The United States has now joined Britain, France, Turkey and several Arab states to formally recognize the newly formed coalition of Syrian rebels fighting Bashar Assad.
In an interview on Tuesday with abc News, President Obama said that the Syrian Opposition Coalition “is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime.”
Diplomatically, this is “a big step” in the international anti-Assad campaign, said Mr. Obama. An Obama administration official said that this shift by the U.S. will see even closer support of the rebels, including the organizing of a post-Assad government in the future.
This formal recognition of the rebels came on the eve of the Friends of Syria meeting in Morocco, in which the U.S. joined 70 other member states in talks to help Syria’s opposition. With this much support and the intensifying fight for Damascus, Syria’s nearly 21-month civil war, as Reuters noted, “may be nearing a tipping point.”
While diplomatic recognition is a potent tool, the rebels need more than just that. The rebels desperately need weaponry more advanced than AK-47 assault rifles and shoulder-fired air defense missiles. Syrian Opposition Coalition member Abdelbasset Sida declared to Reuters, “We are nearing the end. Battles in Damascus are drawing very near to the inner sanctum of the regime and I do not expect Bashar to last for long.” But he also said, “Diplomatic recognition is not enough. We need military support. A transitional phase has started and we need the means to defend the liberated parts of Syria from regime strikes.”
Another member of the opposition, Riad Seif, said, “We are telling the international community that we don’t want their military intervention but we want them to supply us with developed anti-aircraft defense systems” to enforce a no-fly zone in the north. “The Syrian people,” he assured, “can finish off the battle within weeks if we get this support.”
The U.S., however, has explicitly stated that it will not be providing the Syrian opposition with arms, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are. At least not yet. A U.S. government official stated that Mr. Obama had not ruled out the likelihood of providing arms in the future.
America’s recognition of the rebel fighters that are now trying to end the Assad family’s 42-year rule is a big step toward regime change in Syria. It may open the way for the U.S. and/or other Western governments to bankroll the rebels to victory.
As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has been declaring for over a decade, Bible prophecy indicates Syria switching allegiance from Iran to an alliance of “moderate” Arab states and Germany. News headlines have been showing us precisely how this prophesied alliance would coalesce. To understand why Syria matters, read “How the Syrian Crisis Will End” and our booklet The King of the South. ▪