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British Lord Ashdown: 3,500 tons of arms have been shipped almost exclusively to the more jihadist groups in by way of Croatia with the assistance of the CIA, funded by the Saudis, funded by the Qataris – “I know where those weapons are coming from. They are the weapons left over from the Bosnian war. They are being shipped out in large measure through Croatian ports and airports and I can tell you they are making vast sums for corrupt forces in the Balkans. Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, spoke out against arming Syria’s rebels and called for pressure to be put on Qatar and Saudi Arabia to cut off funding for arms.

July 5, 2013

Ashdown: Syria ‘front-line in wider conflict’

1 July 2013 Last updated at 21:20Help

Former Liberal Democracy Leader Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon has claimed that Syria is the “front line in a wider conflict” involving an attempt to build up a radicalised jihadist Sunni population to fight a war against Shia muslims.

The peer, who served as the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002-06, argued against sending weapons to the Syrian rebels: “They do not need arms. It is an unchallenged figure that 3,500 tonnes of arms have been shipped in by way of Croatia with the assistance of the CIA, funded by Saudis, funded by the Qataris, going almost exclusively to the more jihadist groups.”

On 1 July 2013, Lord Ashdown went on to describe the rebels as “not a fit and proper collection of people for us to be providing arms to”.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Baroness Warsi told peers: “Let me be clear, no decision has been taken to provide lethal support to the opposition.”

She assured peers that if the government were to pursue arming the rebels, it would be “in coordination with other nations in carefully controlled circumstances” and in accordance with the UK’s obligations under international law.

“Parliament would be engaged before any such decision was put into action and the House would not be denied an opportunity to make a decision on this issue”, she added.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Falkner of Margravine argued that arming the rebels was an option at this stage, because “again and again the UK has intervened in conflicts when they have already commenced” referencing Libya and Kosovo.

But Lord Ashdown said he knew of “no occasion” when a route to peace was to provide more weapons.

The Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton, called for an intensification of the diplomacy process and said that removing President Assad could not be a forgone conclusion.

Former Foreign Minister Lord Howell of Guildford argued that there must be a common global approach with China and Russia, and said “any attempt without this will fail”.

And former United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon and crossbench peer Lord Williams of Baglan called for Western engagement with the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-lords-23134429

Syria: 3,500 tons of weapons already sent to rebels, says Lord Ashdown

Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, spoke out against arming Syria’s rebels and called for pressure to be put on Qatar and Saudi Arabia to cut off funding for arms.

Lord Ashdown: Syria: 3,500 tons of weapons already sent to rebels, says Ashdown

Lord Ashdown described the rebels as “not a fit and proper collection of people for us to be providing arms to”.  Photo: JEFF GILBERT
Robert Winnett

By , Political Editor

6:36PM BST 01 Jul 2013

“They do not need arms. It is an unchallenged figure that 3,500 tons of arms have been shipped in by way of Croatia with the assistance of the CIA, funded by the Saudis, funded by the Qataris, going almost exclusively to the more jihadist groups,” the former international high representative for Bosnia said in a debate.

“I know where those weapons are coming from. They are the weapons left over from the Bosnian war. They are being shipped out in large measure through Croatian ports and airports and I can tell you they are making vast sums for corrupt forces in the Balkans.”

Lord Ashdown described the rebels as “not a fit and proper collection of people for us to be providing arms to”.

Britain and France favour arming the rebels, while in a change of policy Washington recently announed it would supply direct miltiary aid to opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. Officials have said they would select “moderate rebels” for assistance.

Lord Ashdown said he knew of “no occasion” when a route to peace was to provide more weapons.

He said Syria was the “front line in a wider conflict” involving an attempt to build up a radicalised jihadist Sunni population to fight a war against the Shia.

“This is about the preparations some are deliberately making to have a wider religious conflict,” he said.

He said there was a “really serious diplomatic route” to take to remove the “steam” out of the conflict.

“If it is the case that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are today funding the very jihadists against which we are fighting, why are we not using international pressure, the United States, the European Union, to persuade Saudi Arabia and Qatar to stop, to prevent this?” he said.

“It seems to me we should not stumble towards arms when there is diplomacy still to be played out.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10153629/Syria-3500-tons-of-weapons-already-sent-to-rebels-says-Lord-Ashdown.html

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