Stimson in the News

Rachel Stohl quoted in The Washington Post on Syria

in Program

A U.S. contractor bought faulty grenades and then tried to sell them to the United States in order to fulfill a contract to arm Syrians participating in the Pentagon’s train and equip program for Syrian rebels, according to a Buzzfeed news report on Thursday.

The report details the transactions of a tiny contracting company called Purple Shovel, LLC that is based out of an industrial mall in Sterling, Va. The company, after receiving two contracts from Special Operations Command that amounted to more than $50 million dollars, hired additional subcontractors to procure a range of small arms and light weapons. The arms would then be sent to Syrian rebels being trained by the United States to fight the self-declared Islamic State.


“These programs are highly risky, incredibly low reward and incredibly expensive,” said Rachel Stohl, a senior associate at the Stimson Center who focuses on the arms trade, referring to the type of third party purchasing Purple Shovel had been doing at the bequest of the Pentagon.

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