Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Technology May Cut Risk of Giving Syrian Rebels Stinger Missiles

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the solution-to-the-wrong-problem dept.

The Military 279

Hugh Pickens writes "PBS reports on a proposal of arming Syrian rebels with a force equalizer to make a decisive blow against Bashar al-Assad's ruling regime — an idea that has so far failed to take hold inside the Obama administration because of serious concerns about flooding a troubled region with dangerous weapons that someday might fall into the wrong hands. Could sophisticated weapons, such as anti-aircraft missile systems, be outfitted with mechanisms that would disable them if they fell into the wrong hands? According to military analyst Anthony Cordesman the U.S. could modify Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank weapons with batteries that cease functioning in a few weeks or months or the weapons could be built to require authentication codes before they are enabled to work. "I think it would be relatively decisive," says Cordesman. ... Another idea is to install GPS-disabling devices so that Stinger missiles only worked in a designated geographic area, such as only in Syria. Such weapons, it is believed, might tip the balance in favor of the rebels in the same way that Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, provided by the United States to the Afghan Mujahedeen, helped expel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Cordesman stressed that this type of weapon would have to be thoroughly tested to make sure the controls work and could not be undone. 'You could not transfer these types of weapons without these types of protections. You simply have no way to know where they would end up, how they would be transferred, what would happen to them.'"

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

DRM for weapons? (4, Insightful)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#41892341)

paging DVD Jon

Re:DRM for weapons? (3, Insightful)

oobayly (1056050) | about 2 years ago | (#41892391)

Exactly, because we all know how well it's worked before. Clearly the rebels are thought of as primitives and that none of them will have the expertise to work around the restrictions and use them as they so desire.

Syrian Rebels ARE the WRONG HANDS! (1, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41892615)

Syrian Rebels ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Al Qaeda. []

But the Libyan "rebels" were Al Qaeda imports, too. Just the distortion field of western corporate media makes this "Arab Spring" bullshit.

Re:DRM for weapons? (3, Funny)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41892405)

Oh come on, what could possibly go wrong with this clever plan? :)

Re:DRM for weapons? (2)

rvw (755107) | about 2 years ago | (#41892409)

paging DVD Jon

You better call the RIAA. I bet they can get all those weapons back and trick these guys (the terrorists I mean) into paying them for the favor.

what could go wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892349)

history will simply repeat itself if we don't learn from it.

Re:what could go wrong? (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41892761)

history will simply repeat itself if we don't learn from it.

Sadly, the kind of people who study history are not the kind of people who wind up in power.

Re:what could go wrong? (4, Insightful)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about 2 years ago | (#41893285)

I would argue that the people in power did study history and want to repeat it.

Good idea... (5, Insightful)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41892351)

We don't want these guys using this stuff against our own troops once our gov't betrays them (isn't that Uncle Sam's standard MO?).

Re:Good idea... (4, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41892421)

This sounds great until you consider how innovative people in the middle east have been with weaponry during the recent wars there. I'm skeptical that the security on these things would survive the first set of batteries.

Re:Good idea... (4, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41892481)

I give dealextreme and aliexpress 3 weeks before they're selling the hardware needed to mod these SAM's (with free China Royal Mail shipping to Syria, obviously). :p

Re:Good idea... (1, Troll)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 2 years ago | (#41892543)

yes, like a replacement battery.

Unfortunately for the buyers, the parts will take 4 months to arrive, and do so in a crunched, twice-folded, resealed padded envelope (though because it wasn't an R4 cartridge, it went smoothly through HK customs).

At any rate, I thought the Obama administration made it clear the Syrian rebels were too secular (Turkish-backed) to be supported. Even if this "authorization code" scheme only needs a new battery to defeat it, they still won't get any material support from the US unless the Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaida are backing the rebels.

Re:Good idea... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41892591)

No doubt, on both counts.

Re:Good idea... (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41892821)

I thought they were too evil to be supported?
They are committing just as many atrocities as Assad.

So far what exactly has the MB done that is so scary? They are too religious for my like, but so are the republicans.

Re:Good idea... (4, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#41892941)

I thought they were too evil to be supported?

What if they hold a war and don't invite us?

Re:Good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41893239)

I'm pretty sure they'd just use the explosive parts to make IED's...

Re:Good idea... (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41892599)

Oh, come on, what are they worried about? Next thing you know, you're going to be telling us that the guy who organized terrorist attacks on the US had gotten CIA training and funding, or that the guy who the US decided was evil incarnate in 2003 only had gotten his hands on WMDs through the largess of the Reagan administration. I mean, that's just crazy talk.

Re:Good idea... (2, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41893173)

Geography fail.
It was called Iran-Contra.
Not Iraq-Contra.
Saddam never got any weapons from Reagan.
You got the wrong country.

Re:Good idea... (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41893293)

my bad. thought you were same guy talking abotu "iraq contra" further down. (edit button would be nice...what is this, 1995?)

Re:Good idea... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892911)

afaik the USA has still not agreed to stop using dumb landmines a weapon that pretty much only kill and maims innocent civilians and now they are concerned about few missiles that will probably be used or broken long before the fight is over?

US Military (1, Troll)

camcorder (759720) | about 2 years ago | (#41892353)

Doesn't US military and government have better things to do, other than supporting prospective pro-Islam terrorists; in past Osama, and now Rebellions in Syria and Fettullah in Pennsylvania?

Re:US Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892427)

but.. but.. but if US gov't doesnt motivate/educate/indirectly finance terrorists, who will be The Designated Enemy? those goatherders will never be a credible threat without western know-how and tech :(

Re:US Military (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41892485)

The military are not arms peddlers. They are consumers. This is Hillary making a sale. The "DRM" is an attempt to make it look palatable. If they could cut off all weapons sales, there wouldn't be a war in Syria, or that the very least, a much less destructive one.

Re:US Military (5, Insightful)

fifedrum (611338) | about 2 years ago | (#41892487)

The rebels in this case are committing attrocities left and right, they're flying the flag of Al Queda, they're not our friends, and they're not the enemy of our enemy in a way that makes it valuable to help them out. We have no business being in any of these rebellions from Libya all through the middle east.

That's just insanity and screw you main stream media and leftists and democrats for not screaming bloody murder about it.

Re:US Military (4, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41892559)

We have no business being in any of these rebellions from Libya all through the middle east.

On the contrary, we have BIG business in these 'rebellions'. Just remember, it's strictly business.

Re:US Military (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#41892567)

They're not our friends now? You mean like how we armed all of Iran so they could fight those darned Soviets?

Re:US Military (4, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41892739)

History fail.

Re:US Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892999)

you should pay more attention in history, it was Iraq the US armed to fight Iran and Afganistan to fight the USSR, big part of ending th cold war so it might have been worth it

Re:US Military (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892775)

"That's just insanity and screw you main stream media and leftists and democrats for not screaming bloody murder about it."

Whereas the rightists are perfectly happy with it as long as Ayrabs die and corporations profit. BTW do you consider Fox (largest audience MSM) to be leftist? I suppose you do not know that Mittens wants to start a war with Iran? The left may be useful idiots but you a useless idiot.

Re:US Military (0)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41892811)

Why was this modded insightful? This idiot has gotten no facts right yet.

Atrocities? You mean like shelling and killing civilians in towns as they flee the fighting?
No wait that was the syrian government the rebels are fighting against.

Yes Al Qaeda is trying to involve itself, because they need the good will, the PR. But the rebels are not themselves Al Qaeda, and the rebel leadership have repeatedly denounces any association with the group, wanting nothing to do with them.

You have to be a troll. Given /.'s general leftist lean, and how simply bad you make everyone on the other side look (the one bad apple that spoils the bunch), you have to be a troll.

Re:US Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892855)

Two step process.

1. Give the rebels a winning victory in the name of democracy and freedom
2. Al Queda wins. We tip out hat to them shortly before blowing ever last one of those mother fuckers from the sky.

Both principles and national security have been enforced. Everyone claps, troops come home, and we can leave to play Whac-A-Mole for another day.

Re:US Military (3, Insightful)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#41893137)

The rebels in this case are committing attrocities left and right, they're flying the flag of Al Queda, they're not our friends, and they're not the enemy of our enemy in a way that makes it valuable to help them out. We have no business being in any of these rebellions from Libya all through the middle east.

That's just insanity and screw you main stream media and leftists and democrats for not screaming bloody murder about it.

ah you've seen "Charlie Wilson's War", then, i take it? remember the analyst's advice? the CIA *funded* the Taliban in a fight against Russian-funded incursions in a black-ops operation that started out with a budget of i think it was $USD5m that ended up around half a BILLION dollars.

the same analyst *also* said, "look - these guys you're funding - the Taliban - yes you're winning the 'war' but you're tearing their country apart to do it. afterwards, you're going to have to help rebuild their infrastructure, otherwise they're going to get PISSED. it's not going to cost much, but you've gotta do it".

so, this guy - charlie - takes the analyst's advice and goes off back to congress, just like he did for the other operations. the film dedicates i think it is about 1 minute to this part of the war. in this scene, the film portrays - against a background of silence devoid of "dramatising music" to get the point home - some unbelievably crass politician basically says, "well we won the war, what are you complaining about, son?"

you might want to think about that before mouthing off about things are going out there, yeah?

Re:US Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41893209)

The rebels are a bunch of people who just want what you have today, and take for granted: the right to choose their own government. They don't want be ruled by a dictator who is willing to murder his own people to cling to power. Yes, the movement is in danger of being hijacked by extremists but most of those fighting are just average people who are willing to risk their lives to be free. And definitely there have been reports of abuses by the rebels but they pale compared to what the Assad regime is responsible for. What the US should do next is debatable. But if you claim to believe in American values like liberty, democracy, and the consent of the governed and you don't believe we have a moral obligation to stand with people risking their lives to fight tyranny, you're nothing but a hypocrite.

What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892355)

So now, instead of just being able to fire their Stinger missile, they'll have to learn to change the batteries first. Or hack a authorization code on a machine they have full physical access to.

Come on, are you joking? If the tone of the article was "at least it's a speed bump" that would be one thing, but...

GPS give time (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#41892359)

If you give them an 'expiry date' then they can't be used for future incidents. Couple that with geographical lock and it should be fairly safe.

Re:GPS give time (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892389)

A good job you can't Spoof GPS signals [] . Otherwise that would totally not work.

Re:GPS give time (1, Redundant)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41892429)

Feh, pounding a nail with a screwdriver. Just figure out which trace has the "enable" signal on it, and tie it to +5.

Re:GPS give time (3, Informative)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#41892619)

Why would you design a secure system with an easily bypassed circuit? The GPS circuit can prove authentication to the other electronics by signing all locations and instructions with a private key. These systems need a lot of in-flight stabilisation and navigation so just shorting the "FULL POWER" line on the hardware controls isn't going to get you very far.

The spoofing doesn't work on the encrypted military GPS, it can only be jammed, so if they make that the only source for the location spoofing doesn't work either. Of course, their enemies could jam the encrypted GPS to prevent them firing, but such is the nature of these things.

Re:GPS give time (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41892781)

For the same reason drone videos are broadcast unencrypted. Here in reality these will be cheaply modified and easy to bypass.

Replacing a battery is easy and what you are describing will make the weapon totally useless as Assad would just jam it.

Re:GPS give time (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | about 2 years ago | (#41893123)

The spoofing doesn't work on the encrypted military GPS, it can only be jammed, so if they make that the only source for the location spoofing doesn't work either. Of course, their enemies could jam the encrypted GPS to prevent them firing, but such is the nature of these things.

But then we would have to give the rebels our GPS decryption keys for the check, which rotate often times unpredictably. Given that we don't even give those keys to most of our allies, or even our own soldiers on the ground that have a reasonable risk of being captured, I'd say that that idea is likely not going to fly.

Re:GPS give time (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 2 years ago | (#41892445)

Geographic lock? We've seen how well DVD region codes work.

I'm sure General Dynamics will double the price for these added features. And then offer to remotely disable them ... for a nominal fee.

Re:GPS give time (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#41892691)

DVDs don't have military encrypted GPSs attached to them.

Re:GPS give time (2, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#41893011)

The more complex you make a system, the easier it is to make it fail.

Even if you managed to put in a 100% crackproof DRM system based on GPS, this makes the weapon useless - the opposition will just start jamming GPS signals.

Definition of Oxymoron (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892369)

"force equalizer to make a decisive blow"

What am I to do? (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41892377)

The batteries in my stinger missile have gone dead! What will I do?

The poster picked an apt comparison: it's just like when the US trained and gave weapons to the Afghans against the Soviets. How's that one working out for you guys?

Re:What am I to do? (2)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41892469)

You really dont understand the time scale between the two conflicts do you? Or the differences in what we gave them then, and what they use today?
Also that training? It wasn't a bootcamp. It wasnt combat skill training. "We trained them"...that phrase is so generic, so ambiguous, so utterly worthless. The media use it and it implies that we created a force that was as well trained as any of our basic troops. Guess what, that isnt the case.

Most of those enemy combatants for one thing are NOT the same ones we "trained" originally (re: they're mostly dead or too old to fight). Most of the EC's use spray and pray tactics. They used to fire rockets at our base at wiring up a russian RPG launcher on a timer and pointing it in our general direction and then getting the hell out of dodge. Effectiveness? None.

You really, really need to learn what you're talking about before you open your mouth.

Re:What am I to do? (2)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41892551)

addendum to myself:
Now as to the original topic, of course this could backfire. Almost anything can. The typical guy who uses the weapon, no he wont be able to jury rig it to bypass the controls. But not all of them are rural yokels. Someone will eventually rig a few to get around it. So the thought that they can control who uses it, is flawed to begin with, and should be rejected. If you release the weapons into the wild, you should be prepared to see them again later.

That said, we very rarely give people our best shinies. The more we distrust them, the older the stuff we give them.

Re:What am I to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41893249)

Nobody says that US created a force in Afghanistan as well trained as US Army. However, they had training camps in Pakistan and China, so it WAS a bootcamp. Also, a billion dollars a year US + Saudi Arabia invested in Afghan guerillas was not exactly pocket change back in the 80-s. Afghans must have learnt something.

Re:What am I to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892521)

Well to be fair it succefully kept afghanistan right wing.

Re:What am I to do? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41892625)

The weapons were not given. They were sold. This is America's, and Europe's biggest, most reliable business with these regions, seeing as they have a small consumer market for iPhones and Walmart. And a lot of it is under the table.

How's it working out? Looking at the numbers, I would say it's working out spectacularly. Business is booming!

Too Late (-1, Troll)

Phil-14 (1277) | about 2 years ago | (#41892417)

Over the last two years we gave the Moslem Brotherhood two countries (Libya and Egypt) with very substantial military arsenals, including a large stockpile of shoulder-fired missiles of Russian origin that are arguably better than 1980's-era Stingers. Two months ago these people _we put in power_ apparently killed our ambassador to Libya on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. It's too late to apply any technical fixes to the problem of whether-or-not we can trust them.

Re:Too Late (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 2 years ago | (#41892493)

"apparently" you mean "pulled out of my ass 5 seconds ago" amirite?

Re:Too Late (5, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41892499)

Like the previous poster I replied to, you also need to learn what you're talking about.

The MB was not the ones responsible for the attack on our ambassador.
Nor did "we put them in power" or "give them two countries".
Nor do those countries have "very substantial arsenals".

Re:Too Late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892545)

Thank you sir.

Re:Too Late (1, Troll)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41892571)

Oh don't even try, the type of ignorant pillock who thinks that anyone foreign is everyone foreign (i.e. Osama Bin Laden was foreign, so all foreigners are terrorists) can't be reasoned with. They're lost causes beyond help so utterly caught up in their ignorant nationalistic mindset that all hope of anything of value coming from their mouth on a topic involving somewhere outside of their home country is long lost.

Re:Too Late (-1, Offtopic)

fifedrum (611338) | about 2 years ago | (#41892513)

and then the so-called commander-in-chief let those people into the white house! It's an outrage, and he should certainly not be reelected today, he should be impeached starting now, get him out of office before he can negotiate a deal with those terrrorists

Re:Too Late (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41892627)

ZOMG. Alert the presses! The leader of the free world in his role as chief diplomat invited the leader of another nation, one we have poor relations with, to the white house to talk, to negotiate, to do, you know, diplomatic stuff! SHOCKING!!!

You are as ignorant as you are racist. no I dont like these countries that dislike us a whole lot either. But the man wears multiple hats. The job of POTUS isnt to just shoot first and talk later. Teddy Roosevelt said it best: "Talk softly, but carry a big stick." The POTUS is both the chief diplomat, our face to the world, and the CIC of our military, our head general effectively. The diplomat side talks, the CIC side is the big stick. Shooting first cannot work unless you kill every last one of them because anyone left alive will hate us eternally, and full scale genocide will endear us to no one. So we talk. We be diplomatic. We dont shoot first, we are not Han Solo. We shoot when provoked, when talking has failed, when it is the last option.

Re:Too Late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41893113)

The only person who mentioned race was you. Perhaps you're the racist?

Re:Too Late (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41893271)

Or perhaps you should read what he posted here and in other places? And do you even know the definition of the word? I've railed against overuse of the word before. But even I'm pretty sure labeling all middle easterners terrorists qualifies.

AC's strawman of redirection is hit for 9000 critical damage. AC loses.

Re:Too Late (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41892813)

So diplomacy is no longer part of the presidents job?

When did we make that change?

Try not to cry to much when Romney loses.

what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892561)

The US ambassador to Libya was killed by al-Qaeda, not by the Muslim Brotherhood and the US surely did NOT put either in power.

The US didn't do very much in Libya.

The US gave substantial military arsenals to Libya and Egypt? Where did you see that? I can not find anything anywhere on the internet to back that claim.

Where in the World are you getting this information from?

Anyway, round and round we go in the Middle East. The US needs to pull out completely - including ending all support for Israel. The Middle East is this tar baby that has brought the US nothing but death and heart ache and we have received no benefits from the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been spent there in military action and foreign aid.

And it's the principal of thing: we have no business sticking our noses in places that don't belong.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41892437)

The authentication methods are buggy or can be easily circumvented (thus are buggy).

gone (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#41892449)

They have lost their damn minds. No way can this have a happy ending. And to think they learn nothing at all from history. The bitching about fast and furious is still going on.

You can't secure it; don't give it away (4, Insightful)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41892461)

Everything can be hacked, given time and effort, and what this plan will do is to encourage the crazies of the world to get a better understanding of how to make even more lethal weapons. Please don't.

It seems that the US and Russia are fighting a proxy war over middle east oil by alternately propping up and destabilizing the already unstable Islamic regimes there. There is probably legitimacy to this. Without the middle east, Russia will become Europe's oil supply, and thus Europe will lean toward supporting the least stable major power and probably involve itself in another exciting world war.

A better answer here might be to heat up this cold war, as Reagan did in the 1980s and Mitt Romney suggests he may do, by talking tough to the Russians and the Europeans both, and making it clear what's on the table here. International politics is a purely Machiavellian matter because as cruel as Machiavellianism can be, it saves lives and empires from the dustbin of history.

Re:You can't secure it; don't give it away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892647)

I think this is more political ductape then an actual deterrent or means of stopping the weapons from being maintained.

Our military probably doesn't care because they are maybe rolling out stealth and drone tech left and right that can avoid these stingers.

I have a feeling its just to pacify the populace so they don't feeeel like their doing anything wrong manipulating the situation with stinger hand-me-downs.

Smuggled into New Jersey (1)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41892699)

You're probably right that this is duct tape for a leaky political mess.

Our military probably doesn't care because they are maybe rolling out stealth and drone tech left and right that can avoid these stingers.

I'm less concerned about them shooting down our drones than smuggling them into New Jersey and shooting down commuter flights, or waiting on boats offshore to shoot down international flights. When a few 747s explode into the Pacific, we might find ourselves reconsidering these giveaways.

Re:Smuggled into New Jersey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892877)

Good point and thanks for the response.

Re:You can't secure it; don't give it away (2)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41892789)

I'd generally agree, but apparently the stingers the US handed to the Afghans haven't been a threat since they invaded because the batteries had already degraded. That suggests a shelf life of, say 20 years on the batteries at most.

If the shelf life is known like this then can't we just give them some say, 18 year old batteries, and also only give them a limited number of missiles to start with?

I agree DRM on this sort of thing is bound to end in tears, but relying on something more natural like the natural physical degradation of the batteries, and only giving them a fairly finite number of missiles anyway would surely work better? If you gave them say 20 missiles at a time monitoring their use somewhat then the threat of any dangerous number going astray would be pretty low especially coupled with the limited shelf life of old batteries.

I suspect the real problem is that the US doesn't want to do this sort of trickle effect where they control the supply and limit the effectiveness to be just effective enough to scare the shit out of Syrian airforce pilots but instead in typical US gung-ho manner they want to give a stinger and 100 missiles to every Syrian just to create a shock and awe type scenario of the entire Syrian airforce being decimated in a day or whatever.

Saudi Arabia is also too firmly pro-Western for Russia to cut that off as an oil source, and it's that the matters as a European oil/gas supplier, similarly Iraq is now a supplier again and Libya is more European friendly than ever before. If Russia is trying to reduce Middle Eastern export to Europe then it's failing. This combined with European moves towards renewables, and Europe still having good supply from places like Norway, and the UK and I don't think any Russian plan has much seriousness - the only place it has any effect is in the ex-soviet states where it can also install political puppets, like the weak willed Ukraine who rapidly let Russian elements hijack their country within only a short time of them revolting against it and of course Georgia whom they've now thoroughly bullied into submission. Western and Central Europe has a colder relationship with Russia than it has had in many decades, so I don't think a lean towards Russia is realistic. The more authoritarian Putin becomes, the worse the relationship gets too. It's support for Syria has pissed the likes of the Turks off even making them even more pro-Europe than ever also. Whatever the Russian strategy is in general with regards to the middle east it's not to make Europe swing it's way, or if it is, then it's been failing miserably ever since they went down that route. Interestingly the UK some years back actually drastically cut back it's North Sea oil/gas drilling precisely so it had it as a reserve if other supplies did go dry importing from elsewhere and draining their supplies for now instead.

For what it's worth Russia's interest in Syria is not to do with oil, but instead because Syria allows Russia a port in it's territory, meaning Syria hosts Russia's only port on the Mediterranean which is not too far from the Suez Canal which gives them easy access to the Indian Ocean and is also a major global supply route. It's that that Russia does not want to lose, because if it does it finds itself much more confined to the top of the world where things are much more cold, and much more lonely.

Re:You can't secure it; don't give it away (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41893035)

How hard is it to replace batteries?
All you need to do take a volt meter to the working batteries and make sure your replacements can provide enough mAh. If I can rebuild fairly undocumented batteries for tools and laptops I am pretty sure they can do it for the stinger.

fast and furious (5, Insightful)

kc8tbe (772879) | about 2 years ago | (#41892473)

Oh yeah, because this sort of technology worked so well in Fast and Furious when Mexican drug lords used American assault weapons against us after the batterries in the GPS tracking system meant to locate them failed. I am not very convinced this sort of technology would be very difficult to override. The comparison of the Syrian rebels to the Afghan Mujahedeen, aka Taliban, who we are still fighting now, demonstrates an unfornate grasp of history by the people behind this idea. It's still not clear if the Syrian rebels should get military aid from us period -- they are still not a cohesive group, and elements of the rebellion still engage in things like torture and attacks on civilian targets.

Re:fast and furious (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41892733)

Its not a good comparison at all. The weapons werent disabled in any way. The fed's went to gun dealers, and told them to break the law (by selling to certain individuals if they should try to buy weapons, rather than deny them like they normally would given certain red flags). the feds wanted to follow the weapons and thereby prove that us weapon sales were going across the border.

The logic problem of course, was that if the dealers hadnt been told to allow the sales to happen...the sales wouldnt have happened and the guns wouldnt have gone across the border. the feds themselves were responsible for the massive increase in weapons going across. the tail wagged teh dog. what had been a minor thing, from a few shady disreputable dealers, was magnified many fold because the feds wanted to prove something was happeneing by causing that thing to happen.

and of course, then when they lost track of them, and someone got killed by one of the same weapons they lost.

Good concept, bad implementation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892501)

The bad guys have proven to be very technologically adept at modifying cell phones for IEDs, and at further modifying them to defeat countermeasures. Battery run-down and software measures like GPS and biometric ID would probably be overcome fairly quickly.

A better solution would be to use propellant and/or explosives that deteriorate after an X months or years time period. R&D has focused on making them stable. I'm sure there were several failed attempts that deteriorated in the right period. Even better if it deteriorates in a nice corrosive manner that destroys the weapon. At the extreme, the deterioration could have a level of toxicity to ensure there's lots of incentive to ditch these weapons.

Self destruct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892505)

If the weapons came with a warning that said "will self destruct if taken out of Syria, or if wrong code entered twice" or whatnot then you might be in with a chance. Otherwise, the reward for hacking it would be so great that some Best Brains would be applied to it until successful.

I used to know a guy who worked for the MoD. He was asked by his boss to take a look in the lab and see what he could do. He looked in the lab and found a missile with scorch marks all over it from where it had been fired. I think his job was to take it to bits and see what was inside. This sort of thing goes on all the time, so it'll sure happen with these.

Judge Dredd (1)

oheso (898435) | about 2 years ago | (#41892527)

Geiger: No, wait a second! Don't touch it.
Rico: Why not?
Geiger: Well, that's a Lawgiver. That's programed to only recognise a Judge's hand. You touch that, it'll take your arm off!
[Rico grabs the gun and points it in Geiger's face. The gun has accepted his grip]
Rico: Gee, how do you like that? I must be a Judge.
[he shoots Geiger]

All we need now is a great name (2, Informative)

shellster_dude (1261444) | about 2 years ago | (#41892531)

Maybe we could add a GPS tracker that way we could track the weapons and know exactly where and how they are used...I know! We need a good name for this operation...hmm...missiles go fast, so maybe we could call it "Operation Fast and Furious!"...oh wait...

Would Need to Send Troops With the Weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892547)

If you don't want your weapons falling into the wrong hands then you can not let them out of yours. If you are intent to send weapons, and to maintain control of them, then you must send your troops with those weapons. Even then, it won't be perfect; but this is not a problem with a technical solution.

So the US is choosing sides in a civil war now? (0)

ghostdoc (1235612) | about 2 years ago | (#41892553)

Surely these are terrorists fighting against their legitimate government (as much as they are also freedom fighters attempting to liberate themselves from a dictatorship anyway)?

If this decision was being made purely on political grounds (Syria is currently a Russian ally, so arming rebels = cutting down Russian power) then that's all fine, but the Cold War is apparently over and everyone's friendly now and we're supposed to be making these decisions on moral grounds these days.

How come the US can decide that it would like to arm terrorists and not become a terrorist-sponsoring rogue state?

Re:So the US is choosing sides in a civil war now? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41892773)

If this decision was being made purely on political grounds...

Politics has nothing to do with it. Politically, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, etc should be considered some of our worst enemies, in direct contradiction to every principle we claim to stand for. The decisions are based on who we believe would be the better customer, and what we get in return. We will sell to anybody that can guarantee easy, reliable access to cheap resources and keeps out the competition.

Re:So the US is choosing sides in a civil war now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41893047)

become a terrorist-sponsoring rogue state...

BECOMING.... ha ha haaaaaaa. loflol

Not needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892557)

The rebels have shot down dozens of planes and helicopters in whatever weapons they captured from the government troops. For example


  Few months back they have started attacking government airports and air defense bases where they have done a lot of damage.

I got the above videos with a 1 minute search.

All Syrians know that there will be no free help from anybody and that the only way to get a strong Syria after the revolution is to rely on ourselves.

NO. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892573)

Any more stupid questions?

Clearly I am fit to rule this world, because apparently the current ruling class are like primates compared to me.

Can't wait til tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892635)

To date the concept has failed to take hold inside the Obama administration or on Capitol Hill because of serious concerns about flooding a troubled region with dangerous weapons that someday might fall into the wrong hands.

So what do we got here? A summary implying that Obama is going to arm terrorists attached to a story that contradicts it... on election day.

will the USA ever stop arming terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892657)

You'd think at least after 9/11 at they'd stop handing out weapons to any group of jihadis that wants to capture an oil field but apparently no...

Bloodbath++ (1)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | about 2 years ago | (#41892677)

Great idea, and as soon as some 12 year old technologist finds out how to disable it we have a bloodbath.

DRM (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#41892685)

Digital Restrictions Management has and always will fail to a determined adversary. Professional security developers with millions of dollars of support had their attempts for DRM on game consoles, satellite cards, cell phones and other hardware defeated by the home brew community. Start getting professionals with proper labs and budgets involved and DRM will always fail, it's just a matter of time. What DRM can do is buy you time, but it does at the cost of exposing whatever DRM mechanism your using at that moment.

Better to provide proper assistance to the rebels to begin with and that way you can help guide them to make sure they turn out like the Taliban. That's what happens when you take a hand's off approach. This time I say we let's the Europeans or Asians step and do the right thing with boots on the ground.

hmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892711)

What could possibly go wrong?

Obvious reason (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41892743)

The obvious reason for designing an intentionally high maintenance weapon is expensive ongoing service contracts, the "prevent arms from falling into the wrong hands" is just the straw dog to get it to pass and make some dough.

If you really wanted a solution to the "prevent falling into wrong hands" problem, you'd produce about 100 times as many SAMs as you "need" but 99 of them are booby trapped with bad source code in the guidance computer or intentionally faulty whatevers in the innards, so they intentionally don't work. Then use the usual crypto channels to distribute, perhaps in real time, which serial numbers actually work to "our guys". OR certain serial numbers work on certain GPS distributed UTC dates and they rotate every week/month/whatever.

Launching a SAM against a .mil aircraft and missing is usually a career ending mistake as the AC and its friends take great offense at such activities and vaporize the launcher. So odds are 99/100 that its about as effective as a parachute flare and somewhat less than 1 in 100 that it'll actually blow up a plane. With those odds you're better off throwing rocks than stealing SAMs.

All missiles and rockets are already serial number tracked thru the whole supply chain and down to the individual issued to soldiers, and there exists a great crypto infrastructure, so...

War... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892769)

War has changed.

Realpolitik (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892817)

The actually correct answer is to give them what they need to accomplish your ends.

When they're no longer useful, kill them with drones or air strikes.

Not elegant but probably more accurate.

Mujahadeen == Taliban (2)

biodata (1981610) | about 2 years ago | (#41892835)

Look how well that worked out.

We gave stingers to the Afghan rebels ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41892883)

Look how well that turned out.

Security vs Physical access (1)

ehud42 (314607) | about 2 years ago | (#41892931)

In security circles, doesn't physical access = assumed compromise? Game consoles & "locked" phones, e-Readers, etc. are all compromised within hours of being released to the masses. I think one should be very careful before placing trust in physical access security.

Satellite radios can be disabled by SN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41893057)

Satellite radios can be disabled by SN so why not weapons. Include a self destruct mechanism and you're all set. When the war is done, send out a signal and they all blow themselves up.

GPS transmitters can be faked/set up (1)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#41893065)

Formula 1 all the way down to Formula 3000 uses GPS to get millimetre accuracy. how can they do that, you ask, when the GPS signals are scrambled in the lower bits? well - and this i heard about as far back as 1993 when i was working for Pi Technology - all that is needed is one single low-power GPS transmitter, placed in the centre of the track which *is* accurate. the GPS receivers lock on to that; this gives a concentric ring of millimetre-level accuracy and the remaining GPS satellites can be used to pinpoint the location.

the point is: a powerful enough (or localised) set of transmissions could easily be used to fake the position such that standard GPS receivers would be fooled, thus defeating any GPS-based "security". what's great about that for the terrorists is that any Cruise Missiles or UAVs homing in on their position might also go "huh??" and take a sharp random turn against a cliff. good, eh? mmm....

Just Stop (3, Insightful)

HappilyUnstable (1838562) | about 2 years ago | (#41893075)

Can we just stop trying to solve all our problems with more weapons?

captcha: captive

Metal Gear Solid 4 Did That! (2)

zarthrag (650912) | about 2 years ago | (#41893145)

It was called "The System" Whenever you picked up a weapon, your DNA was checked against a database. No approval means no shooting....until you visit a Drebin (black-market gun launderer) ;-)

I have a better idea (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41893153)

How about we mind our own goddamn business and stay the hell out of some third world nation's civil war?

The wrong issue is being discussed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41893299)

With what right is the USA influencing the outcome of a distant conflict? The way I see it, it is all about the energy dominance. At least be honest with your selves and the rest of the world. (I am obviously not an American though I believe there are Americans that think the same way)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>