In Jordan, the northern towns bristle with anger as more refugees cross the border. In March, near the Za’atari refugee camp, some Jordanians demonstrated after they had been evicted in favour of Syrians with U.N. vouchers and Gulf resettlement money. Rent in the northern towns has doubled over the past year. Setting up U.N. tents, the protesting Jordanians put up a sign, ‘Jordanian Displaced Peoples Camp.’ It is a sign of the times. The political tussles of refugees have threatened Jordan’s monarchy previously, most spectacularly when the war against the PLO in the 1960s turned into the Black September expulsion of the Palestinian group to Beirut in 1971. Syria’s Assad knows this well. Last month he said: ‘The fire will not stop at our borders. All the world knows Jordan is just as exposed as Syria.’
Vijay Prashad (via jayaprada)
And then there are the wild cards. Israel has announced that it intends to carry out further air strikes against Syrian territory. According to the (London) Sunday Times, Assad has given orders that any further attacks will be responded to by missile strikes on Tel Aviv. A second wild card is ‘chemical weapons,’ which was a focus of President Obama in his statements while visiting Turkey. As numerous analysts and Syrian military leaders have commented, it would be senseless for Syria to use chemical weapons while having control of the air and being able to bomb rebel positions. Thus it is clear that the only military purpose of using chemical weapons at this point would be to encourage US intervention. Who would have the motive for such a step? Hardly Syria.
On 13 May 2013, Human Rights Watch released a statement attesting to the authenticity of a disturbing video that circulated first on Syrian pro-regime websites and then on social media. In it, a Syrian man cuts open a dead government soldier’s chest, pulls his heart and lung out, threatens “Alawite dogs” that they will all face a similar fate, and takes a bite of the viscera while addressing the videocamera. This latest sectarian evocation by a member of the armed opposition, Khalid al Hamad (“Abu Sakkar”), was simplistically depicted by many American and Gulf media outlets as an isolated abomination perpetrated by a savage man. However, the incident tells a more complex story about the evolution of sectarianism in Syria, the relationship between war and social media, and the Western media narrative on Syria more broadly. [read]
In what critics are calling the most extreme act of censorship in decades, a Turkish state prosecutor imposed a gag upon all media coverage relating to the bombings on Sunday, a decision hailed by Erdogan. The gag follows the reports that Syrian opposition groups may have carried out the attacks. … The Turkish government has arrested nine individuals in connection with the bombings, claiming they are members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). The government has yet to produce evidence substantiating its claims that these individuals are Syrian operatives or that they actually carried out the attacks.
Reports suggest Syrian opposition involvement in Turkish bombings
It was some six months ago that Syrian rebel commanders met US intelligence officers in Jordan to discuss the status of the war and, the rebels hoped, to secure supplies of the sophisticated weapons they need to overthrow President Bashar Al Assad.
But according to one of the commanders present at the meeting, the Americans were more interested in talking about Jabhat Al Nusra, the Al Qaeda-affiliated group waging war on the Syrian regime than they were in helping the rebels advance on Damascus.
The commander - a moderate Sunni and an influential rebel leader from Damascus who said he has met intelligence operatives from Western and Arab states - said the US officials were especially keen to obtain information about the identities of Al Nusra insurgents and the locations of their bases.
Then, by the rebel commander’s account, the discussion took an unexpected turn.
The Americans began discussing the possibility of drone strikes on Al Nusra camps inside Syria and tried to enlist the rebels to fight their fellow insurgents.
“The US intelligence officer said, ‘We can train 30 of your fighters a month, and we want you to fight Al Nusra’,” the rebel commander recalled.
Opposition forces should be uniting against Mr Al Assad’s more powerful and better-equipped army, not waging war among themselves, the rebel commander replied. The response from a senior US intelligence officer was blunt.
“I’m not going to lie to you. We’d prefer you fight Al Nusra now, and then fight Assad’s army. You should kill these Nusra people. We’ll do it if you don’t,” the rebel leader quoted the officer as saying. [continue]
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, ended nervous Washington and Pentagon speculation today by telling the ITAR-TASS news agency that the Kremlin isn’t actually going to sell the S-300 air defense missile to Assad. Whatever other arms deals Russia will honor with Syria, the S-300 won’t be included.
Nyet! Now Russia Won’t Sell Badass Missile to Syria
‘Right from the beginning … we would say “yes”,’ Erdogan told NBC when asked if Turkey, a NATO member that shares its longest border with Syria, would support a no-fly zone or American soldiers on the ground.
Turkey ‘will support’ Syria no-fly zone | Al Jazeera English
Just when the red line charade was reaching fever pitch – but still buried in the sand – and he had to choose between the US “exercising restraint” or “directly involving itself” in the Syrian war, (see The Syria-Iran red line show, Asia Times Online, May 2, 2013) President Obama was saved by Bibi Netanyahu’s Israeli government.
The temptation was oh so great for Obama to replay Ronald Reagan and gloriously wear the mantle of Obama The Syrian Mujahid, just as Reagan did in the 1980s with his beloved freedom fighters of the Afghan jihad. That will have to wait – perhaps not too long.
Let’s cut to the chase. Israel’s bombing of Syrian army installations at Jamraya near Damascus is a provocation and an act of war. Israel acted as a Washington proxy – which may have even provided the list of targets. And Washington – not to mention those useless puppets in Brussels – won’t condemn the bombing, which for the umpteenth time makes a mockery of international law.
… [A]fter much huff and puff, Obama ended up with something way more comfortable than a no-fly zone: targeted strikes – with jets and/or missiles, conducted by the Israelis. The blueprint could be Operation Desert Fox (the Bill Clinton-ordered bombing of Iraq in 1998.) The objective, to “send a clear message” to Syria.
The next bombings may target airfields, concentrations of aircraft, more weapons depots, tanks and artillery. Collateral damage, inevitably, will soar, proportionately to the level of provocation.
Former US ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, very close to the Clinton clan, has already gamed on ABC News that Obama is “leaning towards aerial strikes”. Yes; this is just the beginning. Mini-Shock and Awes await.
The question is why did it take so long. The destruction of Syria – as conceptualized by Sheikh Nasrallah – with the West once more collaborating with jihadi gangs, has been in the cards for years. See how Seymour Hersh outlined it in 2007. And see how badly the bipartisan Washington establishment craves regime change.
And Damascus, of course, is just a stop towards Tehran. The proverbial anonymous sources have leaked to the Rupert Murdoch-ownedSunday Timesin London that a “Defense Crescent” is becoming a reality.
Syria has already began payments for a $900 million purchase of an advanced air defense system from Russia and an initial delivery was due within three months, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday citing US officials.
Israel has asked Russia not to sell Syria the S-300, which could help President Bashar al-Assad fend off foreign military intervention, Israeli officials said on Thursday.
“We have raised objections to this (sale) with the Russians, and the Americans have too,” an Israeli official told Reuters.
There was no immediate comment from Moscow or Damascus.