Cheat Sheet: Syria crisis: Where key countries stand (BBC)

The US and its allies are said to be considering military action against sites in Syria. But what do countries in the region and beyond think about any possible action?

A boy shouts slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in Syria in Yemen

The possibility of Western strikes on Syria has divided opinion in the region

The US and its allies are said to be considering military action against sites in Syria. But what do countries in the region and beyond think about any possible action?

Turkey

The Turkish government has been one of the most strident critics of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since early on in the uprising. On Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper that the country was ready to join an international coalition for action against Syria even in the absence of agreement at the UN Security Council.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf

The monarchies of the Gulf are said to have been key in funding and supplying the rebel forces fighting against forces loyal to President Assad. Saudi Arabia has been a rival of the Syrian government for years and has been particularly active in pushing for action against Mr Assad, with former Saudi ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultan reportedly trying in recent weeks to garner international support for further support for the rebels.

Israel

Despite initially avoiding becoming involved in the conflict, Israel has carried outthree strikes on targets in Syria this year, reportedly to prevent weapons shipments reaching the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Shelling and gunfire from Syria has also hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, drawing return Israeli fire.

In recent days, Israeli officials have condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces and hinted at support for military action. “Our finger must always be on the pulse. Ours is a responsible finger and if necessary, it will also be on the trigger,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

However, Israeli officials will be aware that any Western action against Syria risks a repeat of events in the first Gulf War in 1991, when Iraq attacked Tel Aviv with Scud missiles in attempt to draw Israel into the conflict and prompt the withdrawal of Arab countries from the war. Reports say sales of gas masks in Israel have gone up in response to speculation over military action.

A burning car is seen at the entrance of a mosque which was attacked by a car bomb, in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon

Lebanon is seeing increasing violence linked to the conflict in Syria

Lebanon

The Lebanese Foreign Minister Adana Mansour told Lebanese radio on Monday that he did not support the idea of strikes on Syria, saying: “I don’t think this action would serve peace, stability and security in the region.”

Two bomb attacks which killed almost 60 people in Lebanon this month were linked to tensions over the Syrian conflict. The Lebanese Shia militant movement Hezbollah has openly taken part in combat in Syria on the side of the government, and there have been reports of some in the Sunni community fighting on the side of the rebels. In addition, the country is already playing host to the largest number of Syrian refugees of any country.

Iran

Iran has been Syria’s main backer in the region since well before the current conflict and has been highly critical of any prospect of intervention.

On Tuesday, Iran warned a top UN official visiting Tehran of “serious consequences” of any military action.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi also repeated claims that it was in fact rebels who used chemical weapons, AFP reports.

US

Following a cautious reaction to the initial reports of a chemical weapons attack, American rhetoric has hardened in recent days. Secretary of State John Kerry said the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government was “undeniable” and a “moral obscenity”.

Washington has recently bolstered its naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, prompting speculation that preparation for an attack is underway. Analysts believe the most likely US action would be sea-launched cruise missiles targeting Syrian military installations.

 boy, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, is treated at a hospital in the Duma

US President Barack Obama had previously said the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line”

UK

The UK is drawing up contingency plans for military action, Prime Minster David Cameron’s office has said. Any action would be “proportionate”, lawful and follow agreement with international allies, a spokesman for Mr Cameron said.

On Monday Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC that diplomatic pressure on Syria had failed and that the UK, “the United States, [and] many other countries including France, are clear that we can’t allow the idea in the 21st Century that chemical weapons can be used with impunity”.

France

The day after the reports of the attack near Damascus, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called for “a reaction of force” if the use of chemical weapons was proven. He has also suggested that the UN Security Council could be bypassed “in certain circumstances”.

France has been amongst the most hawkish Western countries with regard to Syria, being the first Western power to recognise the main opposition coalition as the Syrian people’s legitimate representative. In May France, along with the UK, successfully lobbied for the EU’s arms embargo to be lifted so as to allow further supplies to the rebels.

Russia

Russia is one of Mr Assad’s most important international backers and has stressed the need for a political solution to be found to the crisis.

It has sharply criticised any possibility of Western strikes on Syria, saying action taken outside the security council threatened “catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa”.

China

China has joined Russia in blocking resolutions critical of Syria at the UN Security Council. It has also criticised the prospect of strikes against Syria.

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said Western powers were rushing to conclusions about who might have used chemical weapons in Syria before UN inspectors had completed their investigation.

Drones through the years | CtPost.com

  • Opponents of the U.S. program to target suspected Islamic militants with unmanned drones have announced a month-long series of protests planned for April.Meanwhile, a new National Center for Policy Analysis study calls for exploring the civilian, commercial and scientific applications of drones, while taking into account privacy concerns.These two stories illustrate how big a deal drones have become over the past decade or so. But unmanned aerial vehicles have been around a lot longer than that. Click on for a look at drones going back to World War II. Photo: Getty Images / Getty Images
    Opponents of the U.S. program to target suspected Islamic militants with unmanned drones have announced a month-long series of protests planned for April.Meanwhile, a new National Center for Policy Analysis study calls for exploring the civilian, commercial and scientific applications of drones, while taking into account privacy concerns.

    These two stories illustrate how big a deal drones have become over the past decade or so. But unmanned aerial vehicles have been around a lot longer than that. Click on for a look at drones going back to World War II.
    Photo: Getty Images

    Opponents of the U.S. program to target suspected Islamic militants…

  • View of an experimental, radar pilotless aircraft, or drone, nestled under the wing of a PN4Y2 naval aircraft in 1945. Photo: PhotoQuest, Getty Images / Archive Photos View of an experimental, radar pilotless aircraft, or drone, nestled under the wing of a PN4Y2 naval aircraft in 1945. Photo: PhotoQuest, Getty Images

    View of an experimental, radar pilotless aircraft, or drone,…

  • While today's drones launch missiles at suspected militants, early versions were more often targets in missile tests. Here, a redeye missile closes in on a radio-controlled drone in 1966. Photo: US Navy, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image / Time & Life Pictures While today’s drones launch missiles at suspected militants, early versions were more often targets in missile tests. Here, a redeye missile closes in on a radio-controlled drone in 1966.
    Photo: US Navy, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

    While today’s drones launch missiles at suspected militants, early…

  • Israel Aircraft Industries workers assemble a drone in 1989. Photo: David Rubinger, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image / David Rubinger Israel Aircraft Industries workers assemble a drone in 1989.
    Photo: David Rubinger, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

    Israel Aircraft Industries workers assemble a drone in 1989.

  • Lockheed Martin built the DarkStar High Altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to provide battlefield commanders and intelligence agencies with reconnaissance data. Photo: Carla Thomas, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image / Time Life Pictures Lockheed Martin built the DarkStar High Altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to provide battlefield commanders and intelligence agencies with reconnaissance data.
    Photo: Carla Thomas, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

    Lockheed Martin built the DarkStar High Altitude Unmanned Aerial…

  • Russian army soldiers prepare a pilotless drone aircraft at a secret base near the Chechen capital Grozny in 1999. The Russians used drones to search for Chechen rebel positions. Photo: Mark H. Milstein, Getty Images / Getty Images North America Russian army soldiers prepare a pilotless drone aircraft at a secret base near the Chechen capital Grozny in 1999. The Russians used drones to search for Chechen rebel positions.
    Photo: Mark H. Milstein, Getty Images

    Russian army soldiers prepare a pilotless drone aircraft at a…

  • Northrop Gumman's 44-foot-long Global Hawk first flew in 1998. In 2008, Global Hawk set the endurance record for a full-scale, operational unmanned aircraft, flying for 33.1 hours at altitudes up to 60,000 feet over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Photo: Mai, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image / /Mai Northrop Gumman’s 44-foot-long Global Hawk first flew in 1998. In 2008, Global Hawk set the endurance record for a full-scale, operational unmanned aircraft, flying for 33.1 hours at altitudes up to 60,000 feet over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
    Photo: Mai, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

    Northrop Gumman’s 44-foot-long Global Hawk first flew in 1998. In…

  • Onlookers move in for a closer look at Boeing's new Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle on September 27, 2000 during an unveiling ceremony at the Boeing Company plant in St. Louis, Mo. Photo: Bill Greenblatt, Getty Images / Getty Images North America Onlookers move in for a closer look at Boeing’s new Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle on September 27, 2000 during an unveiling ceremony at the Boeing Company plant in St. Louis, Mo. Photo: Bill Greenblatt, Getty Images

    Onlookers move in for a closer look at Boeing’s new Unmanned Combat…

  • An Israeli flag flutters next to an Harpy IAI-MBT Attack Drone as part of the Israeli display during the 44th Paris Air Show on June 21, 2001. Photo: FRANCOIS MORI, AFP/Getty Images / 2001 Getty Images An Israeli flag flutters next to an Harpy IAI-MBT Attack Drone as part of the Israeli display during the 44th Paris Air Show on June 21, 2001. Photo: FRANCOIS MORI, AFP/Getty Images

    An Israeli flag flutters next to an Harpy IAI-MBT Attack Drone as…

  • U.S. Marines watch a demonstration of the Dragon Eye drone on February 16, 2003, in Kuwait. The drone can fly over enemy lines for one hour, sending back infrared real time images. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg, Getty Images / Robert Nickelsberg U.S. Marines watch a demonstration of the Dragon Eye drone on February 16, 2003, in Kuwait. The drone can fly over enemy lines for one hour, sending back infrared real time images. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg, Getty Images

    U.S. Marines watch a demonstration of the Dragon Eye drone on…

  • Iraqi officials show off their 7.45-meter-wingspan Remotely Piloted Vehicle 30A, or the "Jerusalem 10," to members of the news media on March 12, 2003 in Baghdad. Iraq declared the drone in a January 15, 2003 report, but with a 4.4-meter wingspan, an error that Iraqis say was a "typing mistake." Though the drone looked like a science project, with tin foil and duct tape holding it together, U.S. officials building a case for war called it a "smoking gun." Photo: Scott Peterson, Getty Images / Scott Peterson Iraqi officials show off their 7.45-meter-wingspan Remotely Piloted Vehicle 30A, or the “Jerusalem 10,” to members of the news media on March 12, 2003 in Baghdad. Iraq declared the drone in a January 15, 2003 report, but with a 4.4-meter wingspan, an error that Iraqis say was a “typing mistake.” Though the drone looked like a science project, with tin foil and duct tape holding it together, U.S. officials building a case for war called it a “smoking gun.” Photo: Scott Peterson, Getty Images

    Iraqi officials show off their 7.45-meter-wingspan Remotely Piloted…

  • In September 2003, a U.S. Army Hunter drone killed two suspected roadside bombers in northern Iraq by dropping a bomb on them, "a first in army aviation history," according to the Army. Photo: ROMEO GACAD, AFP/Getty Images / 2007 AFP In September 2003, a U.S. Army Hunter drone killed two suspected roadside bombers in northern Iraq by dropping a bomb on them, “a first in army aviation history,” according to the Army.
    Photo: ROMEO GACAD, AFP/Getty Images

    In September 2003, a U.S. Army Hunter drone killed two suspected…

  • The Eagle, a drone made by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) is shown at the Paris Air Show on June 17. 2003. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN, AFP/Getty Images / 2003 AFP The Eagle, a drone made by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) is shown at the Paris Air Show on June 17. 2003. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN, AFP/Getty Images

    The Eagle, a drone made by European Aeronautic Defense and Space…

  • In this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, airmen with the 64th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron move an RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at Tallil Air Base in Iraq. Photo: U.S. Air Force, Getty Images / 2003 Getty Images In this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, airmen with the 64th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron move an RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at Tallil Air Base in Iraq. Photo: U.S. Air Force, Getty Images

    In this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Air Force,…

  • German soldiers stand next to a drone prior to its launch north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Oct. 14, 2003. Photo: AFP, AFP/Getty Images / 2003 AFP German soldiers stand next to a drone prior to its launch north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Oct. 14, 2003.
    Photo: AFP, AFP/Getty Images

    German soldiers stand next to a drone prior to its launch north of…

  • This prototype remote control helicopter being developed for use by the Israeli military was stolen on November 9, 2003, an act described as "industrial espionage." Photo: Getty Images / 2003 Getty Images This prototype remote control helicopter being developed for use by the Israeli military was stolen on November 9, 2003, an act described as “industrial espionage.” Photo: Getty Images

    This prototype remote control helicopter being developed for use by…

  • This undated handout from Elbit Systems Ltd. shows a Hermes 450 unmanned airborn vehicle in flight. Photo: Getty Images / 2004 Getty Images This undated handout from Elbit Systems Ltd. shows a Hermes 450 unmanned airborn vehicle in flight.
    Photo: Getty Images

    This undated handout from Elbit Systems Ltd. shows a Hermes 450…

  • French soldiers set up a drone on a vehicle on July 14, 2004, prior the Bastille Day parade down the Champs Elysees in Paris. Photo: MEHDI FEDOUACH, AFP/Getty Images / 2004 AFP French soldiers set up a drone on a vehicle on July 14, 2004, prior the Bastille Day parade down the Champs Elysees in Paris. Photo: MEHDI FEDOUACH, AFP/Getty Images

    French soldiers set up a drone on a vehicle on July 14, 2004, prior…

  • A militiaman loyal to Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr displays a U.S. military drone on Aug. 22, 2004. The militia claimed to have shot down the drone the previous day. The Arabic writing on the wing of the drone reads: "Equipment of the American army." Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE, AFP/Getty Images / 2004 AFP A militiaman loyal to Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr displays a U.S. military drone on Aug. 22, 2004. The militia claimed to have shot down the drone the previous day. The Arabic writing on the wing of the drone reads: “Equipment of the American army.” Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE, AFP/Getty Images

    A militiaman loyal to Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr displays a…

  • Northrup Grumman's mock-up of the company's X-47B drone is shown with its bomb doors open and aircraft carrier tailhook deployed. Photo: John B. Carnett, Popular Science Via Getty Images / Bonnier Corporation Northrup Grumman’s mock-up of the company’s X-47B drone is shown with its bomb doors open and aircraft carrier tailhook deployed.
    Photo: John B. Carnett, Popular Science Via Getty Images

    Northrup Grumman’s mock-up of the company’s X-47B drone is shown…

  • Pilots control U.S. Predator drones flying over Afghanistan from a base in Las Vegas on May 2, 2006. Photo: Veronique De Viguerie, Getty Images / 2006 Veronique de Viguerie Pilots control U.S. Predator drones flying over Afghanistan from a base in Las Vegas on May 2, 2006. Photo: Veronique De Viguerie, Getty Images

    Pilots control U.S. Predator drones flying over Afghanistan from a…

  • In 2006, U.S. Customs and Border Protection deployed new MQ-9 Predator B drones to patrol the southern border of the United Sates. Photo: Gary Williams, Getty Images / 2006 Getty Images In 2006, U.S. Customs and Border Protection deployed new MQ-9 Predator B drones to patrol the southern border of the United Sates. Photo: Gary Williams, Getty Images

    In 2006, U.S. Customs and Border Protection deployed new MQ-9…

  • A model of a drone fighter plane is displayed at the 6th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition on October 31, 2006, in Zhuhai, China. Photo: ChinaFotoPress, Getty Images / 2006 ChinaFotoPress A model of a drone fighter plane is displayed at the 6th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition on October 31, 2006, in Zhuhai, China. Photo: ChinaFotoPress, Getty Images

    A model of a drone fighter plane is displayed at the 6th China…

  • In this handout photo released by the Hamas media office January 11, 2007, a member of the Al-Qassam brigade, the military wing of Hamas Movement, poses with an Israeli spy drone which Hamas says was captured in the Gaza strip. Photo: Handout, Getty Images / 2007 Getty Images In this handout photo released by the Hamas media office January 11, 2007, a member of the Al-Qassam brigade, the military wing of Hamas Movement, poses with an Israeli spy drone which Hamas says was captured in the Gaza strip. Photo: Handout, Getty Images

    In this handout photo released by the Hamas media office January…

  • In this photo provided by the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF's first long-range drone, named the Heron, comes in for landing March 7, 2007 at Palmachim air base in central Israel. Photo: Getty Images / 2007 IDF In this photo provided by the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF’s first long-range drone, named the Heron, comes in for landing March 7, 2007 at Palmachim air base in central Israel.
    Photo: Getty Images

    In this photo provided by the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF’s…

  • A U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone takes off August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev. The Reaper was the Air Force's first "hunter-killer" unmanned aerial vehicle, designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly up to 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can fly twice as fast and high as the smaller MQ-1 Predators, reaching speeds of 300 mph at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet. Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images / 2007 Getty Images A U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone takes off August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev. The Reaper was the Air Force’s first “hunter-killer” unmanned aerial vehicle, designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly up to 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can fly twice as fast and high as the smaller MQ-1 Predators, reaching speeds of 300 mph at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet.
    Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images

    A U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone takes off August 8, 2007 at Creech Air…

  • Michael Martinez, airframe and power plant mechanic with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., inspects an MQ-9 Reaper next to the aircraft's targeting pod during a pre-flight check August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev. Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images / 2007 Getty Images Michael Martinez, airframe and power plant mechanic with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., inspects an MQ-9 Reaper next to the aircraft’s targeting pod during a pre-flight check August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev. Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images

    Michael Martinez, airframe and power plant mechanic with General…

  • Photo taken on October 15, 2008 shows Elsa, the French National Police drone, during its presentation to European counterparts at a conference in Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d'Or. Photo: FRED DUFOUR, AFP/Getty Images / 2008 AFP Photo taken on October 15, 2008 shows Elsa, the French National Police drone, during its presentation to European counterparts at a conference in Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d’Or.
    Photo: FRED DUFOUR, AFP/Getty Images

    Photo taken on October 15, 2008 shows Elsa, the French National…

  • A French Sperwer SDTI drone lands after an observation mission on December 2008 in a French forward military base in the East of Afghanistan. Photo: JOEL SAGET, AFP/Getty Images / 2008 AFP A French Sperwer SDTI drone lands after an observation mission on December 2008 in a French forward military base in the East of Afghanistan. Photo: JOEL SAGET, AFP/Getty Images

    A French Sperwer SDTI drone lands after an observation mission on…

  • An attendee photographs an A.R. Drone helicopter by Parrot as it flies overhead during a press event for the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show January 6, 2010 in Las Vegas. The device is controlled wirelessly from an iPhone. Photo: ROBYN BECK, AFP/Getty Images / 2010 AFP An attendee photographs an A.R. Drone helicopter by Parrot as it flies overhead during a press event for the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show January 6, 2010 in Las Vegas. The device is controlled wirelessly from an iPhone. Photo: ROBYN BECK, AFP/Getty Images

    An attendee photographs an A.R. Drone helicopter by Parrot as it…

  • Chinese police unveiled its "first unmanned opium reconnaissance plane" in Beijing on June 4, 2010. Photo: STR, AFP/Getty Images / 2010 AFP Chinese police unveiled its “first unmanned opium reconnaissance plane” in Beijing on June 4, 2010. Photo: STR, AFP/Getty Images

    Chinese police unveiled its “first unmanned opium reconnaissance…

  • A man demonstrates an IT 180 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with vertical take off and landing capability on June 13, 2010 in Paris. Photo: ALEXANDER KLEIN, AFP/Getty Images / 2010 AFP A man demonstrates an IT 180 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with vertical take off and landing capability on June 13, 2010 in Paris. Photo: ALEXANDER KLEIN, AFP/Getty Images

    A man demonstrates an IT 180 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with vertical…

  • A U.S. Army soldier tries to launch a drone on September 4, 2010 in Afghanistan. Photo: PATRICK BAZ, AFP/Getty Images / 2010 AFP A U.S. Army soldier tries to launch a drone on September 4, 2010 in Afghanistan.
    Photo: PATRICK BAZ, AFP/Getty Images

    A U.S. Army soldier tries to launch a drone on September 4, 2010 in…

  • Japan Advanced Defense Technology Centre Engineer Fumiyuki Sato displays his spherical observation drone in Tokyo on July 22, 2011. The drone can fly down narrow alleys, hover on the spot, take off vertically and bounce along the ground. Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA, AFP/Getty Images / 2011 AFP Japan Advanced Defense Technology Centre Engineer Fumiyuki Sato displays his spherical observation drone in Tokyo on July 22, 2011. The drone can fly down narrow alleys, hover on the spot, take off vertically and bounce along the ground. Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA, AFP/Getty Images

    Japan Advanced Defense Technology Centre Engineer Fumiyuki Sato…

  • Pakistani security personnel examine a crashed American surveillance drone in Chaman, Pakistan on August 25, 2011. The American surveillance drone crashed near a paramilitary base close to the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said. Photo: ASGHAR ACHAKZAI, AFP/Getty Images / 2011 AFP Pakistani security personnel examine a crashed American surveillance drone in Chaman, Pakistan on August 25, 2011. The American surveillance drone crashed near a paramilitary base close to the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said. Photo: ASGHAR ACHAKZAI, AFP/Getty Images

    Pakistani security personnel examine a crashed American…

  • Supporters of the Pakistani politician Imran Khan and chief of Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, burn a replica drone as they shout slogans during protest rally in Islamabad on October 28, 2011 against the U.S. drone attacks in Pakistani tribal regions. Photo: AAMIR QURESHI, AFP/Getty Images / 2011 AFP Supporters of the Pakistani politician Imran Khan and chief of Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, burn a replica drone as they shout slogans during protest rally in Islamabad on October 28, 2011 against the U.S. drone attacks in Pakistani tribal regions.
    Photo: AAMIR QURESHI, AFP/Getty Images

    Supporters of the Pakistani politician Imran Khan and chief of…

  • An Iranian boy holds a portrait of supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali khamenei as he walks past a replica of the captured U.S. RQ-170 drone on display next to the Azadi (Freedom) tower during the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Tehran on February 11, 2012. Photo: ATTA KENARE, AFP/Getty Images / 2012 AFP An Iranian boy holds a portrait of supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali khamenei as he walks past a replica of the captured U.S. RQ-170 drone on display next to the Azadi (Freedom) tower during the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Tehran on February 11, 2012.
    Photo: ATTA KENARE, AFP/Getty Images

    An Iranian boy holds a portrait of supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali…

  • An Iranian couple hold a model of the captured US RQ-170 drone during the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran on February 11, 2012. Photo: ATTA KENARE, AFP/Getty Images / 2012 AFP An Iranian couple hold a model of the captured US RQ-170 drone during the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran on February 11, 2012.
    Photo: ATTA KENARE, AFP/Getty Images

    An Iranian couple hold a model of the captured US RQ-170 drone…

  • A French firefighter holds a French Fly-n-Sense drone before its take off on July 12, 2012 on a test flight. The drone is designed to enable a real-time monitoring of forest fires. Photo: PIERRE ANDRIEU, AFP/Getty Images / 2012 AFP A French firefighter holds a French Fly-n-Sense drone before its take off on July 12, 2012 on a test flight. The drone is designed to enable a real-time monitoring of forest fires.
    Photo: PIERRE ANDRIEU, AFP/Getty Images

    A French firefighter holds a French Fly-n-Sense drone before its…

  • Two engineers of the Aircraft Repair Plant assemble a "Filin" (Eagle-owl) drone on August 9, 2012 in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: ALEXEY GROMOV, AFP/Getty Images / 2012 AFP Two engineers of the Aircraft Repair Plant assemble a “Filin” (Eagle-owl) drone on August 9, 2012 in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: ALEXEY GROMOV, AFP/Getty Images

    Two engineers of the Aircraft Repair Plant assemble a “Filin”…

  • Germany's Rheinmetall displays a Tactical Reconnaissance drone at the ILA Berlin Air Show on September 11, 2012 in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany. Photo: Ulrich Baumgarten, U. Baumgarten Via Getty Images / 2012 Ulrich Baumgarten Germany’s Rheinmetall displays a Tactical Reconnaissance drone at the ILA Berlin Air Show on September 11, 2012 in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany. Photo: Ulrich Baumgarten, U. Baumgarten Via Getty Images

    Germany’s Rheinmetall displays a Tactical Reconnaissance drone at…

  • An employee of ENAC company handles Blender drones on September 26, 2012 in Merignac near Bordeaux, France, during the "UAV Show Europe." Photo: PIERRE ANDRIEU, AFP/Getty Images / 2012 AFP An employee of ENAC company handles Blender drones on September 26, 2012 in Merignac near Bordeaux, France, during the “UAV Show Europe.” Photo: PIERRE ANDRIEU, AFP/Getty Images

    An employee of ENAC company handles Blender drones on September 26,…

  • The nEUROn, an experimental Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle developed under a European consortium led by French defence group Dassault is put on show at the Dassault factory in Istres on December 19, 2012. The drone is expected to remain in testing for several years before a combat version is released sometime in 2015. Photo: BORIS HORVAT, AFP/Getty Images / 2013 AFP The nEUROn, an experimental Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle developed under a European consortium led by French defence group Dassault is put on show at the Dassault factory in Istres on December 19, 2012. The drone is expected to remain in testing for several years before a combat version is released sometime in 2015.
    Photo: BORIS HORVAT, AFP/Getty Images

    The nEUROn, an experimental Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle developed…

The Clinton Doctrine of American Foreign Policy

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mrs. Clinton has been a very good but very cautious secretary of state, many analysts say — one who, for the most part, kept her distance from Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine and other seemingly intractable conflicts.

One State Department official, while praising Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, nonetheless looked forward to the arrival of Sen. John Kerry, her designated successor: “I came to admire Clinton as secretary of state, her focus on women and innovation in particular,” the official told me. “But am really happy to have someone in the job who does not retain political ambitions.”

http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/the-clinton-doctrine-add-links-from-original/ 

Changing landscape: Jihad in Mali

Flag of Mali

Flag of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Katherine Zimmerman,Dominic Lisanti | Critical Threats Project

On Tuesday, two Americans were arrested on terrorism charges. An FBI affidavit accuses the pair of planning to “travel from the United States to Mauritania intending to prepare to wage violent jihad.” Mauritania, their travel destination, was not the final destination. Instead, Randy (Rasheed) Wilson and Mohammed Abdul Rahman Abukhdair planned to cross the desert into northern Mali, now largely controlled by militant Islamist groups.

Wilson and Abukhdair met online between February and November 2010. Both were already exploring opportunities to take up jihad abroad. Wilson had been the roommate of Omar Hammami, who left for Somalia in 2006 and is currently a member of al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate there. He had discussed following Hammami to Somalia with another friend, but ultimately, they never acted on it. Abukhdair moved to Cairo, Egypt in February 2007 and then to Alexandria in February 2010. Egyptian authorities arrested him in November 2010 on suspicions of being active in a terrorist group and he was deported to the U.S. in January 2011. By late October 2011, Abukhdair had moved in with Wilson’s family in Mobile, Alabama, and the two men had already begun talking about where to go fight jihad.

Read more : http://www.criticalthreats.org/west-africa/changing-landscape-jihad-mali-december-13-2012

Comentario: Jabhat al Nusra y los Combatientes Extranjeros

Syria Independence Flag

Syria Independence Flag (Photo credit: FreedomHouse2)

Los Estados Unidos han dado un paso más en la guerra civil en Siria, al colocar al grupo Jabhat al Nusra, en su lista de organizaciones terroristas (Foreign Terrorist Organization), de manera completamente expeditiva.

De esta manera se establece que mas allá de la ayuda que el grupo este prestando a la Ejercito Libre Sirio, llegado el momento tendrá la prerrogativa de capturar a quienes formen parte Jabhat al-Nusra por sus conexiones con Al Qaeda en Irak.

Entre la cantidad de grupos Jihadistas en Siria se conoce que muchos de estos grupos provienen de otras partes de mundo islámico, lo que los diarios árabes han dado a llamar a este movimiento como “Jihadistas Globales”. Observan tambien la dificultad para identificar entre quienes siguen los conceptos de la “Jihad Islámica” y los que se denominan “Salafistas Moderados”.

Jabhat al Nusra o el Frente Nusra, hizo su debut el 24 de enero de 2012, con su afán mayor de ayudar a imponer un Califato Universal bajo la ley islámica, pero mas puntualmente establecer la Sharia en Siria. Algunos de estos grupos se han formado “ad hoc”, con el motivo de organizarse de maneras mas convenientes y naturales para los que arriban de regiones iguales y como sospechan muchos, con identidades que provienen directamente de Al Qaeda Central.

En Siria ven un “escenario” mucho mas complejo políticamente pero más accesible dentro de lo militar que el que se desarrolla en Afganistán e Irak. Reportes de las Naciones Unidas reportan alrededor de 11 nacionalidades se pueden encontrar dentro de los combatientes extranjeros.

En algunos casos, grupos Jihadistas han renunciado al uso de los símbolos del Ejercito Libre Sirio, y solo utilizan los estandartes propios (Como las banderas negras de Al Qaeda) de los grupos que han llegado a territorio Sirio. Muchos de ellos directamente llegados de Irak, para combatir en el frente de Aleppo junto con otros grupos que tambien promocionan un futuro estado islámico para Siria, hecho que es bien visto por aquellos que han financiado durante estos 20 meses de conflicto tanto al Ejercito Libre Sirio, como a los grupos extranjeros. Dinero que proviene de particulares por toda la región del Golfo Pérsico, con el siempre presente miedo de parte de las potencias occidentales, que parte de este financiamiento termine en operaciones terroristas en otros lugares del mundo, donde los intereses occidentales se encuentren.

Al Nusra es un grupo completo en términos militares, con veteranos de gran experiencia en el frente, considerado uno de los “mejores y más valientes batallones” por el Coronel Rial Asaad, del Ejército libre Sirio (1) . Habiendo mostrado sus capacidades en Afganistán, Libia e Irak. (Crónicas periodísticas alegan que tanto Qatar como Arabia Saudita han filtrado combatientes por las fronteras de Turquía, Líbano y Jordania)(2) por lo que se considera que la mayoría de sus miembros son wahabí y con miembros takfiri, ya que incluye elementos radicales islámicos.

Aunque los lideres de Jabath Nusra, que provendrían de Irak (Mosul) tendrían la intención de exportar la idea de la Jihad que invoca Al Qaeda en Irak ( AQI – de la cual seria una rama) hacia las fuerzas opositoras al régimen de Assad, la pregunta es y será como actuaran luego de que termine la guerra civil y como lograran contener a dichos grupos para no caer en guerras sectarias y vengativas, especialmente de las minorías que se encuentran dentro de Siria y que son parte del gobierno, como mas de un analista señala poco puede hacer la comunidad internacional al respecto.

1. “الأسعد : “النصرة” هي الفصيل الأفضل” (al Nusra es la Mejor Faccion), 13/12/12 disponible en http://youkal.com/2012-12-02-14-05-23/24-26/1228-2012-12-13-22-07-44
2. “الإرهابيون في سورية يرتكبون جرائم بشعة” , (Terrorists in Syria commit heinous crimes), 12/12/12 disponible en http://www.abna.ir/data.asp?lang=2&Id=371638

How U.S. Can Once Again Define the Future

America’s economy must do some heavy lifting. Just as the country transitioned from war production to civilian production 60 years ago, it must now transition to sustainable production, while building a new American dream. If it can, the United States will be ideally positioned to rebuild our middle class, compete globally and pre-empt growing confrontation over resources. We must adapt and once again define the future.

http://asp.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2012/how_us_can_once_again_define_the_future_74655

Comentario: Hacia una Nueva Política Hemisférica de Defensa de los Estados Unidos

English: Map showing U.S. military interventio...

English: Map showing U.S. military interventions in Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

La nueva intención política planteada por el Secretario de Defensa de los Estados Unidos, León Panetta, en la décima conferencia de Ministros de Defensa de las Américas, pareciera mostrar el interés por compartir y aumentar así la defensa colectiva hemisferica, queriendo dejar atrás las políticas de defensa de la Guerra Fría, que han incidido ciertamente en la baja popularidad y en algunos casos de abierta hostilidad política hacia los Estados Unidos.

Esta nueva política nos lleva a preguntarnos ¿Se debe esta iniciativa a una necesidad de distribución del esfuerzo de defensa debido que es necesario que el esfuerzo y energías sean empleados en otras partes del mundo como Afganistán,  medio oriente y a nivel global en la lucha contra el terrorismo?

 

 

El mismo Secretario de Defensa, reconoció que “No podemos tratar con estas amenazas solos” refiriéndose a la no solo a los temas de defensa regional, sino ya también a la antiguamente denominada Guerra contra el Terrorismo.

El mismo termino,“Guerra contra el Terrorismo”, hace un tiempo ha sido renombrado como

Overseas Contingency Operation”, lo que no solo significa que se intenta dejar atrás las acciones en épocas de la presidencia de G.W Bush, sino que también se le intenta dar un baño de relaciones publicas a una situación que necesita del apoyo hemisferico.

De esta manera los 11 años que lleva hasta ahora la “operación de contingencia” no ha aportado a la maltrecha economía norteamericana.  Y es por esto también que conociendo que la situación que se vive en Latinoamérica es completamente diferente a la que se vive en el resto del mundo en términos de seguridad para los Estados Unidos, es mucho mas conveniente y seguro dejar en manos de los Latinoamericanos la seguridad hemisferica.

Una de las ideas para que la defensa tenga mayor claridad y legitimidad, es un nuevo rol para Brasil. Siendo la potencia regional, le daría a Brasil mayor énfasis en su búsqueda por una banca en el Consejo de Seguridad de la Naciones Unidas, banca que también se encuentra en el interés de Argentina.

Existe también, la idea que la seguridad hemisferica, de la manera en que la ve los Estados Unidos ya no es un problema para los países de la región. Especialmente porque no se ve con buenos ojos algún tipo de “protección” o ayuda.  La idea de mutua confianza es muy difícil de vender (por no decir imposible) a la opinión pública de América Latina, que recuerda claramente cada acción y cada base norteamericana en la región. Y aunque Panetta ha declarado que no buscan instalar nuevas bases militares o asumir un papel dominante en la región,  se ha comentado mucho sobre las verdaderas necesidades de las nuevas instalaciones militares, en Chile y Colombia.

Esta idea también es reconocida por los Estados Unidos y mas allá de la buena voluntad que pueda presentar la administración Obama,  Entiende desde hace un tiempo que debe dejar solo una “pequeña huella” al momento de exponer y poner en práctica sus intereses en una región predeterminada.