June 11, 2013. Damascus. (ONN) With the entrance of Hezbollah into the Syrian civil war on the side of the Russian-backed Assad regime, the US is rushing to aid its allies within the rebel forces. As American Marines flood neighboring Jordan, Russia has dispatched fleets of warships to the Middle East. Both sides appear to be sending signals that they won’t back down and the result could be a military conflict between the world’s two largest superpowers.
Russian Naval Base in Tartus, Syria. Image courtesy of Google & RT.
Syrian government winning
Almost immediately after Lebanese-based Hezbollah sent tens of thousands of fighters into Syria to help government forces, the stalemate in the Syrian civil war was broken. For the past month, the tide of battle has noticeably turned in favor of President Assad and his Russian and Iranian-backed forces. And the success hasn’t just been militarily.
After months of accusations by France, Israel and Syrian rebels, more and more international sources are disclosing the detection of chemical weapons in Syria. The only problem for the US is that the majority of evidence points to the American-backed Islamic jihadists as being the ones responsible for using the banned weapons. The list of those making that suggestion includes one UN observer, one former US official, leaked US communications, and even a YouTube video made and posted by the rebels documenting themselves using chemical weapons.
US allies divided
The Syrian government forces, and especially their global allies, are united in opposition to the US-led rebels. Russia, China, Iran and Lebanon are firmly and seriously committed to standing by the Assad regime. Repeatedly, Russia and China have blocked UN resolutions condemning the government while Iran and Lebanon have solidified their assistance on the ground.
On the other side of the looming war are the US and her allies, including America’s arch enemies – al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a number of other Islamic groups officially listed by the US as terror organizations. One incredibly revealing comment made by US Senator Lindsey Graham on the Sunday talk show circuit painted an ominous picture of America’s strategy. Graham insisted that US military forces should first be used to overthrow the Assad regime, and then turn their guns on their rebel allies and destroy them as well.
In Europe, the UK and France have been the most vocal supporters of sending military aid to the Syrian rebels. Within the EU however, former eastern block countries have repeatedly stepped up and opposed any involvement by the divided European Union. With that backdrop, and with only weeks or months remaining before the Syrian uprising is crushed, both the United States and Russia are speeding military forces to the Middle East in preparation for a possible war.
Russia commits two fleets, one on the way
Only days after Russia confirmed it would continue selling one of the world’s most modern missile defense systems to Syria, it made two separate announcements that caught the world by surprise. First was the announcement that Russian submarines would again start patrolling the Mediterranean Sea just off Syria’s western shore after a 20-year hiatus. The second was Russia’s confirmation that it had ordered its Far East fleet to sail halfway across the globe to join other Russian warships already gathering in the Mediterranean.
‘To deploy large warships thousands of miles away from East Asia to the Middle East demonstrates President Vladimir Putin’s resolve to resume Russia’s military and strategic glory of the past by challenging the collective military power of the West,’ wrote The World Tribune. The account also reveals another interesting detail – Russia dispatched the fleet back on March 19, perhaps anticipating an escalation in the Syrian civil war.
At the same time, Russian officials announced that they would resume global patrols by their nuclear missile submarines. With the collapse of the former Soviet Union, one of the items sacrificed was an international navy. But over the coming years, Russia will again be patrolling the world’s waters with its modern fleet of nuclear submarines, each carrying 16 long-range nuclear ICBM’s. And while it’s unclear if subs will be deployed to the Mediterranean any time soon, the timing of the announcement was meant to send a sign to their former Cold War adversaries in the US and Europe.
US deploys troops to Syrian border
A report by PressTV cites Israeli intelligence officials confirming that a medium-sized force of US Marines has already arrived in Jordan and is being positioned near the Syrian border. The account says, ‘1,000 US troops from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Force arrived at the southern Jordanian port of Aqaba on Tuesday and made their way to the north of the country under heavy Jordanian military escort.’
In addition to putting boots on the ground for the first time in the Syrian civil war, the US has also confirmed its approval to deploy Patriot Missile batteries and F-16 fighters to Jordan. The report indicates that US forces are only operating secret camps used to train rebel fighters and not entering Syria itself. But US leaders like Sen. John McCain, who just returned from a trip to the Syrian war zone, have strongly lobbied President Obama for some time to send US forces into the fight on the side of the rebels.
If the Obama administration decides to enter US forces into the Syrian civil war, the time must be now. Syrian government troops took the strategic town of Qusayr last week after only three weeks of fierce fighting. With the US-backed rebels on the run, the Russian-backed Syrian army and its Hezbollah allies look to continue rolling up one rebel position after another. That is, unless the UK, the US and France get their way and NATO forces are quickly sent in to save the Syrian revolution. And if that’s going to happen, it’s going to have to happen now. What Russia, China and Iran might do in response is anyone’s guess.
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