, and seize large swaths of Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

3. In the fall, under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Jordan allowed several shipments of light arms from the gulf to flow to opposition fighters in southern Syria, according to Lt. Col. Mohammad "Abu Saleh" Khair Harbaat, an officer with the Dara Military Council, the main rebel umbrella group in the region.

4. But it soon became clear that predictions of a quick victory were wildly unrealistic. Jordan has stanched the flow of small arms across its border and weapons shipments to the rebels from Turkey and gulf states have dwindled, said Mohammad Qaddah, a member of the 60-seat Syrian National Coalition and a civilian commander of the Freemen of Houran brigade in southern Syria. "What is clear is that fewer weapons are getting in and that it has had consequences on the ground," said a Western diplomat based in Lebanon. "The regime has had two pretty good months on the ground and the rebels are on the defensive."

5. An example of the rebels' unrealized expectations came late last year when commanders in the central province of Hama decided to capitalize on a sense of momentum. Anticipating an influx of heavy weapons from Arab and Western nations, they announced an offensive to seize control of Hama. On the first day of the operation, rebel fighters said they had seized almost a dozen towns and villages and numerous checkpoints. Three days in, they reported downing three MIG fighter jets using a Soviet-era antiaircraft weapon. But the fighters soon ran out of ammunition and the weapons they were expecting never arrived. Early this month, the last of the opposition-held villages fell back into government hands as rebels were forced to withdraw.

6. In early January, Jordan resumed small shipments to the militias, including some heavy weapons.