ecurity Information Publicly Disseminated

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Serious in Syria

Hama under attack

Since the August 9th meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu and President Bashar Al-Assad the violence in Syria has escalated. The city of Latakia is under siege by navel forces  and ground troops. The navel bombardment has been concentrated on the Palestinian refuge camps that are under control of the UN humanitarian organisation UNRWA. there is no clear evidence of the Palestinians fate at this point. There is evidence that large amounts of people have been rounded up and herded into soccer stadiums, the Palestinians may or may not be among them.

With the evidence of chemical weapons that Syria acquired from Saddam Husein prior to the US invasion of Iraq, one might surmise that these chemical agents may by used against the people sequestered in the stadiums. There is no evidence of this but the fact that Syrian troops packed the stadium with ten thousand plus people is significant. Immobilization of large amounts of the population is a sign of an atrocity in the making. Like Saddam, Bashar is a leader in the Bathe political party. This is a philosophy most commonly referred to as a cross between Nazism and Marxism. Given the past performance of Hafez, Bashar’s dead farther and the cronies that the farther and son still have in common it should be of no surprise if these people are murdered in a mass atrocity of some kind.

Latakia’s roads have been blockcaded by solders restricting access to the city. Reports of residents fleeing from navel artillery have met there fate at the roadblocks. Entire families have been mowed down by machinegun fire to prevent them from escaping. The Syrian government denies that navel gunfire has been raking the city or the Palestinian refugee camp. A Syrian government official claims that the presences of gunboats is to deter weapons smuggling. The US State Departments spokesperson Victoria Nuland would neither confirm or deny the bombardment of Latakia by navel gunships. She would only confirm that the United States is imploring other nations to sanction Syria by not buying there oil and gas or send them weapons. The governments of Syria and The United States seam to be the only groups covering up the story in Latakia. The al-Assad forces obviously have orders to clear out Latakia to keep secret the delivery of military supplies Iran is delivering to the coastal military base there. Iran will expand and update the air base at Latakia (adjacent to a naval base and formerly used by the Soviet Union) in order to facilitate weapons shipments.  Turkey has stopped at least two weapons shipments through Turkish territory from Iran to Syria this year.
An air base alone would be of little use to Iran and Syria, unless Iran can route planes over Iraq.  If that isn’t possible, the air base at Latakia buys Tehran and the Assad regime little, at least in the near future.  The planes have to approach Latakia somehow, and if they can’t go through Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, or Jordan, there is no feasible direct route. Nor would any country on the Mediterranean side knowingly allow a planeload of Iranian weapons to use its air bases as a way-point.  Few if any potential Asian partners would be willing to allow that use for their air bases.  Iran has dealt in third- and fourth-party cut-outs for years (e.g., the recent attempt to route arms clandestinely through Nigeria), but intelligence agencies are fully alerted to Iranian tactics. But might Iraq allow Iranian aircraft to transit her airspace en route Syria?  Observers in the Middle East are starting to see that as very possible.  The news site Iran Focus ties the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki’s diplomatic support of the Assad regime to the fact that he “owes his hold on power to Tehran”  a reference to his (relatively enthusiastic) accommodation with Iran-backed Shia elements in Iraq.

Iranian military involvement in Syria has been confirmed by a Mukhabarat secret police officer that had defected to Turkey and is staying in the Yayladagi refugee camp. Now he faces an uncertain future. No-one else in the refugee camp knows that he was once one of the men ordered to fire on protesters, but he also knows that he faces death as a deserter if he were to return to Syria.

The deserter confirmed that Iranian snipers are being used in Syria.  "We knew they were from Iran because we were not allowed to speak to them and they were kept well away from us. When we had operated with the Syrian army we would always mix with them and chat." His account confirms other reports that Syria has turned to its closest ally for help including training and military hardware in putting down the protests directed at the Assad family's four decades in power.
During interrogation he recounted that he had beaten prisoners and shot at protesters in Damascus. At times during the past two months he was aware of Iranian troops operating alongside his team in the Syrian capital. His victims, protesters some as young as 13 were brought  into police stations where they were beaten for the entertainment of senior officers. The worst episode, he said, came in July when the secret police snatched nine women believed to be married to opposition leaders. The Mukhabarat stripped them and then made them walk through the streets," he said. "It was just to make their husbands turn themselves in. Two days later they did."

"I try not to think of the terrible things I have done," he said the “police and army were all afraid like me but knew they would be killed if they left or if they refused orders."

Ms, Nuland previously denied comments referencing Turkish military action, However there is sources inside Turkey claiming that there is a plain to arm the Syrian citizenry. The Syrians would be trained in the use of light anti tank weapons, light and heavy machineguns. The training is said to be underway at the refugee camps at the Turkish/Syrian border. The Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu in frustration stated today that all options are now off the table. Ms Nuland today spoke not only of sanctions, “tighten the noose economically and politically” as she put it. Ms. Nuland said that ”we will continue to do that” and speaking to the Turks frustration she said that “a  guy who is killing innocents over and over and over again, who week after week goes into more and more cities” implying that it leaves the Turks no choice.

Ms Nuland added “I think the question is: What is the right response from the international community? And we believe that U.S. ACTION alone is not going to have as much impact, as the Secretary said this morning, as ACTION by as many of the countries that are partner – trading partners, that are neighbors, that have influence with Syria as possible, ACTUALLY TAKING ACTION.”

The situation in Syria is getting worse and the logical conclusion is that the GCC and Turkey form a coalition and move to strike with military action. From all indications the U.S. will not be invited to the party, with the exception of advisers. The King of Saudi Arabia said the ramifications will be dealt with at a later date, he was referencing the relationship between Syria,Iran and Hamas.

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