[Cross-posted from European Tribune – where dissent is NOT troll rated!]
The US has warned Syrian rebels in the south-west of the country they should not expect military support to help them resist a major government offensive. The message from Washington comes as Russian jets struck an opposition-held town on Sunday in the first air cover provided by Moscow to an expanding Syrian army offensive in the strategic area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The US message sent to heads of the Free Syrian Army said Washington wanted to make clear that “you should not base your decisions on the assumption or expectation of a military intervention by us”.
The Syrian army began ramping up its assault last week in order to recapture the area.
Washington had warned the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and his Russian allies that violations of a “de-escalation” zone agreed by the US and Russia last year would have “serious repercussions” and pledged “firm and appropriate measures”.
The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Friday the Syrian military escalation “unambiguously violates” the de-escalation arrangement. “Russia will ultimately bear responsibility for any further escalations in Syria,” Haley said in a statement.
More below the fold …
— Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai) June 24, 2018
The battle of Daraa against the “Islamic State” (ISIS) group (known under the name of Jaish Khaled Bin al-Waleed), al-Qaeda and the “Free Syrian Army” is happening without doubt. The Syrian government won’t take into consideration the US menace to bomb the Syrian Army, or Israel’s threat – Israel which is supporting Jihadists for years offering to these finance, intelligence information and medical assistance – to prevent the Damascus forces from reaching the borders. Damascus will also ignore the Russian-US-Jordanian agreement of protecting and respecting the de-escalation zone for very long.
Damascus asked its special forces under the command of General Suheil al-Hassan (known as al-Nimer – Tiger) to move to Daraa. These forces have been operating exclusively under the Russian military command over the entire Syrian geography. The Syrian government is also gathering anti-air missile units in Daraa and in also at the back of the front around Damascus and have commanded its strategic missile units to be ready to intervene offering protection to the ground forces. This indicates the forthcoming battle is expected to be harsh and doesn’t exclude the intervention of the regional forces in Syria.
The Syrian command ignored the US and the Israeli requests to exclude Hezbollah and the Iranian allies from being present in Daraa. Thus, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asked Hezbollah al-Ridwan Special Forces to take positions in Daraa and around it to participate in the forthcoming attack.
Sources on the ground believe the US is not expected to pull out of al-Tanf crossing between Syria and Iraq – as requested by Damascus in exchange of Hezbollah and Iran absence in Daraa – because Israel believes the battle is not going to take place.
Today Israel repeatedly warns the Assad regime it will attack Iranian forces coming near the Golan Heights in South West Syria: Golan Heights and South/West Syria.
RT @USUN: It’s a new day at the @UN. We were proud that more countries were on the right side of history yesterday, than weren’t, when it came to condemning Hamas and holding them responsible in Gaza. Read more here:https://t.co/3eCn1I52v7
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) June 14, 2018
Further reading …
In December 2004, King Abdullah of Jordan inaugurated the modern sectarian era by warning the US and Arab allies of a “Shia crescent,” a relentless Iranian crusade to subvert and dominate the Middle East. That prophecy was fulfilled, with the resultant Sunni-Arab coalition helping fuel a new wave of tensions and conflict with Iran.
Yet two weeks ago, Abdullah shocked many by shaking hands with the Shia nemesis. His meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit in Istanbul was barely mentioned by Jordan’s press, for good reason. As vanguard for the Sunni-Arab coalition, Abdullah had long framed Iran as the mortal foe of the Arab world. With Amman’s political salons buzzing, though, the royal palace gave no explanation.
A historical context
This about-face is significant for the same reason that Abdullah’s refusal to shake hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) during April’s Arab League summit was controversial. Jordan’s geopolitical world has turned upside down since 2016, as a US-Israeli-Saudi axis has come to dominate regional affairs.
Jordan has no place in this new order, leaving it scrambling for new alliances to survive. In this profound irony, the oldest critic of the Shia crescent may well become its newest friend.
Jordan’s regional position flows from historical context. Most states hope to thrive; Jordan is lucky to survive. It gained sovereignty 70 years ago with no natural resources and a contentious society chafing under its imported monarchy. Its sole asset was location, as the virtually landlocked kingdom flanked Israel and geographically connected all the Mashreq to the Arabian Gulf.
I wrote a post recently about the situation of King Abdullah of Jordan …
The “frontline” states to stop Soviet communism was allied in CENTO after the Pact of Baghdad was undersigned during the first Cold War. The Red Crescent states are now part of the Shia alliance through the Islamic Republic of Iran: from Teheran thru Baghdad – Damascus and Beirut. Qatar has failed miserably thru the Muslim Brotherhood alliance with Turkey, Egypt under Morsi, Libya and the Hamas revolutionaries in Gaza. HRC was the darling of Erdogan, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar and by extension the star of Al Jazeera in Doha.
The Sword of Islam represented by those state were propped up by the old colonial powers France and Britain with world power US. Western allies proliferated nuclear know-how to Israel and Pakistan: the Jewish and Islam atomic bomb.
Crown-prince Salman tries to form a military alliance that includes Pakistan. The KSA had already bribed the former president of Malaysia, an investigation is happening today.
No love lost between the Saudi and Hashemite Kingdoms: not only did Yasser Arafat pick the wrong ally in de Saddam invasion of Kuwait, so did King Hussein … until his speech.
As Iraq Awaits Saddam’s Downfall, King Hussein Revives Hashemite Claim
Declaring in his opening lines: “God Bless the Arab Hashemite Prophet,” the king reaffirmed his dynasty’s legitimacy as Muslim rulers through its direct descent from the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. This is extremely significant. Not even Saudi King Fahd, the Custodian of the Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina (a title previously held by King Hussein’s great-grandfather and his forefathers) can claim this.
The king recalled the brutal death of his cousin and closest boyhood friend, King Faisal II, in the July 1958 Iraqi revolution, comparing this to the historic martyrdom at Karbala in Islam’s early days of Imam Hussein (the Prophet’s grandson).
The Bush Administration, though annoyed with the King for his speech, nevertheless quickly concluded that the Jordanian monarch would still provide the most stable leadership for Jordan.
Jordan’s burden of a major Palestinian population inside its borders. King Abdullah blocked Palestinian refugees te enter its Kingdom, as these are “cared for” by the UN under the 1948 agreement. A horrible place to be near Damascus for Palestinians – Yarmuk refugee camp.
King Hussein send Jordan’s military unit to fight against Iranians in support of Saddam – 1982
The decision to attack revolutionary Iran was seen as opportunistic and shortsighted. It was criticized by leading Palestinians for diverting attention away from Arab confrontation of Israel. With new worries that Israel is prepared to attack Palestinians in southern Lebanon — and also possibly Syria and Jordan — deeper Jordanian involvement in the Gulf war is seen as misplaced priorities.
The Jordanian government is hesitant to answer questions about the numbers signing up for the King’s new ”Yarmuk” force (named after a decisive Arab battle against Byzantium in the 8th century) or about what sorts of bonuses are being promised. Judging by conversations with Jordanians from various walks of life, however, there does not appear to be a flood of volunteers.
My recent diary …
— Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai) June 23, 2018