"... In some ways, John Kerry's $60m is a curious proxy for the far more consequential flow of arms that is now resuming, a flow that the US wishes to disclaim in case it goes wrong and, like stolen weapons from Libya, results in dangerous weaponry seeping out of Syria's borders and into the fragile states around it.Given the fluid connections between Syria's myriad rebel factions - Islamist, jihadist and secular alike - even meticulous vetting will not entirely prevent this.
Some will complain that the money is needed elsewhere.
The United Nations has said that $1.5bn in pledged aid simply hasn't appeared, with donors more interested in making eye-catching policy announcements than following through. The refugee crisis on Syria's borders is especially acute.
In early December, the Guardian reported that the CIA had issued an assessment predicting that Assad would fall within eight to 10 weeks. That time is now up. But American policy will move slowly. The tighter the vetting, the thinner the arms flow.
The US priority now is less to accelerate regime change than it is to salvage the West's reputation in Syria and make a belated effort to weaken the jihadist forces which have done so well out of this protracted struggle...."