Saudi Arabia welcomed the announcement from President Barack Obama and the administration as they reported they are considering shipping a defense system to Syrian rebels—something the country has been insisting on from the White House. Specifically, those supplies would be a man-portable air-defense system, known as “MANPADS.”
The possibility that shipped anti-air missiles could fall into the wrong hands and be used against civilian airliners is a major topic of concern among defense officials. Some are stating this might be the wrong move, warning of a scenario in which the missiles could fall into the wrong hands and take down civilian airliners.
Back in January of this year, David Petraeus, current KKR Global Institute Chairman and former CIA Director, stated, “As you know, that was always our worst nightmare, that a civilian airliner would be shot down by one. Which is why we were so concerned when they moved around.”
In 2011, thousands were found and looted when Gadhafi’s reserves went unprotected. At the time, the United States were unable to secure and collect thousands of the MANPADS. Now sources are stating that hundreds of the missiles could be in the hands of an Al Qaeda group.
Obama still has a rising concern about the escalating weapons and firepower on the ground in Syria, but officials state the change in thinking could be influenced by the U.S.’s greater understanding of the composition of the Syrian rebels.