President Barack Obama on Monday announced he would waive the federal law intended to prevent the supply of arms to terrorists groups so the U.S. can provide arms and other military assistance to the Syrian rebels, the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke reports.
As TheBlaze has previously reported, a number of radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, have aligned themselves with the Syrian opposition in the quest to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would “waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction.”
Those two sections prohibit sending weaponry to countries described in section 40(d): “The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” Congress stated in the Arms Control Export Act.
“For purposes of this subsection, such acts shall include all activities that the Secretary determines willfully aid or abet the international proliferation of nuclear explosive devices to individuals or groups or willfully aid or abet an individual or groups in acquiring unsafeguarded special nuclear material,” the law continues.
The president of the United States has the authority to waive the restrictions if he “determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the United States.”
It is unclear how arming the Syrian rebels could possibly be interpreted as “essential to the national security interests of the United States.” However, Obama is making the case that Assad having chemical weapons is a nation security threat to the U.S.
Last week, the Washington Post reported on a “major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war” after the Obama administration went ahead with its promise to provide “lethal aid” to the rebels.
According to sources, arms shipments of light weapons and other munitions were delivered to the rebels as well as nonlethal gear like sophisticated communications equipment, advanced combat medical kits and vehicles.