US shipment of F-16s to post-Morsi Egypt hits delay | Fox NewsFour F-16 fighter jets were scheduled to fly to Egypt on Tuesday morning as part of a U.S. military aid package worth more than $1 billion a year -- but the shipment has run into delays over apparent "political" issues. If the Obama administration is able to send the planes, it will mark the first known military aid to Egypt since millions of Egyptians protested the rule of Mohammed Morsi, leading the Egyptian military to remove him from power earlier this month.
Supporters say that such aid is critical because it gives the U.S. influence over the Egyptian military. But critics say it is a waste of money, or worse -- a gift of weapons that could later be turned against American interests.
The shipment has now been delayed at least 24 hours due to "political reasons," according to a source who works on the naval air base in Fort Worth, Texas, from where the planes were being sent.
Officials at the U.S. Department of State, asked by FoxNews.com about the unexpected delay, explained that "we are reviewing our obligations and are consulting with Congress about the way forward."
The statement refers to the legality of sending the planes to Egypt, which is questionable because of a 2012 law that forbids the president from sending military aid to any government that has come to power in a "military coup."
Obama to move forward with plan to arm Syrian rebels
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/23/politi...els/index.htmlReluctant approval from Congress for providing military support to Syrian rebels allows the Obama administration to move forward with plans first announced almost six weeks ago. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday that the goal of the military aid expected to include small arms, ammunition and perhaps anti-tank weapons is to keep the Syrian opposition going against forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Noting al-Assad's forces have been helped by Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as Iran, Carney said Syrian rebels need the help of the United States and allied nations to withstand an increased assault.
"The aid is intended to help the opposition resist Assad and eventually prevail," Carney said, adding that any resolution of Syria's civil war will require a political transition.
His comment appeared intended to soften any expectations that the rebels could topple the regime by military means alone.
A source speaking on condition of being identified only as an official said Monday that President Barack Obama can begin acting on plans for increased Syrian aid first made public last month now that concerns of Congress had been resolved.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers said Monday that his panel agreed to the administration's plan for military aid despite reservations about its chances for success.
"After much discussion and review, we got a consensus that we could move forward with what the administration's plans and intentions are in Syria consistent with committee reservations," the Michigan Republican said.
At a congressional hearing on Tuesday on next year's defense budget, GOP Rep. Rich Nugent of Florida said he worried that arming Syria rebels today could mean his sons in the military might face those weapons in the future, if they fall into the wrong hands.
Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra
Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra | World news | The GuardianThe well-resourced organisation, which is linked to al-Qaida, is luring many anti-Assad fighters away, say brigade commanders.
Syria's main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is losing fighters and capabilities to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist organisation with links to al-Qaida that is emerging as the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Evidence of the growing strength of al-Nusra, gathered from Guardian interviews with FSA commanders across Syria, underlines the dilemma for the US, Britain and other governments as they ponder the question of arming anti-Assad rebels.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said that if negotiations went ahead between the Syrian government and the opposition – as the US and Russia proposed on Tuesday – "then hopefully [arming the Syrian rebels] would not be necessary".
The agreement between Washington and Moscow creates a problem for the UK and France, which have proposed lifting or amending the EU arms embargo on Syria to help anti-Assad forces. The Foreign Office welcomed the agreement as a "potential step forward" but insisted: "Assad and his close associates have lost all legitimacy. They have no place in the future of Syria." Opposition leaders were sceptical about prospects for talks if Assad remained in power.
Illustrating their plight, FSA commanders say that entire units have gone over to al-Nusra while others have lost a quarter or more of their strength to them recently.
"Fighters feel proud to join al-Nusra because that means power and influence," said Abu Ahmed, a former teacher from Deir Hafer who now commands an FSA brigade in the countryside near Aleppo. "Al-Nusra fighters rarely withdraw for shortage of ammunition or fighters and they leave their target only after liberating it," he added. "They compete to carry out martyrdom [suicide] operations."
Abu Ahmed and others say the FSA has lost fighters to al-Nusra in Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and Deir al-Zor and the Damascus region. Ala'a al-Basha, commander of the Sayyida Aisha brigade, warned the FSA chief of staff, General Salim Idriss, about the issue last month. Basha said 3,000 FSA men have joined al-Nusra in the last few months, mainly because of a lack of weapons and ammunition. FSA fighters in the Banias area were threatening to leave because they did not have the firepower to stop the massacre in Bayda, he said.
The FSA's Ahrar al-Shimal brigade joined al-Nusra en masse while the Sufiyan al-Thawri brigade in Idlib lost 65 of its fighters to al-Nusra a few months ago for lack of weapons. According to one estimate the FSA has lost a quarter of all its fighters.
It seems like some people have lost their minds to deliver these weapons mentioned in the second article above.