Thursday, April 18, 2013

Syria Pres. Assad enraged that Obama is increasing aid to Assad opponents, says US will pay heavy price in terror

4/18/13, "Assad Warns West About Terror Blowback As U.S. Sends More Troops to Jordan," CNS News, Patrick Goodenough

"On Capitol Hill Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the Senate Armed Services Committee that about 200 U.S. soldiers were going to Jordan to bolster efforts by a small group already there to contain a spillover of violence from Syria.

And on the other side of the world, Syrian President Bashar Assad warned that the West will pay “a heavy price” in the future for supporting the opposition trying to topple his regime. Assad drew a parallel with U.S. support for the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan that later birthed al-Qaeda.

“The West has paid heavily for funding al-Qaeda in its early stages,” Assad told the Syrian television network Al-Ikhbariya in a rare media appearance. “Today it is doing the same in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price in the heart of Europe and the United States,” he said.

Assad charged that those fighting against his regime are mostly “extremist forces.”

The Obama administration has acknowledged concerns about the growing influence of radical groups among the anti-Assad forces and says its policy it to strengthen those elements in the opposition that are “looking for a democratic, inclusive, and moderate Syria.”...

Assad presented a defiant face in the interview, declaring “no to surrender, no to submission.” “There is no option but victory, otherwise it will be the end of Syria and I don’t think that the Syrian people will accept such an option,” he said.

Assad also criticized Jordan in particular, suggesting the southern neighbor was turning a blind eye to armed rebels entering Syria.

“The fire will not stop at our border and everybody knows that Jordan is exposed as Syria is,” he said, likely alluding to the challenge Jordan’s ruling monarchy itself faces from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists....

[Hagel] “Last week I ordered the deployment of a U.S. Army headquarters element to enhance this effort in Amman,” he told the panel. “These personnel will continue to work alongside the Jordanian armed forces to improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios.”

The State Department has declined to comment on recent reports that the U.S. is training non-jihadist Syrian rebels in Jordan in a bid to counteract the influence of radical elements.

Hagel in his testimony did confirm that the State Department was “providing technical assistance to the opposition which includes training for over 1,500 Syrian leaders and activists from over 100 local councils.”

“The goal is to strengthen these opposition groups that share the international community's vision for Syria's future and minimize the influence of extremists,” he said....

[Hagel] “The use of force, especially in circumstances where ethnic and religious factors dominate, is unlikely to produce predictable outcomes. Now to be clear, this is not a reason to avoid intervention in conflict, rather to emphasize that unintended consequences are the rule with military interventions of this sort.”

The Afghanistan example cited by Assad also came up at the hearing, with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) noting, “in Afghanistan we armed the insurgents against a government that wasn’t in our interests and they ended up using the arms against us, 10 or 15 years later. You can’t tell where those arms are going to end up, isn’t that correct?”

“It is sir,” replied Dempsey, “and that’s why this issue of arming which on the surface of it seems to be pretty clean, is anything but.”"


Assad regime uses nail bombs:

2/30/11, "Syrian security forces resort to nail bombs," UK Telegraph, Bloomfield, Marlow
"Deprived of its weapon of choice, the regime was instead forced to resort to cruder methods. The security forces fired automatic rifles at protesters in the cities of Hama and Deraa and, according to opposition groups, used nail bombs to disperse demonstrators in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus....

"Half way there, the security forces attacked, firing tear gas and nail bombs," said one protester, who identified himself only as Ahmed. "The crowds dispersed, everyone was trying to hide. More than 100 were injured. Nails riddled the lower part of one man's body. It seemed he no longer had legs."...

The regime has been accused of using nail bombs since August, resulting in a large number of amputations that have often been conducted in makeshift field clinics because protesters taken to hospitals have frequently disappeared."... 


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