15:49 GMT24 February 2020
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    The reported US supplies of Soviet-era munitions to Syrian rebels not only "openly violates" legal norms against financing terrorism, but also risks igniting a greater conflict across the Middle East, Scott Bennett, former US Army psychological operations officer and State Department counterterrorism contractor, told Sputnik.

    Untraceable Weapons

    Earlier, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) revealed in a report that Washington is allegedly running a $2.2 billion Soviet-era weapons pipeline for Syrian rebels.

    The Pentagon is reportedly working with contractors and subcontractors in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet bloc. The munitions are being delivered to US allied forces in northern and southern Syria.

    The Pentagon is providing Syrian rebels with Soviet-era weapons because "they are essentially untraceable, have an endless shelf life, and are also a financial currency that can be used to continue all conflicts," Bennett pointed out.

    Moreover, according to him, this fact is no surprise since it has been a "standard tactic of US diplomatic war strategy for decades and used against numerous countries over the past 70 years" in different parts of the world.

    Despite the fact that the Pentagon has denied the claims, Bennett argued that the report "should be used as an exhibit in a UN International Criminal Court indictment against the US for both war crimes and crimes against humanity."

    'Blatant Lie'

    The report also claimed that in the munition deliveries, the Pentagon has been using "misleading documentation" to bypass the norms of the UN Arms Trade Treaty that aims to prevent diversions of arms to terrorists or war criminals.

    In particular, the Pentagon is reportedly using certificates that list its Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as the final user of the supplied weapons, instead of mentioning Syria as the final destination. In theory, such a loophole may allow the equipment to be diverted to any army or rebel group, the report read.

    "The US documents and end-user certificates justifying the acquisition and distribution of these weapons indicate the US is deceiving the countries it is purchasing weapons from, the countries it is trafficking them through and claiming the purpose is for 'US defense' and stability operations," Bennet pointed out.

    He added that the US is using legally twisted language that is defining those fighting the legitimate Syrian government as "allies and partners in support of US training, security assistance and stability operations."

    "[This] is not only a blatant lie, … but a violation of the president’s order, the Congress, and the Constitution of the United States, as well as the United Nations’ laws and policies against terrorist financing," Bennett said.

    Moreover, he added, the continuous flow of US-supplied weapons to the Middle East risks plunging the region into an endless war and spreading hostility into the neighboring countries and regions. 

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    arms supplies, terrorism, military conflict, Pentagon, Syria, United States
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