Jordan Reluctant To Host Expanded Proxy War Against Syria
15 July, 2014
A report by The Scotsman  said:
Jordan, where the Central Intelligence Agency has been covertly training Syrian rebels for more than a year, is reluctant to host an expanded program in what is likely to be a significant step back for Barack Obama.
“In June, the US president proposed a $500 million (£300m) initiative to train and arm moderate rebels fighting the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and al-Qaeda-linked groups. It could signal a larger challenge in finding suitable nations willing to host the training at a time of heightened tensions across much of the Middle East.
“While US intelligence has not made a formal request to the Jordanian government, the country was widely considered a leading choice to host the training due to its close security relationship with Washington, proximity to Syria and pool of more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.”
The “Jordan fears Syrian backlash over CIA plan” headlined report said:
“US analysts believe that Jordan, led by Abdullah II, who was raised in the UK, educated at Oxford and served in the British Army, fears retaliation from Syria if its territory is used for CIA training.
“‘Jordan told the US, “no boots on the ground”,’ said one intelligence figure, though it is thought America will try to convince Jordan to participate in the program.
“While there are other potential sites where the training could take place, including Turkey and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, no agreements have been struck, US officials said. Turkey and the Saudis also have sensitivities about the presence of large numbers of US troops.
‘There’s been no decision on location, at all. Or even ...what the character of the program itself would look like, if we get the money’ from Congress, said another US official.”
As a background, the report added:
“Jordan already hosts a small and ostensibly covert effort by the CIA to equip and train small groups of Assad’s opponents. But it faces increasing threats to its stability from the Syrian civil war and rise of extremist groups such as the Islamic State (Isis). The US has already increased its military presence in Jordan to around 1,300 soldiers. It has also stationed Patriot surface-to-air missiles there.
“Abdullah met with US vice-president Joe Biden in Washington on Thursday for talks that included Syria. If approved by Congress, the $500m fund to arm and train rebels will not be available until 1 October at the earliest, or possibly months later depending on potential delays in the US Senate and House of Representatives. This would give the CIA time to persuade Jordan to accept.
“Other important details including how ‘moderate’ rebels would be vetted to weed out those with records of human rights abuses or ties to extremist groups have yet to be finalized. US law requires the State Department to screen foreign military members and units being trained with American funds.
“Unlike states to the east and west, Jordan has no oil and few natural resources, and although the economy has grown, it is heavily dependent on aid from countries including the US. Its reputation as one of the region’s safest countries was dealt a blow in 2005 when at least 60 were killed in suicide bomb attacks on hotels in Amman.”
An Amman, July 13, 2014 datelined Reuters report provides another development regarding Syria. The report said:
Maher Rahal, a Syrian rebel commander has been shot dead in Amman, the Jordanian capital, in the first such incident on the kingdom’s territory since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, a police source said on July 12, 2014.
Maher, 27, who headed the Liwa Al-Mujahideen Brigade, one of dozens of rebel formations battling Syrian forces in southern Syria, was shot five times in a residential area on Friday.
The “Syrian rebel commander assassinated in Jordan” headlined report said:
Maher had entered Jordan only last week on a family visit.
Syrian army advances
The Syrian army won back control over the Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside after pushing back the terrorists from their positions.
A July 14, 2014 datelined report by Fars News Agency said:
The army units regained control over Mleiha town in Eastern Ghouta and are now continuing their advance towards Jobar town and other insecure areas in the same region.
The army has now shifted the focus of its operations to Jobar in a move to secure the region and return its residents.
The “Syria: Army Regains Control of Eastern Ghouta” headlined news from Tehran said:
Last week, a large number of non-ISIL armed groups fighting against the Damascus government in Eastern Ghouta in separate messages voiced their willingness to lay down their arms and cede the areas under their control to the Syrian government.
The besieging of the Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian army has negatively influenced the morale of the militant groups and forced them to look for a way out of the current impasse to save their lives, the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Watan quoted informed Syrian sources as saying.
Sources close to militant commanders said that the morale of the commanders has never been so low, adding that this condition has arisen due to their defeats in all fronts and losing many strategic regions.
Syrian army units managed to retake parts of the strategic town after around 100 days of heavy fighting with the terrorists from the so-called al-Nusra Front and other Takfiri groups.
Another FNA report said:
Syrian troops had foiled attempts by the foreign-sponsored armed groups to release over 500 of their fellow militants being trapped inside the town.
A number of militants, including some Chechen and French nationals, had reportedly been killed in the army operation.
The development comes as Syrian forces have achieved major victories in their battle against foreign-backed groups and inflicted heavy losses on them across the country over the past months.
On July 4, the Syrian army said it had regained control of the strategic Sheikh Najjar Industrial Zone in the Northern city of Aleppo after killing a large number of Takfiri militants.
Moscow reaffirms support to Syria
A Moscow datelined SANA report said:
Supplying terrorists in Syria with cash, arms, training and havens is unacceptable, in the words of the Russian Foreign Ministry, which reiterated Moscow’s condemnation of the crimes of extremists in Syria.
The ministry said, in a statement issued on Monday that armed terrorist groups continue to mount deadly attacks against civilians in all Syrian areas.
Russia resolutely condemns the crimes of extremists in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and hopes the international community won’t leave these gruesome acts pass unevaluated, the statement added.
In a similar statement earlier this month, the Russian Foreign Ministry urged the international community to offer an objective assessment of the dire events rocking Syria and Iraq.
Reiterating Russia’s call for its partners worldwide to unify efforts to counter terrorist challenges sweeping the entire world, the statement warned that terrorist groups in Syria continue to unleash barbaric crimes against civilians who decline to be governed by “medieval laws.”
As a case in point, the statement cited the July 9 massacre that terrorists perpetrated in Khattab village in rural Hama, saying terrorists attacked the village and beheaded 14 people, among them women and girls, even though the area had no military presence or economic targets that might have incurred the attacks of the “armed opposition.”
A similar carnage came hot on the heels of the first one and was committed on July 10 in Takssis town where terrorists slaughtered three women while the fourth lay in a critical condition, the statement reminded, referring to non-stop salvos of indiscriminate mortars pounding residential areas in Syria.
“Peaceful civilians in areas where terrorists are on a rampage are subject to arbitrary arrests, torture and harsh executions, including even crucifixion, and imposing strictures on daily lives that go against local traditions, which is being played out in a blatant way especially during [the fasting month of] Ramadan,” the statement concluded.
 The Scotsman, July 14, 2014, http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/jordan-fears-syrian-backlash-over-cia-plan-1-3474865
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