Cables reveal covert US support for Syria's opposition
Newly released WikiLeaks cables show that the US had been funneling money to Syria's opposition for several years, even as it tried to reengage with President Assad's government.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Newly released WikiLeaks cables reveal that the US State Department has been secretly financing Syrian opposition groups and other opposition projects for at least five years, The Washington Post reports.
That aid continued going into the hands of the Syrian government opposition even after the US began its reengagement policy with Syria under President Barack Obama in 2009, the Post reports. In January, the US posted its first ambassador to the country since the Bush administration withdrew the US ambassador in 2005 over concerns about Syria's involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
The Obama administration has been trying to draw Syria away from its key ally Iran and closer to the US and its regional allies. The effort seems to have been largely unsuccessful so far, and antigovernment protests sweeping the country have complicated the issue. The US is struggling to determine how to support Syria's democratic protesters while not alienating the Assad government, which has cracked down brutally on demonstrations and blamed them on "foreign saboteurs," as The Christian Science Monitor reported last week.
That is a dilemma that concerned the US government even before the protests began. The author of an April 2009 cable expressed concern that some of the projects being funded by the US, if discovered by the Syrian government, would be perceived as "an attempt to undermine the Asad [sic] regime, as opposed to encouraging behavior reform."