Here you have, perhaps, some of that nonlethal assistance we’ve finally given to Syrian resistance forces, after all the guys friendly to us were whacked by Assad or their extremist rivals, and nobody’s left to receive the goodies but guys who are either Al-Qaeda, Iranian stooges, or some new and even more extremist Islamist barbarians.
Hat tip Pat Dollard, who suggests this is “Obama sending Al-Qaeda Navy SEALs sniper rifles.” Steady on, Pat. There’s another possible explanation.
This “Syrian Resistance” propaganda video shows Syrian jihadis firing an Accuracy International AS50 semi-automatic sniper system. The AS50 is AI’s flagship weapon, and is only available to select governments; they don’t even have it on their website. (They do have the discontinued bolt-action AW50 and its successor AX50, which should give you some ideas of how they think about the extreme-range gun and its MG-sourced round).
This video (and possibly Pat’s story, uncredited?) led to a rather overdramatic article, calling the AS50 “the world’s most powerful rifle,” and attributing near-magical properties to the weapon.
The AS50 is a good rifle, but it’s not magic. It’s a similar capability to the Barrett M107 (etc.) and the Serbu BFG-50A, but at a multiple of several times the price. You could argue that it’s less powerful than those worthy guns, as it has a smaller magazine (a 5-round single-stacker, instead of the 10-shot double-stack the Barrett and Serbu share). There are claims that the AS50 is much more accurate, but if AI is making those claims they’re not making them publicly, and we defy you to find an independent test of a production AS50 on the net, let alone a comparo between it and its competitors. AI itself makes quite humble, realistic range claims for its other .50s (1600m). One AS50 strength is that it is more compact and lighter than the now-standard-issue Barrett. Lighter is relative; it still weighs substantially more than a general purpose machine gun, and three times the weight of most sniper rifles. Here’s another video (thanks again to Pat Dollard for finding it).
AI’s has had financial woes and has struggled to fill orders, even for US Government customers. Along with those customers, known buyers include the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. While Pat Dollard was right to flag this as interesting, he’s premature to blame the provision of this weapon on the Obama Administration; Occam’s Razor suggests that the Saudis, probably the second largest financiers of terrorism after Iran (and the largest financiers of Sunni terror), are the source of the Syrian jihadis’ weapons.
Some wonder, to paraphrase Hillary, what difference it makes who wins in Syria. The Assad regime, a bona fide terror sponsor, is the face of authoritarian evil, despite the admiration that the New York literary set always has for a dictator with a good line and some visual style. And his jihadi opponents, while they squabble among themselves over fine points of Moslem supersitition, are the face of totalitarian evil — even more dedicated enemies of American interests than their Baathist opponents.
We have no friends among Islamists of any kind, and it’s more than a bit tiresome to see the same persons, news agencies, and institutions who were trying to sell the idea of “Yuri Andropov, closet pro-Western reformer” in the seventies, now breathlessly peddling “the reformers of the Taliban/Syrian Jihad/Hamas/Pasdaran/Moslem Brotherhood”, the target for the new appeasement. Or collaboration. It’s bad enough that they were unchastened by their misread of Communism; “no one could have known!” they wail, as if we who knew and were shouted down never existed. But they pronounce confidently on what Islamists believe, without any understanding of Qutb, of the Wahhabi/Salafists, or of the Deobandi movement.
They do not want peace with us. They want us to submit. Or die. In that, they are much like the Soviets. But the Soviets were materialistic and practical; these new enemies cannot, unlike Khrushchev, Brezhnev or, yes, even Andropov, be deterred. They teach murder and even death as sacraments in their blood cult.
Yet that’s who the bozos in the foreign policy establishment and the national command authority have put forward as our new allies in the region. There was a time when there was pro-Western resistance potential in Syria, but that time was squandered, and the pro-Western students and professors were the first casualties of Assad’s Baathist crackdown, any survivors the first victims of Islamist purification. They now dwell in dungeons or graves.
When the Syrian fight is over, what happens to the AS50s? Simple, they’ll be used by terrorists against US and allied targets.