The Associated Press reports: The Obama administration is considering allowing shipments of new air defense systems to Syrian rebels, a U.S. official said Friday.
President Barack Obama’s possible shift would likely be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which has been pressing the White House to allow the man-portable air-defense systems, known as “manpads,” into Syria. Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday evening for meetings with King Abdullah.
Allowing manpads to be delivered to Syrian rebels would mark a shift in strategy for the U.S., which until this point has limited its lethal assistance to small weapons and ammunition, as well as humanitarian aid. The U.S. has been grappling for ways to boost the rebels, who have lost ground in recent months, allowing Syrian President Bashar Assad to regain a tighter grip on the war-torn nation.
The actual manpad shipments could come from the Saudis, who have so far held off sending in the equipment because of U.S. opposition. [Continue reading…]