U.S. withholds arms from Syrian rebels amid growing persecution of Christians
Congress has witheld funding for the weapons.
Congress is taking measures to protect American security where Obama won't. Congressional committees are delaying the delivery of arms to the Syrian rebels amid concerns they could end up in the hands of Jihadists and militant Islamists, and be subsequently used against Christians, Jews, and other allies.
Several al Qaeda affiliated groups have been identified fighting alongside the Free Syrian Army, and Congressional leaders want to see that weapons will not end up in the hands of terrorists. Committee members say that want more information on Obama's plans to arm these groups and what safeguards he intends to take.
They also want to know if the weapons will truly make a difference as Assad makes new gains against the rebels.
The committees have stopped the shipments by withholding funding.
While Obama does have the power to authorize the shipments, tradition remains strong, and a tacit agreement between Congress and the Oval Office says that shipments will not be delivered if one or more intelligence committees have a serious reservation about them.
The Obama administration noted when it promised the weapons that their shipment was contingent upon consultations with the committees.
Both John Kerry and the CIA have addressed the committees, saying that Assad has used chemical weapons and crossed a red line established by the administration. However, Congress remains worried that the weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists. The Obama administration is yet to satisfactorily address these concerns.
So far over 100,000 people have been killed by fighting in Syria. Many of those dead have been civilians killed in indiscriminate attacks as well as many killed in targeted attacks by both rebels and regime supporters.
Recently, it has become widely recognized that al Qaeda-friendly elements have started persecuting Christians in the region. Christians were relatively unmolested by the Assad regime, and have managed to remain neutral throughout the struggle. This has prompted accusations of collaboration by extremists.
Rebels have attacked Christian churches and martyred clerics in recent weeks.
It is unknown if U.S. aid will now be sent to Syria, and it appears as though the conflict will continue for the indefinite future.
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