by John Glaser
February 19, 2014

The United States met secretly this week with spy chiefs from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The subject was the Syrian civil war and how to better support the rebels, which are by and large al-Qaeda-linked jihadists.

David Ignatius at the Washington Post:

Western and Arab intelligence services that support Syria’s struggling opposition gathered for a two-day strategy meeting in Washington last week that appears to signal a stronger effort to back the rebels.

The spymasters’ conclave featured Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s minister of the interior, who will now supervise the kingdom’s leading role in the covert-action program.

The Nation‘s Bob Dreyfus says this is “a sign that the [Obama] administration’s commitment to diplomacy is fading, and that Obama is prepared to let the covert operators go to work with a freer leash.”

“Sources” told David Ignatius that these Arab countries “agreed to coordinate their aid so that it goes directly to moderate fighters rather than leeching away to extremists of the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”

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