Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Syrian Army Storms Dara’a, Cracking Down on Rebels

The crackdown by the Syrian government on rebels has led to 400 killed so far. The Syrian government lifted the state of emergency that had been in place for years only to open fire on the rebels. This is not the first time this has happened in Syria. In 1982, at least 10,000 were killed as an Islamist revolt was crushed. Unlike Egypt, the military has no problems attacking the Syrians.

The problems in Syria has serious implications for Lebanon. Lebanon received independence from the French after World War II. Since 1964, portions of the Lebanon/Syrian border have remained unclear and a point of contention. In Syria's eyes, Lebanon is part of Syria and not an independent nation.

It is no coincidence that Hezbollah is based in Lebanon. The Shi'a group rose in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The group receives funding from Syria and Iran, many of the Hezbollah leaders having received training from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. In addition to an obvious hatred of Israel, Hezbollah also looks to overthrow any "imperialist" rule. Hezbollah also plays a role in Syria's confrontation with Israel over the occupation of the Golan Heights.

Basically whatever Iran says it what happens in Syria and Lebanon. The United States and NATO have jumped into the Libyan situation without much to show for it beyond raising gas prices. Suspicions of a US desire to attack Iran have been mounting under Secretary of State Clinton. The potential seems to have diminished once the rebellions in Egypt and Libya began. Now with hostilities increasing and civilian casualties mounting in Syria, the specter of the United States becoming involved in an area with ties to Iran increases. Unlike Libya, the Iranian military is not distracted attacking their citizens. Unlike Libya, Iran has surface to surface ballistic missiles, Silkworm anti-shipping missiles and very likely nuclear weapons. When rumors first started to surface about the US trying to pick a fight with Iran, we were not engaged with Libya. Unless the Obama administration ceases operations in either Iraq or Afghanistan, I seriously question the US military ability to wage sustained, multiple campaigns with any real success.

The Chinese are watching with amusement as we continue to going further in debt being the world's police force. Then of course one has to wonder, what of North Korea?


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