Category Archives: Syria

Defense Industry Ties to Media Commentators and Think Tanks That Participated in Syria Debate

10/11/2013

PublicAccountabilityInitiative/LittleSis:

The following report documents the industry ties of 22 media commentators, and seven think tanks that participated in the media debate around Syria. These individuals and organizations have strong ties to defense contractors and other defense- and foreign policy-focused firms with a vested interest in the Syria debate, but they were presented to their audiences with a veneer of expertise and independence, as former military officials, retired diplomats, and independent think tanks.

This report details these ties, in addition to documenting the industry backing of think tanks that played a prominent role in the Syria debate. It reveals the extent to which the public discourse around Syria was corrupted by the pervasive influence of the defense industry, to the point where many of the so-called experts appearing on American television screens were actually representatives of companies that profit from heightened US military activity abroad. The threat of war with Syria may or may not have passed, but the threat that these conflicts of interest pose to our public discourse – and our democracy – is still very real.

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RAND – Airpower Options for Syria: Accessing Objectives and Missions for Aerial Intervention

RAND-Syria Mission Assessments

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U.S. Paying Syrian Rebels $150 Per Month

07/28/2013

The United States has been paying thousands of Syrian police officers who deserted the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Officials said the administration of President Barack Obama has approved tens of millions of dollars to pay the salaries of police officers who joined the rebels. They said the officers were working to maintain order in rebel-controlled territory, mostly in northern Syria.

“There are literally thousands of defected police inside of Syria,” Assistant Secretary of State Rick Barton said. “They are credible in their communities because they’ve defected.”

In an address to the Aspen Security Forum on July 19th, Barton, responsible for State Department stabilization operations, did not say how many Syrian police deserters were on the U.S. payroll. He said the officers were receiving about $150 per month, a significant salary in Syria.

 

The address marked a rare disclosure of direct U.S. aid to Sunni rebels in Syria. Congress has approved more than $50 million for the Syrian opposition, much of which has not been spent.

Barton said the police officers remained in their communities despite their defection from the Assad regime. He said the U.S. stipend was meant to ensure that they stay on the job.

“We’d rather have a trained policeman who is trusted by the community than have to bring in a new crowd or bring in an international group that
doesn’t know the place,” Barton said.

Barton said the rebel movement was awaiting a range of non-lethal U.S. equipment. He cited night vision systems and medical supplies.

Syrian Girl points out that it’s not just defected Syrian police officers on the U.S. payroll,  but rebel groups (many Al Qaeda affiliated) as well. Reports from both AFP and Channel4 in the past year show rebels who say they are getting paid the same amount, $150 per month.

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