The collapse of the Eid al Adha truce brokered by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi left Syria careering into unknown territory.The powers which castigate Bashar Assad for butchering his people refuse to abandon their hands-off policy for clipping his wings. On this point, there is little difference between US President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney, except that the latter says Syrian rebels ought to be given heavy arms for defense against Assad’s army, tanks and air force.Even America’s allies in the region are being held back from direct military confrontation with the Assad regime.
Turkey was on the verge of expanding its border clashes with Syria into active backing for the rebels with a view to carving out a buffer strip, a safe haven and a no-fly zone on and over Syrian soil. But then, last week Obama sent the Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs, to Ankara to hold Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan back from any cross-border action. He was followed by his deputy.Assad, the Syrian rebels – and al Qaeda too - sense that the country is now up for grabs. This realization is shared by their various sponsors, including Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and the Emir of Qatar.The Syrian ruler therefore feels he is sitting pretty with no one around who is willing or able to stop the indiscriminate air bombardment of urban areas which he began to intensify in the last week.
By the same token, Russia and Iran don’t face international opposition to the arms and personnel back-up they are providing Assad’s forces.In sharp contrast, the Obama administration is entangled by his critics at home in a crisis over the circumstances surrounding the terrorist murder of US ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 diplomats at the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The administration is accused of failing to provide the necessary security before and during the consulate raid. The ambassador played a key role in US undercover operations to neutralize Libya and the region against destabilizing jihadists.As an indirect consequence of the crisis around his death, the supply of SA-7 missiles from Libya to the Syrian rebels has dried up.After looking around him, Assad felt he could safely put into practice his plot for the assassination of the Lebanese security chief Brig. Gen. Wassam in Beirut on Friday, Oct. 19.By a single stroke, the Syrian knocked over the mainstay of US-Saudi intelligence operations in Syria. But, as a vital hub for the American war on al Qaeda in the region, the Lebanese security chief’s importance far transcended a single conflict. His death was a major blow for US intelligence.So the two murders eliminated two linchpins of the US undercover war on al Qaeda in the region and left a free field for Assad and the jihadists to fight it out between them for supremacy.
Syrian rebels said on Wednesday they had formed a brigade of sympathetic Palestinians in a Damascus district to fight armed Palestinians aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
About 150,000 Palestinian refugees live in the Syrian capital's Yarmouk camp, a sprawling area of concrete apartment blocks, where some residents support the 19-month-old uprising against Assad and others fight alongside Syrian soldiers.
In an with the Daily Telegraph, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel almost attacked Iran eight months ago – but that the “moment of truth” was postponed after Iran redirected part of its enriched uranium to civilian uses. Without that decision, a confrontation with Iran would have almost certainly developed, said Barak.
When asked why he thought Iran made this decision, Barak said that there are at least three explanatioms. One was the discussion about a possible attack on Iran. It could also be the result of diplomatic pressure not to make things more tense before the U.S. presidential . It could also be an attempt by Iran to show the International Atomic Energy Agency that it can comply with international requets when it wishes, Barak added.
When asked about future Israeli plans to attack Iran, Barak said simply that “Israel reserves the right to defend itself, by itself. An action against Iran will be much safer than an attack against an Iran that achieves nuclear capability.” Sanctions and diplomatic pressure have not worked, said Barak, and he warned that as a result, Israel and its allies will have to deal with the decision on whether or not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities “in the coming year.”
The presidential campaign has featured plenty of talk about terrorism in the Middle East, but one lawmaker is warning that the federal government is ignoring a growing Hezbollah presence in Mexico, with the Lebanese terror group increasingly joining forces with drug cartels.
One report shows hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners living in Mexico, and a small percentage of them may be radicals using routes established by drug networks to sneak into the U.S.
The ties linking Mexico to Islamic terrorism were underscored earlier this year when an alleged Iranian operative plotted to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington using a hired gun on loan from a Mexican drug cartel. Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) says the mounting evidence of a Hezbollah presence in Mexico is being ignored by the Department of Homeland Security.
"I don't have a lot of faith in the Department of Homeland Security," said Myrick. "They should be looking at these groups in Mexico much more closely."
Speculation of these groups operating in Mexico eventually became more tangible in the fall of 2010, when the Tucson Police Department published an International Terrorism Situational Awareness for Hezbollah in Mexico citing the arrest of Jameel Nasar in Tijuana in July 2010, who attempted to establish a Hezbollah network in Mexico and South America.
The previous year, Jamal Yousef was arrested in New York City, where it was learned that 100 M16 rifles, 100 AR15 rifles, 200 hand grenades, C4 explosive and anti-tank ammunition were stolen from Iraq by his cousin, an alleged Hezbollah member, and stored in Mexico.