Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Syria Links for 2/8/12

Washington's Secret Wars - Philip Giraldi,, 12/7/11
               At the beginning of last December, Giraldi breaks the story that the White House has issued two classified "findings" to the intelligence community, authorizing "stepped-up covert action against both Damascus and Tehran."  In the context of Syria, this comes after an intensive period of collaboration between the U.S. government and Syrian opposition groups, notably the Syrian National Council and its associated military wing, the Free Syrian Army.

Obama Administration secretly preparing options for aiding the Syrian opposition - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy: The Cable, 12/28/11
             This article follows up on Giraldi's reporting, stating that "The National Security Council (NSC) has begun an informal, quiet interagency process to create and collect options for aiding the Syrian opposition."  Rogin reports that the group, led by NSC senior director Steve Simon and State Department official Frederic C. Hof, is considering "establishing a humanitarian corridor or safe zone for civilians in Syria along the Turkish border, extending humanitarian aid to the Syrian rebels, providing medical aid to Syrian clinics, engaging more with the external and internal opposition, forming an international contact group, or appointing a special coordinator for working with the Syrian opposition." One of the two officials who provided the information with Rogin also gives a key quote, stating, "There are many people in the administration that realize the status quo is unsustainable and there is an internal recognition that existing financial sanctions are not going to bring down the Syrian regime in the near future."

The Shadow War in Syria - Pepe Escobar, The Asia Times, 12/2/11
              This article reports much of the political groundwork that led to the bureaucratic movement noted above.  It states that Libya's new "Transitional National Council," held a secret meeting with the SNC in Istanbul, following which 600 Libyan fighters, armed with the remnants of Gadafhi's arsenal, were sent to join the Free Syrian Army.  It also reports that diplomats in Brussels have told the Asia Times that the FSA has set up a command center in Iskenderun, Turkey, on the Westernmost crook of the Mediterranean.  Built to engineer what is being termed "humanitarian corridors" the Iskenderun command is located only 60 miles from Aleppo, the cultural capitol of Syria.  Escobar writes that "these humanitarians consist of ground, naval, air force and engineering specialists. Their mission: infiltrate northern Syria, especially Idlib, Rastan, Homs but most of all the big prize, Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, with at least 2.5 million people, the majority of which are Sunni and Kurdish. "  The article also contains extensive information about the Syrian peoples opinions of the FSA, as well as the role of Saudi Arabia and the GCC in promiting intrigue in the country.

The Great Game in Syria - Alastair Crooke, The Asia Times, 10/22/11

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