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US needs Saudi money in arming anti-Assad militants in Syria: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
New report points to Saudi petro-dollars in funding US program on training militants in Syria. (file photo)

The United States depends heavily on Saudi Arabia’s financial support to arm militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says a new report.

Citing several current and former US officials, the New York Times reported Saturday that from the very moment that CIA launched its operation against Assad in Syria, “Saudi money supported it [operation].”

According to the officials, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the CIA takes the lead in training the militants on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.

The CIA began its covert operation in 2013 to arm, fund and train terrorists to overthrow the government of Assad. Militants, many of whom later joined the Daesh Takfiri group, were trained by it in Jordan.

Since 2013, the CIA has trained approximately 10,000 terrorists. The effort was separate from a failed US military program to train the so-called “moderate” militants to supposedly fight the Daesh terrorist group.

The report said the officials declined to disclose the amount of the Saudi contribution, but estimates have put the total cost of the arming and training drive at several billion dollars.

The Persian Gulf kingdom's financial contribution has by far been the largest from another country to the CIA program to arm the militants in Syria.

“They understand that they have to have us, and we understand that we have to have them,” said Mike Rogers, the former Republican congressman. Rogers was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when the CIA operation began.

The Saudi’s financial support to the White House simply explains why the US has been so reluctant to openly criticize the kingdom for its human rights abuses, its support for the Wahhabism that has inspired many of the very terrorist groups, as well as its war on Yemen, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 8,270 people in the Arab country.

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