Biden denied it, declaring: “We are in the process now — and have been for months — in making sure that help, humanitarian aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the Turks believe, the Jordanians believe, the Saudis believe are the free forces inside of Syria. That is underway.”
Well, according to a report in this morning’s New York Times, Biden’s statement was not true.
“Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats,” the Times reports.
The paper quotes one U.S. official as saying, “The opposition groups that are receiving the most of the lethal aid are exactly the ones we don’t want to have it,” adding that “officials, voicing frustration, say there is no central clearinghouse for the shipments, and no effective way of vetting the groups that ultimately receive them.”
In other words, what Biden said was false. Worse yet, Biden knew his statement was untrue when he said it. According to the Times, “President Obama and other senior officials are aware [of this conclusion] from classified assessments of the Syrian conflict that has now claimed more than 25,000 lives,” adding the intelligence assessments “casts into doubt whether the White House’s strategy of minimal and indirect intervention in the Syrian conflict is accomplishing its intended purpose of helping a democratic-minded opposition topple an oppressive government, or is instead sowing the seeds of future insurgencies hostile to the United States.”
If this is the assessment of our intelligence community, why did Biden say the exact opposite in the debate last week? When Biden was asked during the debate why requests for additional security in Libya were denied, he pleaded ignorance and blamed the State Department, declaring: “We weren’t told they wanted more security there.” But in the case of Syria, the Times reports, the President and his national security team were told that the aid was going to “hard-line Islamic jihadists.” Yet Biden plainly asserted aid was going to “people who deserve the help” and “free forces inside Syria” and not jihadists. It is simply implausible that, if President Obama and his top national security advisers were aware of the intelligence assessments, Biden was not.