Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Russia and France equals a softened position on Syria

"We believe the Syrian leadership reacted wrongly to the first appearance of peaceful protests and ... is making very many mistakes," Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, told local radio station Kommersant-FM. Al Jazeera

The quote supports my thought that the Russian counter-terrorist Marines indicate a concern Assad may be overthrown by a coup. Russia has stood by the Assad regime but their deployment of troops would indicate their are losing their faith or patience with him.

The article also had this comment:
"In a bid to win Russian and Chinese support, France has watered down a proposed UN Security Council statement calling on the Syrian government and the opposition to immediately implement proposals by international envoy Kofi Annan to end the year-long bloodshed." Al Jazeera

This seems to paint the March 11th shootings in Toulouse, France where 3 French paratroopers, 3 children and a rabbi were killed.

The suspect is 24 years old, of French nationality and says "he belongs to al-Qaeda," Gueant told reporters. He said the suspect "wants to take revenge for Palestinian children" killed in the Middle East, and is angry at the French military for its operations abroad. The man was known to authorities for having spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The shooting suspect is "talking a lot, claiming his jihadist convictions" and calling himself a "mujahedeen," Gueant said. USA Today

Could the shootings have convinced France to take a less hard-line stance against Syria? While I was researching the shooting, I came across this "A bomb blast outside Indonesia's embassy in Paris on Wednesday caused serious damage to surrounding buildings but no injuries...The bomb exploded around 5:45 am (0445 GMT), when the streets of western Paris were relatively quiet, blowing out windows in a 50-metre (54-yard) radius and setting fire to two cars."
Google News

If Paris was somehow coerced (either real or imagined) into changing their position, then we may see more attacks. It also casts recent events in Afghanistan in a new light. I still am unconvinced US military personnel (who have been engaged in Muslim countries since Desert Storm) would not know the books seized from the prisoners were Qurans. I think someone, somewhere was hoping that burning the Qurans would create enough of a backlash to pull the troops out. Do I have proof? No. I just have my experience that says someone would have pointed the importance of those books.

Then there is the strange case of Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who killed 16 Afghani civilians. According to the reports in media, Bales was scarred by several tours of duty, had recently watched a fellow soldier have his leg blown off, was facing marital problems back home and, on the day of the massacre, had been drinking heavily. But then there is this new report surfacing "Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the Norwood native accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, was ordered in 2003 to repay more than $1.5 million to a Carroll couple after it was alleged that he stole the couple's money as a financial adviser."Newark Advocate

Bales had been a financial advisor prior to joining the US Army. Somehow this finding did not concern the US Army, even though troops who have excessive debt are considered a security risk. Bales had also been recently denied a promotion. My point is this case seems to be the perfect storm to accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Whether by design or by accident, the Quran burnings and Bales massacre will have a major impact on US policy.

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