Could Marines be called in to train Syrian rebels?


According to reports, the president is weighing a plan that would engage U.S. troops to train Syrian rebels, enhancing their military skills and capabilities. The big question remains: would Marines be tapped to conduct such training?

According to Lolita Baldor of the Associated Press, “any training would take place outside Syria, and one possible location would be Jordan.”

U.S. Marines of Tank Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), take part in the combined arms live fire exercise, the culminating event of Exercise Eager Lion 2013 in Al Quweira, Jordan, June 19. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael S. Lockett)

If approved, this training would expand on work being done to train small groups of rebels in Jordan in the use of communications equipment and certain weapons systems, according to her report.

“The new discussions center on whether the U.S. military should take over the mission so that hundreds or thousands can be trained, rather than just dozens,” Baldor writes.

“Any new training program conducted by the U.S. military would take time to put in place and likely would not begin until after any potential military action had been taken in response to the recent chemical weapons attack. It would require getting approvals from the host country, finding appropriate locations, getting the right number of personnel in place to conduct the training and setting up a vetting system to insure that instruction was not provided to any rebel groups that may not be friendly to the U.S.”

While the heady logistics–including a reported potential $500 million-per-year price tag–make the prospect of training Syrian rebels a far-from-certain possibility, it may well be a future job for the Marines.

Troops with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit were just in Jordan in June for 12-day exercise Eager Lion, which involved partner training missions with the Jordanian armed forces, as well as reconnaissance, field, and aircraft training exercises. These kinds of coalition training exercises are common for deployed MEUs. Over the last decade, Marines have also taken an active role in training Iraqi troops and Afghan National Army soldiers as the U.S. has worked to transition control for ongoing missions back to local authorities.

The U.S. reportedly played a role in training the militaries of 33 different countries in 2012. Much of this training was conducted by the Army, which has dedicated elements to complete such missions. The mission statement of the Army’s Special Forces element, the Green Berets, includes advising and training foreign militaries. But at this point, it’s all just speculation on a yet-to-be-made decision.

What do you think? Could this be a future mission for the Marine Corps?


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  1. We need to back up and regroup, yes we can, but at what cost. More KIA, Wounded! I think not! Give them the equiptment, so they can defeat their own Dictator. Former L/cpl T. Morning

  2. Could this be a future Marine Corps mission? Sure. We have MARSOC and of course conventional units training Afghani military/police and we did the same in Iraq.

    The question shouldn’t be could this.. the question should be should this? Now what exactly do we, as a Nation, gain? Overthrowing Assad? Well is that good for us or bad? It is well known that various extremists groups, who wish the destruction of the United States, are working to take power in Syria. If we do help the “rebels” how do we make certain that group doesn’t aim to kill Americans once they achieve their goals?

    While I’m, like I’m sure no-one here, a fan of the use of chemical weapons the problem is it appears it’s questionable that Assad would use them. It’s widely accepted that Assad has a chemical weapons capability (of course the same was about Saddam) but given the “red lines” and what not against the use of chemical weapons it appears to me that Assad had more to lose by using them then he did to gain. Why would he risk a US military intervention in order to kill a thousand people or whatever number they are saying?

    So who gains the most from the use of chemical weapons? Is it the rebels who were told that chemical weapons would bring a military strike against Assad? That seems logical to me. Of course I haven’t seen the evidence and well it doesn’t appear anyone has.

  3. I really believe we should learn from our past. We have help countries In their civil wars and later get bit in the ass. Why do we continue to call Sryian freedom fighters, Rebels?. Just give the freedom fighters the equiptment to topple their Dictator and stay out of their civil war. I know I might sound insensitive because of the gas of men, women and children…..but is this the work for United Nations troops? Whats next the Congo? That may be more important, but again United Nations. ..
    Their are too many countries around the world that hates our guts for getting involved with their neighbors. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Lebanon could do more better and get more results than us. Remember learn but our mistakes. Former L/cpl T. Morning

  4. The Marines are going to train AlQaeda and Al Nusra! How bizarre!

    No declaration of war from Congress. No War Powers Act authorization,no UN authorization,no NATO! No WAR!

  5. Question Marks? on

    Marine Corps Times is better than this. Two headlines with question marks this week? It is bad form to use question marks in headlines. According to Betteridges Law of Headlines: “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no'” AND “The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bollocks, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.” This and the 26MEU video story are kind of junior varsity… just saying.

  6. I am so glad I stumbled upon this site. Often wondered how the troops thought about the Syrian strike. As a concerned citizen I am against the strike, but then getting so much conflicting information it is really a difficult task to make an informed decision. There just is not enough evidence that Assad was responsible and what is media propaganda and what is not. After reading the comments reflect all of what the American public feels after all things considered. And I think this should be in the UN’s court.

    There are 1.5 billion muslims in the Islamic world, if a high percentage of them do not want a tyrannical government or Shania Islamic law, (that’s a lot of people) then they are quite capable of taking that government down.

    I hate wars and I think most decent folks do but I do believe that there are “just” wars. To protect the world from maniacs: Refs: WWI, WWII. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Hussein was a threat to the free world, not just the ME. And we do probably need to support those small countries that do have the means to fight totalitarian regimes. We need a very wise government to select those countries to get involved with and sustain and preserve a democracy.

    Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Thanks again and God bless you all.

  7. why not this way when they come to fight US they will be trained properly-and i love our beloved congress 95% of them have never been in combat or even the service But they can tell us how to run the military heck they can’t even run congress without kick back and other illegal dealings

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