The article below details the beginnings of US military training and force-building operations based in Jordan and directed against the regime of Bashar al Assad of Syria. To anyone who has followed the development of US military engagements from the mid 20th century up to the overthrow of the Ghaddaffi Regime in Libya the initial and essential role of the military “advisor” as precursor to larger troop and air power engagement is a familiar process. The article also mentions the preparations made for the use of French fighter aircraft in Syria as a possible means of going around the opposition of some US congress members to the direct overflight of US pilots in the planned attack on Syria.
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Abridged by Rawlinsview
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is considering a plan to use U.S. military trainers to help increase the capabilities of the Syrian rebels, in a move that would greatly expand the current CIA training being done quietly in Jordan, U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Any training would take place outside Syria, and one possible location would be Jordan.
The proposal to use the U.S. military to train the rebels – something the administration has resisted through more than two years of civil war – would answer the demands of some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to do more to train and equip the Syrian opposition. President Barack Obama in June decided to provide lethal aid to the rebels, but so far none of that assistance has gotten to the opposition.
The CIA has been training select groups of rebels in Jordan on the use of communications equipment and some weapons provided by Gulf states. The new discussions center on whether the U.S. military should take over the mission so that hundreds or thousands can be trained, rather than just dozens.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plan publicly.
The Pentagon already has at least 1,000 troops in Jordan, including trainers working with Jordanian forces. The U.S. left about a dozen fighter jets and a Patriot missile battery there after a recent training exercise.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told Congress that the U.S. military would be prepared to do more training for the Syria opposition if needed.
He provided more details in a July letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services, in which he laid out military options in response to the chemical weapons attack. That letter was sent before Obama announced plans to go to Congress to seek authorization for military strikes in Syria that would be limited in time and scope and would involve no U.S. troops on the ground there.
In hearings this week, some members of Congress complained that the Obama administration has not done enough for the rebels, while others strongly opposed any American military involvement in Syria. Lawmakers warned Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Americans are weary of war and are not willing to spend more money and risk more lives.
U.S. officials continue to say that any likely military action would be limited and bear no resemblance to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even the short military operation in Libya in 2010. Instead, it would center on cruise missiles fired from U.S. ships – including submarines – in the Mediterranean Sea.
France also has a dozen cruise missile-capable fighter aircraft at military bases in the United Arab Emirates and the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.