US meddling in Syria is no matter of question. But once again US dailies unveil sorts of Uncle Sam's interference.
The US famous "Wall Street Journal" newspaper uncovered Monday that the "US has been mounting a secret effort to speed the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad without using force."
According to the daily, "Washington scrambled spies and diplomats to block arms and oil shipments from Iran and passing intelligence to front-line allies."
"A centerpiece of the effort this year focused on getting Iraq to close its airspace of Iran-to-Syria flights which US Intelligence claim were carrying arms for al-Assad," it added.
Moreover, the paper mentioned that "the US has also tried to keep ships believed to carry arms and fuel for Syria from traversing the Suez Canal, with mixed results.
"The behind-the-scenes efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency, the State and Treasury departments and the military point to a broader American role in the campaign against Mr. Assad than previously acknowledged," WSJ reported.
It further noted that "the efforts have ramped up recently as relations with some in the Syrian opposition have warmed."
"Syrian opposition leaders acknowledge stepped-up contacts in recent months with State Department and CIA officials, mostly in southern Turkey," the daily clarified.
A senior US intelligence official said the administration recently decided to ramp up efforts to counter the Syrian regime.
"There is a renewed effort to crack down in any way possible," another senior US official said, pointing to stepped-up efforts to block certain shipments through the Suez Canal, which is controlled by Egypt.
Officials said "the US has been providing intelligence about developments in Syria to the Turkish and Jordanian militaries working closely with the rebels."
"Imagery from military-controlled satellites and other surveillance equipment includes details about Syrian military sites that could help rebels in targeting as well as in tracking the regime's chemical weapons," they added.
They also said "the CIA has provided intelligence... to some opposition groups and used its informants to work with opposition elements."
However, many Syrian opposition leaders complained to the daily that "the US hasn't done enough and says the efforts of regional allies such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, in some cases to ship arms, are more significant."
"The Americans say to us that they have allowed the regional players to help us, but if they think this is an achievement...then they should know this is weak and inadequate support," said Louay Mokdad, a logistics coordinator for the so-called Free Syrian Army.
In parallel, US officials admit the failure of their strategy in facing the strong al-Assad regime.
"House intelligence committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) said the effort "stops far too short of really having an impact because there are so many ways to get arms into Syria."
"We're just nowhere near where we need to be," Rogers confessed.
One example of the US approach-and of its limitations-came earlier this year when the US sought to pressure Iraq to curtail flights between Iran and Syria across Iraqi airspace. "That supply route opened wide after the US completed its troop withdrawal from Iraq in December," US administration and military officials say.
"The next month, the CIA picked up detailed intelligence that Iran was using an Iranian private cargo airline, Yas Air, to fly arms over Iraq to Syria," US officials claim.
The daily also revealed that "in late January and early February, the CIA began to track flights of Syrian government AN-76 cargo planes between Syria and Iran, a new tactic," a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman called the notion of arms shipments from Iran "baseless."
In a direct threat to Iraq, US administration carried a series of démarches in February and March. "US diplomats warned Iraq its failure to act against the flights ran counter to Iraq's obligations under UN Security Council resolutions."
US officials said "the effort to block resupply flights continues and includes a renewed focus on Suez Canal traffic."
Source: WSJ, Edited by moqawama.org