Saturday, April 21, 2018

U.S. poised to vet possible arms for Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON — As one diplomatic effort after another fails to end more than a year of brutal violence in Syria, the Obama administration is preparing a plan that would essentially give U.S. nods of approval to arms transfers from Arab nations to some Syrian opposition fighters.

The effort, the Associated Press says it was told by U.S. officials, would vet members of the Free Syrian Army and other groups to determine whether they are suitable recipients of munitions to fight the Assad government and to ensure that weapons don't wind up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked terrorists or other extremist groups, such as Hezbollah, that could target Israel.

The plan, which has not been finalized, reflects U.S. frustration that none of the previous efforts — including diplomatic rhetoric from the United Nations and the multinational Friends of Syria group, and special envoy Kofi Annan's plan for a cease-fire — has even begun to nudge President Bashar al-Assad from power. The vetting would be the first tiny step the United States has made toward ensuring that the Syrian opposition uses the weapons to fight Assad and not to turn it into a full sectarian conflict.

While some intelligence analysts worry that there may be no suitable recipients of lethal aid in the Syria conflict, the vetting plan has arisen as the least objectionable idea in a complicated situation.

U.S. officials stressed that the United States is not supplying military assistance to Assad's foes, the AP reported.

The administration's position remains that adding more weapons to the conflict is a bad idea and will only fan the fire of instability.

"We don't think that adding fuel to this fire is the right way to go," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"Our decision is to support the civilian opposition in nonlethal ways," she said. "There are other countries who have made other decisions. That's their sovereign decision to make. We've made our decision."

Comments
Watch Jeb Bush give a touching eulogy for his mom Barbara Bush

Watch Jeb Bush give a touching eulogy for his mom Barbara Bush

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was one of three speakers at the funeral for his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, on Saturday in Houston.Standing at the lectern in St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Bush said, "As I stand here today to shar...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Man, 20, arrested in killing of Durant High football player

Man, 20, arrested in killing of Durant High football player

Deputies arrested a man late Friday they say shot and killed Durant High School football player Grover Wills.Samuel Morrissey Jr., 20, was being held without bail Saturday at the Hillsborough County jail and faces a second-degree murder charge, accor...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cops used dead man's finger in attempt to unlock his phone

Cops used dead man's finger in attempt to unlock his phone

Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal. What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Barbara Bush eulogized as ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

Barbara Bush eulogized as ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

HOUSTON — Barbara Bush was the "first lady of the greatest generation." Addressing former presidents, ambassadors and hundreds of other mourners inside the nation’s largest Episcopal church on Saturday, historian Jon Meacham recalled Barbara Bush’s q...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

Not that Friday's game went as planned, but the Rays ended up with an 8-7 10-inning win, and they're going to trot out the same lineup tonight in hopes of doing it again.RELATED: Rays find a way to prevailLHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Texas 8th-graders asked to list positives of slavery

A San Antonio charter school has apologized after a teacher asked students in an eighth grade American history class to list the positive and negative aspects of slavery
Updated: 1 hour ago
Devils top D Vatanen out today vs. Lightning

Devils top D Vatanen out today vs. Lightning

TAMPA — Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen will not play today because of an upper body injury suffered during the first period of Game 4, coach John Hynes announced this afternoon.Mirco Mueller will replace Vatanen in the lineup.Game 5 be...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Roberta Flack cuts short her appearance at Apollo Theater

Roberta Flack cuts short her appearance at Apollo Theater

Roberta Flack has been rushed to a hospital after cutting short her appearance at Harlem's Apollo Theater because she was not feeling well
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

The government is investigating President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, but Trump says he's not expecting Michael Cohen to "flip" _ meaning cooperate in exchange for leniency
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man United prolongs FA Cup pain for Spurs by reaching final

Man United prolongs FA Cup pain for Spurs by reaching final

United prolongs Tottenham's FA Cup pain by reaching final
Updated: 1 hour ago