by Barb Weir
Friday, July 27th, 2012
“Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the License, the Syrian Support Group, Inc. (the “Licensee”) may export, sell, or supply to the Free Syrian Army (“FSA”) financial, communications, logistical, and other services otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13582 in order to support the FSA…”
According to Treasury License No. SY-2012-294747-1, dated 23 July 2012, the Syrian Support Group, Inc. (SSG) will be providing “otherwise prohibited” services to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) under the supervision of the Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions Policy at the U.S. Department of State. The license was announced on the SSG website syriansupportgroup.org after a copy was leaked to the public. According to the website, the SSG “was formed to promote the establishment of a free, independent and democratic Syria” and “we advocate military intervention by any willing country to ensure saving lives…”
These developments are astounding. It is extraordinary that the U.S. State Department would even have an Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions Policy. Usually, such places are called the Office of Humanitarian Liberation and Promotion of Prosperity Policy. We haven’t had that kind of honesty in government office titles since the Department of War was renamed, and our government should be commended for not hiding the financing of terrorism behind a cloak of euphemisms.
It is also an entirely new role for the military. Usually we think of doctors, fire departments and humanitarian agencies as saving lives, often in situations of military conflict. For military intervention to be tasked with saving lives rather than taking them is therefore also revolutionary, and we may hope that this daring experiment will succeed.
Finally, we are entitled to be astonished that the SSG would invite “any willing country” to join the military intervention in Syria. That could be quite an array. To date, Russia, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Libya and probably many more might qualify. If an invitation were extended to North Korea, I’m sure it would receive favorable consideration.
Indeed, the Syrian Support Group is blazing a new trail in uniting the militaries of all these countries in peaceful humanitarian efforts. The photos on their website of soldiers with weapons that they obviously have taken out of combat and intend to destroy are an inspiration to us all.