The World Today
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|UN Peace Envoy, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi|
Yes indeed Syria paints a distressing picture on the canvas of the world. Is the Syrian conflict merely one that pitches the Syrian ruling powers against the Syrian commoners? Peculiarly, both sides have support and aid from outside the country. The allies of the Syrian government are obviously then opposed to those on the side of the rebels. And let us mind well that all those on one side are not necessarily each others' well wishers. There is no moral basis to any stand and so no consistency either. That is exactly what is happening at this moment.
So then is the Syrian conflict really an internal issue? The UN Peace Envoy, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi too, is reported to have said, "The Syrian crisis is very, very dangerous; the situation is bad and getting worse." "If it’s not a civil war, I don’t know what it is." Picking up where we left in the last post, let us study the situation in the countries that are bearing the brunt of the Syrian conflict or are possibly part of it. LEBANON: A spillover of the Syrian uprising has occurred in Lebanon dividing its political spectrum and religious groups between those favouring the Syrian government and those against it. The anti-Syrian front led mainly by the Sunnis, has called for Lebanese aid to the Free Syrian Army. The Lebanese government supported by the Hezbollah, is considered to favour the Syrian government. Being predominantly of the Shia sect, the Lebanese ruling powers are close to Iran and the Hezbollah too.
-(Pratyaksha 23rd October 2012)
Hezbollah is a Shi'a Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon and receives financial and political support from Iran and political support from Syria. Classified as a terrorist organization in whole or in part, the Hezbollah controls the largest and best-equipped armed force in Lebanon and its supply lines run from Iran through Syria which explains the vital strategic importance of a friendly power in Damascus.
|19th October 2012 Beirut Blast that killed Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan|
On Friday 19th October 2012 a huge blast rocked Beirut killing a senior intelligence officer Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan. The car bomb explosion left another 80 injured.
-(Pratyaksha 20th October 2012)
Heavy gunfire erupted in Beirut as protestors mainly Sunnis demanded that Prime Minister Najib Mikati quit office because he had failed to avert the attack on Hassan and he is too close to the Shi'ite Hezbollah that is part of his government as it is to Bashar al-Assad.
Lebanese politicians and common men accuse Syria's leadership of having a hand in the killing of Hassan who was a Sunni Muslim close to the Hariri clan (of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri) and had led an investigation that implicated Syria and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in 2005. He had also uncovered a bomb plot that led to the arrest and indictment of a pro Damascus former Lebanese minister.
-(Pratyaksha 22nd October 2012)
Meanwhile, Syrian refugees and rebel groups stream to the largely Sunni northern Lebanon, where they can count on substantial local support threatening to make northern Lebanon a proxy battleground of the Syrian conflict. TURKEY:
This Eurasian country that shares the longest border with Syria began feeling the impact of the Syrian conflict when at least 3,000 Syrian refugees fled crackdowns by the Syrian army. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that they were completely suspending all trade relations and agreements with Syria.
|Syrian Airbus flying from Moscow to Damascus that was Intercepted by Turkish Air Force|
The Turkish prime minister told a large rally that Turkey is not interested in a war, but it's not far from one either.
The Turkish border areas alongside Syria were attacked by the Syrian army as the Syrian rebels receive aid from Turkey. Turkey even sent fighter planes to the Syrian border.
-(Pratyaksha 13th & 14th October 2012)
Syrian-Turkish relations have long been strained. On 10th October 2012, Turkish Air Force intercepted a Syrian Airbus flying from Moscow to Damascus, in Turkish airspace and forced it to land,suspecting it was carrying Russian-made weapons. Russia's support to Syria has annoyed Turkey.
-(Pratyaksha 13th October 2012)
JORDAN: The Syria-Jordan relations have fluctuated between normal diplomatic relations and armed confrontations and each has supported and provided refuge to the other's internal opposition groups.
Syria supported the Palestinians against Jordan and as a counterweight to Syria, Jordan improved its relations with Iraq, and became one of its primary suppliers.
Now Jordan tries to remain neutral despite pressure from Syria on the one hand to crack down on the refugees and from Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the other, to allow weapons to move across the border to supply the rebels.
Adding to tensions is a military exercise Jordan is hosting along the border it shares with Syria. The "Eager Lion 2012"exercise is the largest in the region in 10 years and brings together army units from 17 countries, including the United States, France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Jordan and US officials denied that the exercise has anything to do with Syria.
ISRAEL: Syria is one of Israel’s principal immediate military threats. Syria's primary military objective has been the destruction of Israel, but since it has been defeated on the battlefield by the Israel Defence Forces in every major military engagement since 1948, in the last decade the country has turned to a new strategy: sponsor and assist terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah while also developing offensive, ballistic missile systems and proliferating weapons of mass destruction. Syria harbors in Damascus representatives of ten Palestinian terrorist organizations including Hamas. These groups have launched terrible attacks against innocent Israeli citizens.
Iran shares Syria's views on regional issues and has even funded Syria to buy weapons. What worries Israel is the fact that Syria is requesting Russia for long range missiles. The dramatic increase in military spending and effort to significantly upgrade its military capability keeps Syria as a major threat to Israel.
In December 2009, Syria and Iran signed an additional defense agreement aimed to face “common enemies and challenges.”
Syria has already received, via Iran, hundreds of extended-range North Korean Scud-C missiles, and is reportedly building its own ballistic missiles from imported technology. North Korea has supplied complete Scuds and production equipment to Syria. In 2003, Syria was said to have a new Scud-D missile, developed with Korean assistance, which has a range of 300 miles (sufficient to cover all of Israel). The missile is also capable of carrying chemical weapons.
Israel alleges that Iran had a hand in the blasts that killed the Lebanese chief of intelligence.
- (Pratyaksha 21st October 2012)
|Israeli Tank in the Golan Heights region|
Presently the Israel army is on a high alert as the three Syrian tanks entered the Golan Heights region where the peace keeping force has been stationed by the UN.
- (Pratyaksha 5th November 2012).
Israel has its own military posted on the borders of the Golan Heights region and in fact following the conflict against the Hezbollah it has raised the strength of the force and stationed the 'iron dome' that intercepts and destroys rockets and artillery shells.
As Israel prepares to take military action on Iran, Lebanese drones force into Israel and Hamas steps up its rocket attacks.
- (Pratyaksha 5th November 2012)
All said and done, it is said to be in the interest of Israel that the Assad government sustains power in Syria because if this government falls, the extremists will take over and that spells the worst threat for Israel of all the nations. This explains why Israel was not taking any stand on the Syria issue till now. But then the presence of the Syrian tankers in the Golan heights region will compel Israel to take adopt a decisive strategy.
- (Pratyaksha 5th November 2012) The situation is baffling and quite intricate. Let us wait and let us watch...
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Published at Mumbai, Maharashtra - India