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While Obama ponders Syria post-red line moves, Hezbollah reiterates it will fight for Assad

While Obama ponders Syria post-red line moves, Hezbollah reiterates it will fight for Assad

After concluding that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against its own people in Syria, Obama administration officials indicated on Thursday that the president will authorize US assistance to the opposition rebels, although the extent of that assistance and when it will take place is up in the air.  Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s chief just gave a speech reiterating that the Iranian-backed Lebanese group will fight anywhere needed in Syria to save Assad.

From NBC News:

The United States and its allies have concluded that the government of Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons in Syria’s protracted civil war, leading President Barack Obama to broaden aid — including military support — to opposition groups.

The intelligence community concluded with “high confidence” that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons — including the nerve agent sarin — “on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”

“The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete,” said Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes.

In response to the confirmation of Assad’s use of chemical weapons, spokespeople indicated that President Obama will authorize US military assistance to the rebel opposition in Syria but did not go into specifics as to what that would entail.  Sources expect that it will consist of small arms.

From FOX News:

“The president has made the decision to authorize additional assistance, but we’re not going into specifics,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told Friday. “The president has been very clear that all options are on the table, with the exception of U.S. troops on the ground. That is not a possibility.”

Initial military aid is expected to consist of small arms and ammunition. That could include a range of weapons, including small arms, assault rifles, shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades and other anti-tank missiles which the opposition forces could operate without significant training. But the rebel Free Syrian Army, which now gets light arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said on Friday more light weaponry from the U.S. would be largely “meaningless.” The Syrian Opposition Coalition called for “strategic and decisive” support.

The proposal would also include the establishment and enforcement of a no-fly zone inside Syria.

From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. military proposal for arming Syrian rebels also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced from Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there, according to U.S. officials.

Asked by the White House to develop options for Syria, military planners have said that creating an area to train and equip rebel forces would require keeping Syrian aircraft well away from the Jordanian border.

To do that, the military envisages creating a no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials.

The decision to arm the rebels has also raised concern; critics on both sides of the political spectrum fear the weapons will instead be used to fuel fighting between religious sects and could also end up in the hands of terrorists.  They also warn of escalating conflicts in the region and a long-term engagement.

From FOX News:

“Already some of those weapons… have been shown in radical militants’ hands,” Elizabeth O’Bagy, a senior research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, told the Financial Post earlier this year. “And even though the weapons are significantly better than they were before, they are still not the sophisticated kind the opposition would like.”

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a recent Op-Ed in the Albuquerque Journal that the U.S. risks repeating past mistakes, noting that weapons given to the Afghan mujahadeen in the 1980s to help them repel the Soviets fell into the hands of the Taliban, which in turn harbored Al Qaeda.

“The Assad regime is cruel and corrupt,” Udall wrote. “But many of the groups engaged in the conflict against him do not share our values. Instead, they pose long-term risk to us, and allies like Israel and Turkey.

“Their motivations are also conflicting,” he continued. “Some may want a free society, but others are intent on establishing an intolerant theocracy and are allied or sympathetic with Al Qaeda.”

Veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn of The Independent told Democracy now that the move could escalate regional conflict and last for years.

From an interview with Democracy Now:

“What’s happening in Syria may have begun as an uprising against a dictatorial government, but now it’s Sunni against Shia within the country, it’s Sunni against Shia outside the country… I think once you get entangled in this, rather like Iraq, it’s very difficult to disentangle yourself, and this could go on for years.” He also shares his disappointment in the lack of media scrutiny over the Administration’s claims that Assad has used chemical weapons on his citizens: “There must be some doubts about this. You know they say this with a sure voice, but it’s a sure voice which reminds me of what they were saying in 2002 and 2003 about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. You would need the evidence to be laid out in front of you to be really convinced by this.”

To date, the US has provided ancillary support in the way of food and medical supplies, and other limited support.

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron backed the decision of the US, but indicated that Britain has made “no decision” yet on whether or not to provide arms to the rebels in Syria.

While the West still ponders its moves, Hezbollah has no such uncertainty, via The Daily Star of Lebanon:

Hezbollah  will continue fighting alongside  President Bashar Assad  against Syrian rebels, the head of  the resistance group said Friday, adding that his party’s decision to intervene  in Lebanon’s neighbor had been a calculated one.

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah  also said recent steps  taken by Gulf Cooperation Countries targeting Hezbollah loyalists in the Gulf  would not deter his group from its objectives in Syria.

“If anyone thinks that through lies, killings, and threats we will change our  stances, they are wrong. Wherever we need to be, we will be. What we started  taking responsibility for, we will continue to be responsible for, and there is  no need to give details,” Nasrallah said in an event commemorating wounded  members of Hezbollah….

“The Arab Syrian Army is fighting in various places in Syria and we are  playing our part in confronting the [American-Israeli-takfiri] project that  seeks to [ruin] the region, and not just Syria,” he said.

“We are defending this [Syrian] state, this entity, economy, country,” he  admitted, adding that his party backed the Syrian people who supported Assad.


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Henry Hawkins | June 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

It is obvious that Obama does not listen to any advisor who may have foreign policy expertise, opting instead for his tight cadre of Chicago locals, and the results are laughably bad. He ought to fire two people immediately – whoever advised he should voice the red line ultimatum, and then himself.

Henry Hawkins | June 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes:

“The President has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has. Our decision making has already been guided by the April intelligence assessment and by the regime’s escalation of horrific violence against its citizens. Following on the credible evidence that the regime has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people, the President has augmented the provision of non-lethal assistance to the civilian opposition, and also authorized the expansion of our assistance to the Supreme Military Council (SMC), and we will be consulting with Congress on these matters in the coming weeks. This effort is aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the SMC, and helping to coordinate the provision of assistance by the United States and other partners and allies. Put simply, the Assad regime should know that its actions have led us to increase the scope and scale of assistance that we provide to the opposition, including direct support to the SMC.”


WOW. Seeing that, I’ll bet Assad is already packed and ready to scoot. Powerful stuff. Peace in Syria is at hand. Thank you, Mr. President. THANK YOU. /sarc

I R A Darth Aggie | June 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Fight any were? how likely would it be for them to carry out strikes within the USofA? oh, hey, they have some sort of friendly relationship with Venezuela, so it won’t be too far out of their way.

Mr. Henry Hawkins, hello, I hope you are well, I have some beach front property in Kansas I would like to sell to you, you haphazard unrealistic perception impells me to make you this offer you are just the kind of fellow I have been looking for LOL. If you really believe Assad is shaking in his boots you are just as out of touch as Obama. Without real military intervention the Syrian Regime will remain in power. They do not have to occupy the whole country just the main cities and supply hubs which they are systematically regaining from rebel control and also with the military boots on the ground from Hezbollah and Iran Quds Guards. By the time the weapons from Obama even get there they will have recaptured all of Alleppo just leaving the city of Homs as the last city of any strategic interest. Trust, Obama’s and his foreign policies make no one shake in their boots hence benghazi on 9/11 anniversary for crying out loud, if G.W. Bush was in office this would of been over a long time ago

OK, Barry is going arm the rebels, that have sworn allegiance TO <al Franken, Gore or any other Al, including Smith qaeda, who/whom (pick one) has stated time and time again, their purpose is an islamic caliphate ala their early years BEFORE A fellow named Martel.

Yet, Barry has indicated, the ‘War on Terror’ is fini, done, over, kaput. Kisses and Beheadings to all. BUT, he is (quite probably going to arm, the al qaeda allegiance filth.

Is this what is called, diametrical opposition OR an individual that is in fact A muslim?

Barry is even taking his kiddies to Africa, to indoctrinate them on how evil Colonialists (dog whistle) Whites, in this case Brits among others, were EVIL, in the ‘Dreams of My Father’ and Frank Marshall Davis.

For weeks there have been calls to join the war by McCain and others. Amazingly, Obama did not follow.

This week the rebels slaughtered scores of civilians – I guess that convinced Obama that they were his kind of fighters, kind of Chicago style. So now we enter a war to support the rebels and give them more arms–so they can kill more civilians? Obscene.

BannedbytheGuardian | June 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I saw a report from a service that has reporters actually in Lebanon. It showed a football stadium in Sidon with Syrian rebel & al Quaeda flags flying. Sunni territory.

It then showed Beirut with the Hizbollah flags . Shiite – western territory . ( the economy in Beirut is booming ).

Then it showed Tripoli with images of Sunni martyrs killed in Syria & opposing Hizbollah banners.

This channel also just finished up a cooking travelogue show where the Foreign born Lebanese chef toured the country . He looked very very pleased to get back to Beirut.

Something is up.