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白宫内情:CIA秘密行动突然告终

更新时间:2017-8-5 9:53:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Behind the Sudden Death of a $1 Billion Secret C.I.A. War in Syria
白宫内情:CIA秘密行动突然告终

WASHINGTON — The end came quickly for one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the CIA.

华盛顿——中央情报局(CIA)有史以来最昂贵的秘密行动计划之一即将结束。

During a White House briefing early last month, the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, recommended to President Donald Trump that he shut down a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels. The president swiftly ended the program.

上月初在白宫参加简报会时,中央情报局局长迈克·庞皮欧(Mike Pompeo)建议唐纳德·特朗普总统停止一个历时四年、旨在武装和训练叙利亚反对派的计划。总统迅速做出终止它的决定。

The rebel army was by then a shell, hollowed out by more than a year of bombing by Russian planes and confined to ever-shrinking patches of Syria that government troops had not reconquered. Critics in Congress had complained for years about the costs — more than $1 billion over the life of the program — and reports that some of the CIA-supplied weapons had ended up in the hands of a rebel group tied to al-Qaida further sapped political support for the program.

当时,反对派军队已是空壳,被俄罗斯飞机超过一年的轰炸掏空,其活动范围越来越小,仅限于叙利亚境内尚未被政府军攻克的零散区域。美国国会中的批评者多年来一直抱怨该计划成本太高——从始至终共耗资超过10亿美元——此外,有报道称中央情报局提供的一些武器最终落入了一个与基地组织有牵连的反对派团体手中,这让该计划进一步丧失了政治支持。

While critics of Trump have argued that he ended the program to curry favor with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, there were in fact dim views of the effort in both the Trump and Obama White Houses — a rare confluence of opinion on national security policy.

特朗普的批评者认为,他叫停这一计划是为了讨好俄罗斯总统弗拉基米尔·普京(Vladimir Putin),但无论在特朗普的白宫还是奥巴马的白宫,其实都有人对该项目持悲观态度——两者在国家安全政策方面很少有这样的交集。

The shuttering of the CIA program, one of the most expensive efforts to arm and train rebels since the agency’s program arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s, has forced a reckoning over its successes and failures. Opponents say it was foolhardy, expensive and ineffective. Supporters say that it was unnecessarily cautious, and that its achievements were remarkable given that the Obama administration had so many restrictions on it from the start, which they say ultimately ensured its failure.

中央情报局的这个计划,是自该机构在1980年代武装阿富汗圣战组织以来费用最高昂的行动之一。该计划被叫停,让人不得不去思考它的成功与失败之处。反对者说它鲁莽、昂贵而又低效。支持者则认为它谨慎到了过头的程度,而且鉴于奥巴马政府从一开始就将太多限制加诸其上,它取得的成果堪称惊人——他们说正是那些限制最终导致了它的失败。

The program did have periods of success, including in 2015 when rebels using tank-destroying missiles, supplied by the CIA and also Saudi Arabia, routed government forces in northern Syria. But by late 2015 the Russian military offensive in Syria was focusing squarely on the CIA-backed fighters battling Syrian government troops. Many of the fighters were killed, and the fortunes of the rebel army reversed.

该计划的确取得过片刻的成功,其中包括在2015年,反对派利用中央情报局以及沙特阿拉伯提供的反坦克导弹,击溃了叙利亚北部的政府军。但到了2015年末,俄罗斯开始将其在叙利亚境内的军事攻势对准得到中央情报局支持的反叙利亚政府军武装。很多武装人员被杀死,反对派军队的处境急转直下。

Charles Lister, a Syria expert at the Middle East Institute, said he was not surprised that the Trump administration ended the program, which armed and trained thousands of Syrian rebels. (By comparison, a $500 million Pentagon program that envisioned training and equipping 15,000 Syrian rebels over three years, was canceled in 2015 after producing only a few dozen fighters.)

中东研究所(Middle East Institute)叙利亚问题专家查尔斯·利斯特(Charles Lister)说,特朗普政府叫停这个武装和训练了成千上万叙利亚反对派武装人员的计划,并不让他感到意外。(相比之下,五角大楼的一个预计耗资5亿美元、用三年时间训练和武装1.5万名叙利亚反对派的项目,刚刚培养出几十名武装人员,便于2015年被取消。)

“In many ways, I would put the blame on the Obama administration,” Lister said of the CIA program. “They never gave it the necessary resources or space to determine the dynamics of the battlefield. They were drip-feeding opposition groups just enough to survive but never enough to become dominant actors.”

“在很多方面,我都会把问题归咎于奥巴马政府,”利斯特谈及中央情报局的计划时说。“他们从未给予它必要的资源或空间,去决定战场上的态势。靠着他们像挤牙膏一样提供的支持,反对派团体可以勉强存续下去,但绝对无法成为主导力量。”

Trump has twice publicly criticized the effort since he ended it. After The Washington Post first reported on his decision, Trump tweeted that he was ending “massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad.” During an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month, the president said many of the CIA-supplied weapons ended up in the hands of al-Qaida — presumably a reference to the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, which often fought alongside the CIA-backed rebels.

叫停该计划后,特朗普曾两度公开对它加以批评。《华盛顿邮报》(The Washington Post)率先报道了特朗普的决定,随后特朗普发推称,他要终结“用于叙利亚反阿萨德武装的巨大、危险而又不必要的开销”。上月接受《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)采访时,总统说中央情报局提供的很多武器都落入了基地组织手中——他指的可能是基地组织的分支、常常和中央情报局支持的反对派并肩战斗的努斯拉阵线(Nusra Front)。

Michael V. Hayden, a former CIA director, said the president’s comments “might give the agency pause with regard to how much he will have their backs on any future covert actions.”

中央情报局前局长麦克尔·V·海登(Michael V Hayden)说,总统的言论“可能会让中情局感到踌躇,不确定他将在多大程度上支持他们今后的任何秘密行动”。

Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said during a conference last month that ending the CIA program was a “tough, tough decision.”

美国特种作战司令部(U.S. Special Operations Command)司令雷蒙德·托马斯三世(Raymond Thomas III)上将在上月的一场会议上表示,叫停中央情报局的计划是一个“非常艰难的决定”。

“At least from what I know about that program and the decision to end it, it was absolutely not a sop to the Russians,” he said. “It was, I think based on an assessment of the nature of the program, what we’re trying to accomplish, the viability of it going forward.”

“至少就我对该计划以及叫停决定的了解来看,这绝不是为了安抚俄罗斯,”他说。“我认为相关决定是以对该计划的本质、我们试图达成的目标,以及继续实施计划的可行性的评估为基础。”

A CIA spokesman declined to comment.

中央情报局的一名发言人拒绝置评。

President Barack Obama had reluctantly agreed to the program in 2013 as the administration was struggling to blunt the momentum of Syrian government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. It soon fell victim to the constantly shifting alliances in Syria’s six-year-old civil war and the limited visibility that U.S. military and intelligence officials had over what was occurring on the ground.

2013年,在奥巴马政府难以遏制忠于巴沙尔·阿萨德(Bashar Assad)总统的叙利亚政府军的势头之际,贝拉克·奥巴马总统很不情愿地同意了这个计划。很快,它就因为叙利亚六年内战期间同盟关系不断变化,以及美国军方和情报界官员对当地实际情况了解有限而受到拖累。

Once CIA-trained fighters crossed into Syria, CIA officers had difficulty controlling them. The fact that some of their CIA weapons ended up with Nusra Front fighters — and that some of the rebels joined the group — confirmed the fears of many in the Obama administration when the program began. Although the Nusra Front was widely seen as an effective fighting force against Assad’s troops, its al-Qaida affiliation made it impossible for the Obama administration to provide direct support for the group.

由中央情报局培训的武装人员一旦进入叙利亚境内,该机构就很难控制他们了。他们从中央情报局处拿到的武器,有的最终落入努斯拉阵线武装人员手中——一些反对派还加入了努斯拉阵线——这让计划实施之初奥巴马政府中很多人的担忧得到了证实。努斯拉阵线被普遍视为一支可以有效对抗阿萨德军队的力量,但它是基地组织的分支,因此奥巴马政府不可能为它提供直接的支持。

John O. Brennan, Obama’s last CIA director, remained a vigorous defender of the program despite divisions inside the spy agency about the effort’s effectiveness. But by the final year of the Obama administration, the program had lost many supporters in the White House — especially after the administration’s top priority in Syria became battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, rather than seeking an end to Assad’s government.

奥巴马在任期间的最后一名中央情报局局长约翰·O·布伦南(John O.Brennan)曾积极为这一项目辩护,尽管该间谍机构内部对此项行动的有效性看法不一。但到了奥巴马政府执政的最后一年,该计划在白宫失去了很多支持者,尤其是在对抗伊斯兰国(Islamic State,又称ISIS或ISIL)——而非寻求终结阿萨德政府的统治——成为奥巴马政府在叙利亚的重中之重以后。

During one meeting in the White House Situation Room at the end of the Obama administration, with CIA-backed rebels continuing to lose ground in the face of withering Russian air bombing, Brennan pressed the case that the United States continue to back the effort to topple Assad, according to one person who attended the meeting.

奥巴马政府执政末期,当中央情报局支持的反对派在俄罗斯人猛烈的空袭之下节节败退的时候,一场会议在白宫局势研究室内召开。据一名参会者透露,布伦南在会上坚称,美国应该继续支持该计划,以便推翻阿萨德。

But Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, shot back. “Make no mistake,” she said, according to the person in the meeting. “The president’s priority in Syria is fighting ISIS.”

但时任国家安全顾问苏珊·E·赖斯(Susan E. Rice)出言反对。前述参会者称,赖斯说:“别搞错了,总统在叙利亚的首要目标是打击ISIS。”

Backed by Russian aircraft, Syrian government forces gradually began to reclaim areas near the Turkish border that had long been rebel strongholds, and eventually pushed many of the rebels back to the besieged city of Aleppo.

叙利亚政府军在俄方飞机的支持下,逐渐开始收复靠近土耳其边境的一些长期充当反对派要塞的地区,最终把很多反对派赶回了陷入包围的阿勒颇。

Aleppo fell to Syrian government troops in December.

阿勒颇于去年12月被叙利亚政府军攻陷。

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