Entries Tagged as 'Syria'

Growing Threat To US As Enemies Acquiring More Ballistic Missiles, Senate Told

RTT News
May 10, 2013

Senior U.S. defense officials underscored the importance of ballistic missile defense modernization efforts requested in the fiscal 2014 budget proposal citing disturbing trends in Iran, North Korea, Syria and elsewhere around the globe.

“The threat continues to grow as our potential adversaries are acquiring a greater number of ballistic missiles, increasing their range and making them more complex, survivable, reliable and accurate,” Navy Vice Adm. J.D. Syring, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a testimony on Thursday.

“The missile defense mission is becoming more challenging as potential adversaries incorporate [ballistic missile defense] countermeasures,” he reported.

Syring said the Missile Defense Agency “is engaged either bilaterally or multilaterally with nearly two dozen countries and international organizations,” including NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council. He reported “good progress in our work with our international partners.”

The budget requests $9.2 billion in fiscal 2014 and $45.7 billion over future years to develop and deploy missile defense capabilities.

Madelyn Creedon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for global strategic affairs, told the panel that these capabilities would both protect the U.S. homeland and strengthen regional missile defenses.

The administration remains committed to developing proven and cost-effective missile defense capabilities through the phased advance approach to regional missile defense, Creedon noted in her written statement.

“This approach puts emphasis on a flexible military toolkit with forces that are mobile and scalable. They underwrite deterrence in peacetime, but can be surged in crisis to meet defense requirements,” she said. …

Read on: www.rttnews.com/2114860/growing-threat-to-us-as-enemies-acquiring-more-ballistic-missiles-senate-told.aspx

The US Doesn’t Have Any Good Military Options In Syria

Business Insider Australia
By Michael Kelley
April 29, 2013

There is evidence that troops loyal to Syrian Bashar al-Assad have used chemical weapons, and U.S. lawmakers are urging President Obama to respond.

But it’s not that simple.

The military options range from one-off missile strikes on infrastructure linked to chemical weapons, to carving out no-fly zones, and even as far as putting 20,000 U.S. troops in Jordan for a ground invasion.

All carry risks. Invasion has it’s obvious drawbacks (which the U.S. learned in Iraq), and establishing a humanitarian area in the north by destroying Syrian air defenses and artillery may have the same effect.

Once you set up a military no-fly zone or safe zone, you’re on a slippery slope, mission creep and before you know it, you have boots on the ground,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, told Reuters. “Or you end up like Libya where you don’t really have a control mechanism for the end-game, should you end up with chaos.” …

Read on: http://au.businessinsider.com/us-military-options-in-syria-2013-4

World View — Report: U.S. Military Action in Syria May Be Imminent

By John J. Xenakis
March 31, 2013

Debka: U.S., Israel, Turkey, Jordan planning military action in Syria

I try to be cautious about quoting Debka, whose reporters have contacts within intelligence services in a number of countries. On the one hand, they provide insights that are not available elsewhere. But on the other hand, they sometimes get things wrong. In the past few years, they’ve predicted several imminent wars that never occurred. Debka’s weekly subscriber-only newsletter (sent to me by a subscriber) is laying out plans for imminent military action in Syria, to counter the threat of chemical and biological weapons, either by the regime of president Bashar al-Assad, or by al-Qaeda linked terrorists, such as the jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra Brigades. The following is a summary of what Debka is saying. I leave it to you, Dear Reader, to do your own evaluation as to how close we are to full-scale war in Syria: …

Read the summary here: www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/03/30/31-Mar-13-World-View-Report-U-S-military-action-in-Syria-may-be-imminent

U.S. Troops Train For Possible Mission To Secure Syrian Chemical Agents

By Tom Bowman
March 13, 2013

Several weeks ago, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the U.S. is planning what to do about Syria’s vast chemical weapons program once Bashar Assad’s regime falls. The Syrians are believed to have hundreds of tons of chemical agents, including sarin, one of the deadliest chemical agents. A few drops can be lethal.

So the central question is this: How can those sites be secured so they don’t fall into the wrong hands?

NPR has learned that the 82nd Airborne Division just wrapped up a nine-day training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., working with Army chemical experts from the 20th Support Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, to get ready for a possible mission to deal with those deadly chemicals in Syria.

Thousands of paratroopers jumped in and practiced fighting a foe and surrounding buildings. They wore chemical protective gear, practiced using chemical detectors and corralled mock chemical munitions for containment.

“In support of our roles to the Global Response Force mission, we are taking prudent measures to ensure we are trained and ready for any mission we are called to execute based on volatile regions across the world,” says Lt. Col. Virginia McCabe, a spokeswoman for the 82nd.

As part of that global response, the 82nd always has a brigade on a “short string,” ready to deploy in 18 hours. …

Read on: www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/03/13/174235963/u-s-troops-train-for-possible-mission-to-secure-syrian-chemical-agents

US, EU may start training and equipping Syrian rebels

February 27, 2013

The US will increase aid to the Syrian opposition, the White House has announced. Europe may follow suit by increasing aid to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The decision is expected after a key conference on Syria in Rome.

“We will continue to provide assistance to the Syrian people, to the Syrian opposition, we will continue to increase our assistance in the effort to bring about a post-Assad Syria,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

“We are constantly reviewing the nature of the assistance we provide to both the Syrian people, in form of humanitarian assistance, and to the Syrian opposition in the form of non-lethal assistance,” he said.

So far the US has no plans to provide the Syrian insurgency with body armor, vehicles or military training, Reuters reported citing sources familiar with the matter.

Washington is however changing its policy on the conflict, and will send “medical supplies and food” directly to the rebels, sources said.

Earlier, the Washington Post reported that the White House is considering sending the rebels body armor and armed vehicles, and also possibly providing military training.

Until now, Western countries’ official support to the forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad was limited to direct contact, logistical assistance and political backing.

Several top figures in the Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former CIA chief David Petraeus pushed for closer engagement with the Syrian rebels last year, which would likely include arming them. …

Read on: http://rt.com/news/us-eu-armor-syrian-rebels-516/

U.S. Military Is Sent to Jordan to Help With Crisis in Syria

New York Times
By Michael R. Gordon and Elisabeth Bumiller
October 9, 2012

The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there handle a flood of Syrian refugees, prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons and be positioned should the turmoil in Syria expand into a wider conflict.

The task force, which has been led by a senior American officer, is based at a Jordanian military training center built into an old rock quarry north of Amman. It is now largely focused on helping Jordanians handle the estimated 180,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed the border and are severely straining the country’s resources.

American officials familiar with the operation said the mission also includes drawing up plans to try to insulate Jordan, an important American ally in the region, from the upheaval in Syria and to avoid the kind of clashes now occurring along the border of Syria and Turkey.

The officials said the idea of establishing a buffer zone between Syria and Jordan — which would be enforced by Jordanian forces on the Syrian side of the border and supported politically and perhaps logistically by the United States — had been discussed. But at this point the buffer is only a contingency. …

Read on: www.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/world/middleeast/us-military-sent-to-jordan-on-syria-crisis.html

Leon Panetta: US military planning for greater role in Syria conflict

The Christian Science Monitor
By Anna Mulrine
April 19, 2012

US military officials are crafting possible new strategies to ‘protect the Syrian people’ from the Assad regime, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday on Capitol Hill. NATO’s Libya intervention may be a model.

The Pentagon is “reviewing and planning for a range of additional measures that may be necessary to protect the Syrian people,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday, with top US military planners using the recent US intervention in Libya as a potential template for action.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Panetta said the violence in Syria has been “brutal and devastating,” putting the Syrian people “in a desperate” situation.

Iran is helping to prop up Syrian strongmen, Panetta contended, supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “with material, financial, and technical assistance.” That’s because “no other country stands to lose more than Iran from the eventual fall of the Assad regime,” he added.

For now, the US is in the process of sending “nonlethal” aid, including communications and medical equipment, to the civilian-led opposition in Syria. The Pentagon is also providing humanitarian relief to the tune of $25 million.

These measures are putting pressure on the Assad regime, Panetta argued. He acknowledged, however, that more may need to be done.

“There are legitimate questions” about what steps are needed to bring an end to the Assad regime, he said, “with some arguing for an approach similar to the one we took in Libya.” …

Read on: www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2012/0419/Leon-Panetta-US-military-planning-for-greater-role-in-Syria-conflict

US officials: Loyal army, inner circle back Assad

News 10NBC
By Kimberly Dozier
March 11, 2012

Despite the Obama administration’s predictions that the Syrian government’s days are numbered, recent U.S. intelligence reports suggest President Bashar Assad commands a formidable army that is unlikely to turn on him, an inner circle that has stayed loyal and an elite class that still supports his rule.

The assessment hinted at a continuing campaign lasting several months, if not longer, with more Syrians dying. For the past year, Assad’s government has tried to crush a popular uprising inspired by the Arab Spring movements. The U.N. says more than 7,500 people have died.

Over time, worsening economic conditions could threaten Assad’s hold on power. Food prices recently doubled, unemployment is rising and refined fuel products are running out.

But no mass protests over food or fuel shortages have broken out, and there hasn’t been any discernible slowing in military activity because of a lack of supplies, three senior intelligence officials said Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity to provide a snapshot of recent intelligence reports and analysis of the crisis.

Satellite imagery shows a new ferociousness to the government’s attacks, including artillery shelling of mosques, schools, playgrounds and a hospital, in the Sunni neighborhood of Homs, the officials said.

Assad’s forces mounted a new assault Saturday on the northern region of Idlib, one of the centers of the uprising against the president. The military operation has raised fears of a new all-out offensive like the siege last month that captured Homs.

The army’s campaigns have driven 2,000 refugees over the Lebanese border, displaced up to 200,000 more Syrians and spurred some, including the deputy oil minister, to defect, while two army generals are reported to have departed.

But none of the defectors thus far is regarded as belonging to Assad’s inner circle, not all who have abandoned him have joined the opposition, and there are no indications of a broader pattern of elites pulling their support for him. That includes not just Assad’s Allawite clan, but the minority Christians, Kurds and Druze, who all fear persecution under a possible Sunni Islamic rule.

President Barack Obama said this past week that the bloodshed was heartbreaking and inexcusable, but he made clear that he does not favor military action now against Assad.

“The notion that the way to solve every one of these problems is to deploy our military, that hasn’t been true in the past and it won’t be true now,” Obama said. He suggested Assad will leave without an outside military shove, but he gave no indication when. …

Read on: www.whec.com/news/stories/S2532792.shtml?cat=10065