Jordanian intelligence chiefs stole millions of dollars worth of weapons sent by the CIA to Jordan for Syrian rebels — and sold on the black market, Homeland Security News Wire reports.
Among the weapons stolen and sold are thousands of Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades. The CIA shipped the arms to Jordan so they could be delivered to rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Jordanian intelligence officers were able to steal the weapons because they had direct access to the cargo. These officers “regularly siphoned truckloads” of the arms, delivering only a tiny fraction of them to the moderate Syrian rebels.
A joint investigation by the Times and Al Jazeera reports that the Jordanian officers “reaped a windfall” from sales, using the money to buy iPhones, SUVs, and other luxury items.
The Pentagon became aware of the scheme a few months ago, after CIA informers who track the Middle East arms bazar s reported that arms dealers were bragging that they had large stocks of CIA weapons.
Jordan, acting on U.S. complaint, said it had arrested several dozen “low-level” officers involved in the scheme, but that these officers were later released.
Experts say the stolen weapons ended up in the possession of criminal networks or ISIS sympathizers.
The Telegraph reports that Jordan is one of the U.S. and Britain’s closest and most reliable allies in the Middle East, and that U.S. dependent on Amman for assistance in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the revelation is unlikely to cause serious damage to U.S.-Jordan relationship.
Observers note that since they were launched in 2013, the programs of both the CIA and the Pentagon in Syria have been plagued by problems. Despite these problems, the secret CIA program has successfully trained and equipped about thousand fighters, who have enjoyed considerable success in the first six months of 2015 in pushing back Assad’s forces in north-west Syria. But in September 2015 Russian jets joined the war in support of the Assad regime, concentrating on attacking the U.S.-backed forces, who posed a much greater threat to the Assad government than ISIS.
While the CIA was successful in training Syrian rebels, the Pentagon program was shut down after it failed to train enough fighters.