The source further revealed that the decision was aimed at improving the United States relations with Russia. It should be remembered that Russian government and Iranian governments have succeeded in protecting Bashar al-Assad government for the six years of civil war irrespective of CIA’s antagonism.
A Failed Program
In 2013, President Barrack Obama administration developed the CIA covert program with the aim of overthrowing Assad’s government. However, according to the sources, the program did not come to fruition. The Washington Post first revealed reports on the program suspension. However, during White House briefing, Sarah Sanders, White House spokeswoman refused to comment on the topic.
The CIA Went Mute
National Security Adviser H.R McMaster and Mike Pompeo, The CIA director, made the decision after consultations with lowly ranked officials. This decision was made before President Donald Trump met his Russian Counterpart Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit hosted in Germany. However, CIA declined to comment on the issue.
Contrary to majority’s opinion, this decision was not part of Russia-U.S, negotiations to end attacks on the Syrian government, the two sources revealed. According to the sources, this decision is not a major concession on the Assad-led Syrian government but a manifestation of how much the Trump administration is keen on improving U.S.-Russia relationship.
Russia Involvement in United States Presidential Elections
For the last few months, the Trump administration has been under intense scrutiny over its alleged collusion with the Russian government. The Congress and the special counsel investigating the case have mounted a lot of pressure on Trump’s administration. However, the U.S. government has denied the allegation. Moscow has also denied any claim linking them to meddling in the United States presidential election.
Why End the CIA Program
According to the source, a decision to stop the CIA concealed program is a bold move by President Trump. It is believed that some of the rebels funded by CIA defected and joined the Islamic States and other radical groups. With this noticeable defection, it is believed that even some members of the Obama administration supported halting the program.
In January 2017, President Trump hinted that he could end the CIA covert program once he assumed office. This is after it became clear that Bashar al-Assad was gaining a grip on power and managing to control most parts of Syria.
The decision by President Trump only halted CIA’s support to the rebels as the U.S. Military will continue with its efforts to arm, support and train other Syrian rebels. However, the Trump administration declined to increase its military support above the limits set by the previous government even after the Assad-led administration launched a chemical weapon attack.