NATO countries are strongly considering the possibility of an international deployment to Syria if the Syrian opposition does not make major advances in the next few weeks, according to informed Middle Eastern diplomatic and security officials.Egyptian security officials, meanwhile, outlined what they said was large scale international backing for the rebels attacking the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad – including arms and training from the U.S., Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.Several knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials claimed the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.The security officials also claimed Saudi Arabia was sending weapons to the rebels via surrogatesSyrian sources claimed to WND that Jordan’s fingerprints can be seen on the opposition forces entering the country. They claimed that just this week they shot dead 15 armed smugglers coming into the country from Jordan and that Jordanian forces helped to cover the smugglers’ tracks on the Jordanian side of the border. They said the incident did not make it to the news media.
The NATO members, however, have been satisfied with the momentum of the opposition in the last few days, which saw a number of defectors from the Syrian military join the rebels, a move that also precipitated the downfall of Muammar Gadhafi’s regime before the NATO campaign in Libya.
Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by President Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing.”As WND reported, Soros’ Open Society Institute is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Center for Responsibility to Protect. Also, Thakur and Evans sit on multiple boards with Soros.
“If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified,” Soros wrote. “By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states’ borders to protect the rights of citizens.
The State Department has begun coordinating with Syria’s neighbors to prepare for the handling of President Bashar al-Assad’s extensive weapons of mass destruction if and when his regime collapses, The Cable has learned.This week, the State Department sent a diplomatic demarche to Syria’s neighbors Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, warning them about the possibility of Syria’s WMDs crossing their borders and offering U.S. government help in dealing with the problemSyria is believed to have a substantial chemical weapons program, which includes mustard gas and sophisticated nerve agents, such as sarin gas, as well as biological weapons. Syria has also refused IAEA requests to make available facilities that were part of its nuclear weapons program and may still be in operation.State Department wanted Syria's neighbors to know that should the Assad regime fall, the security of its WMD stockpile -- as well as its control over conventional weapons like MANPADS (shoulder-fired rocket launchers) -- could come into question and could pose a serious threat to regional security.In addition to the danger of proliferation, there is a concern that Assad could actually use his WMDs if his situation becomes desperate."[The demarche] puts Syria's neighbors on notice and it reflects the recognition that a dangerous Assad regime is willing to do anything to save its own skin. If they are willing to kill the country to save the regime, they might be willing to do a great deal more damage throughout the region."
A first meeting of the Friends of Syria group has highlighted divisions inside the coalition and among Syrian opposition leaders.Officials and ministers from over 60 African, Arab, Asian, Latin American and Nato countries met in Tunis on Friday (24 February) to discuss what to do about the sectarian war in Syria.
One EU diplomat in Tunis called the event "chaotic," with ministers going in and out for bilateral huddles. Some EU delegations left early for other commitments.
Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia emerged as hawks.Saudi foreign minister Saud Faisal told press the Friends of Syria should ship arms to rebels: "I think it would be an excellent idea ... because they need to protect themselves." Qatar and Tunisia called for Arab countries to send in troops.
China and Russia also declined to send anyone to Tunis in a sign of their ongoing support for Assad.
Another EU diplomat noted there is division even inside the EU camp.
In an attempt to counter any attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon is strengthening US defenses in the Persian Gulf, according to a report by The on Saturday.According to defense officials, the US military has notified Congress of plans to beef up sea and land bases in the area,The Wall Street Journal reported.
Iran has made a series of threats in recent weeks to disrupt shipping in the Gulf or strike US forces in retaliation if its oil trade is shut down by sanctions, or if its disputed nuclear program comes under attack.
Iran has built up its naval forces in the Gulf and prepared boats that could be used in suicide attacks, but the US Navy can prevent it from blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the commander of US naval forces in the region said earlier in the month.
"They have increased the number of submarines ... they increased the number of fast attack craft," Vice Admiral Mark Fox told reporters. "Some of the small boats have been outfitted with a large warhead that could be used as a suicide explosive device. The Iranians have a large mine."Iranian officials have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the outlet to the Gulf through which nearly all of the Middle East's oil sails.
“There is serious concern that Iran's nuclear has a dimension directed toward developing nuclear weapons,” Channel 10 quoted the report as having said. The IAEA also said in its report that it found that Iran's uranium enrichment process has only gained momentum in the last few months.The IAEA added that Iran has significantly expanded its operations at its nuclear facility near the city of Natanz and has also increased the work at the underground facility in Fordo. Data presented in the report said that close to 170 centrifuges are currently operating in Natanz and close to 700 centrifuges are operating in Fordo.The Washingon-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said this week it had new indications of hidden weapons work by Iran.
Iran must address “serious concerns” about “possible military dimensions” to its nuclear programme after significantly escalating its ability to enrich uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday.The latest report by the IAEA is likely to deepen Israel’s fears about Iran’s intentions, particularly the build-up of centrifuges in the Fordow facility, which is dug into a mountainside and could be immune from military attack.Six UN resolutions say that Iran should stop enriching uranium, a highly sensitive process that could be used to make the essential material for a nuclear weapon.
This sudden rise in the number of operational centrifuges shows that, on the contrary, Iran is stepping up its enrichment capacity.
And over the last 24 hours we have seen another surge in world-wide earthquakes; another story that we need to be following closely. Just take a look at the "large" quakes that have occurred over the last day or so and note the diversity in location:
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFORMATION EMSC South Island Of New Zealand Feb 25 10:27 AM 4.6 20.0 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Off E. Coast Of S. Island, N.z. Feb 25 10:27 AM 4.4 10.0 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Kuril Islands Feb 25 08:47 AM 5.0 20.0 MAP I Felt It USGS Kuril Islands Feb 25 08:47 AM 4.9 26.4 MAP I Felt It EMSC Kuril Islands Feb 25 08:47 AM 5.1 20.0 MAP I Felt It USGS Samar, Philippines Feb 25 07:02 AM 5.0 167.9 MAP I Felt It EMSC Samar, Philippines Feb 25 07:01 AM 5.2 30.0 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Samar, Philippines Feb 25 07:01 AM 5.2 29.0 MAP I Felt It EMSC Kuril Islands Feb 25 06:18 AM 5.2 40.0 MAP I Felt It USGS Kuril Islands Feb 25 06:18 AM 5.3 23.4 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Kuril Islands Feb 25 06:18 AM 5.3 26.0 MAP I Felt It EMSC Kuril Islands Feb 25 06:15 AM 5.0 40.0 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Kuril Islands Feb 25 06:15 AM 5.3 29.0 MAP I Felt It USGS Kuril Islands Feb 25 06:15 AM 5.2 23.1 MAP I Felt It USGS Northern Colombia Feb 25 06:15 AM 4.6 158.7 MAP I Felt It EMSC Northern Colombia Feb 25 06:15 AM 4.6 148.0 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Northern Colombia Feb 25 06:15 AM 4.6 145.0 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Banda Sea Feb 25 03:31 AM 4.6 184.0 MAP I Felt It EMSC Kepulauan Babar, Indonesia Feb 25 03:31 AM 4.6 200.0 MAP I Felt It USGS Kepulauan Babar, Indonesia Feb 25 03:31 AM 4.6 185.7 MAP I Felt It EMSC Gulf Of Aden Feb 25 02:01 AM 4.7 10.0 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Eastern Gulf Of Aden Feb 25 02:01 AM 4.7 22.0 MAP I Felt It USGS Maug Islands Region, Northern Mariana Islands Feb 25 01:12 AM 5.3 127.4 MAP I Felt It GEOFON Mariana Islands Region Feb 25 01:11 AM 5.2 118.0 MAP I Felt It EMSC Maug Islands Reg, N. Mariana Is. Feb 25 01:11 AM 5.3 100.0 MAP I Felt It
And a glance at the seismic monitor tells the story visually: