Thursday, October 11, 2012

Turkey Forces Down Syrian Airliner; Confiscates Missile Parts

The NYT has an interesting article. As usual, they bury the lede. Halfway into the article, the main point of the problem emerges:
The Turkish chief of staff, Gen. Necdet Ozel, who visited parts of the border area on Wednesday, was quoted by Turkish news media as saying that military responses to Syrian shelling would be “even stronger” if the shelling persisted. The rising tensions between Turkey and Syria are seen as especially troublesome because Turkey is a member of NATO, which considers an attack on one member an attack on all, and this implicitly raises the possibility that NATO will be drawn into a volatile Middle East conflict. On Tuesday, the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, emphasized that NATO had “all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary.” The fighting in Syria has touched all other neighbors of the country as well, with fighting reported recently in villages near a border crossing to Lebanon in the west, while in the east, Syrian authorities have lost control of some crossing points on the border with Iraq. Tens of thousands of Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon and Jordan, straining resources in those countries. Last month several mortar shells fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights near Israel’s northern border. Skirmishes have been reported between Syrian troops and Jordanians guarding their northern border, and Jordan is worried that the porous frontier could become a conduit for Islamic militants joining the anti-Assad struggle. At the same time, Mr. Assad’s government appears to have hardened its position over the already remote possibility of a truce with the rebels. On Wednesday the government rejected a proposal made a day earlier by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, that Mr. Assad take the first step by declaring an immediate unilateral cease-fire, to be followed by a matching step from his armed opponents. Jihad Makdissi, a spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Ministry, said in response that the insurgents must stop shooting first. In a statement reported by the official Syrian Arab News Agency, Mr. Makdissi said his government had told Mr. Ban he should send emissaries to the countries arming the insurgents, and urge them “to use their influence to stop the violence from the other side, then informing the Syrian side of the results.”
Looks like Assad is playing Texas Hold'Em with house money from the Soviet, er.., Russian regime of ex-KGB Stalin wannabe Putin. UPDATE Oops, looks like 17 Siloviki agents of Vlad the Empoisoner were on board and the Czarevitch is p.o.-d....

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