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For the earlier developments in this fast breaking story see my last dairy:
BREAKING: #Turkey calls #Syria attack "hostile act" on #NATO

NATO has just concluded the consultation meeting called by Turkey after its reconnaissance jet was shot down by Syria. They did not decided to take any military action at this time. Article 5 was not invoked. They just issued the following statement:

NAC Statement on the shooting down of a Turkish aircraft by Syria
26-Jun-2012 11:44 Brussels

The North Atlantic Council has met at Turkey's request to hold consultations within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty which states that "the Parties will consult whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any of the Parties is threatened."

The North Atlantic Council discussed the shooting down of a Turkish aircraft by Syria. We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms. It is another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life.

Our thoughts at this difficult time are with the missing Turkish aircrew, their families and their loved ones. We continue to follow the situation closely and with great concern, and will remain seized of developments on the South-Eastern border of NATO.

The security of the Alliance is indivisible. We stand together with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity.

AP released this at 3:18am pst:

Turkey threatens Syria with retaliation

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's prime minister, responding to the downing of a Turkish jet by Syrian forces, said Tuesday that Turkish military will respond to any future violation of its border by Syrian military elements.

"The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. "Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target."

Syria insists that the Turkish plane violated its air space on Friday. But Turkey says that although the unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance jet had unintentionally strayed into Syria's air space, it was inside international airspace when it was brought down.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance condemns it "in the strongest terms," and expressed solidarity with Turkey, but made no mention of retaliatory action.

Erdogan said Syria shot down the unarmed plane in international airspace in a 'deliberate' and 'hostile' act and without warning. He said border violations in the region were not uncommon. He said Syrian helicopters violated Turkish airspace five times recently, without Turkish response.

"No one should be deceived by our cold blooded stance," Erdogan said. "Our acting with common sense should not be perceived as a weakness."

  Ahamad Khaled Barre becomes the 18th Brigadier General to defect from Assad

Here is the current list. Click on links for YouTube videos:

1. Brigadier General Dean Radwan defected and joined the FSA 12.10.2011
2. Brigadier General Mustafa Ahmed al-Sheikh defected and joined the FSA 08.01.2012
3. Brigadier General Fayez Qaddour defected and joined the FSA 14.02.2012
4. Brigadier General Adnan al-Qasim Farzat defected and joined the FSA 06.03.2012
5. Brigadier General Hossam Alawak defected and joined the FSA 12.03.2012
6. Brigadier General Hussein Mohamed defected and joined the FSA 27.03.2012
7. Brigadier General Ziad Ismail Fahad defected and joined the FSA 28.03.2012
8. Brigadier General Adnan al-Ahmad defected and joined the FSA 28.03.2012
9. Brigadier General Mouhammad Razzuq defected and joined the FSA 31.03.2012
10. Brigadier General Muhammad Yahya Bittar defected and joined the FSA 01.04.2012
11. Brigadier General Ghazi al-Jaber Abboud defected and joined the FSA 04.05.2012
12. Brigadier General Hassan Nasser defected and joined the FSA 22.05.2012
13. Brigadier General Mohammad Rahhal defected and joined the FSA 26.05.2012
14. Brigadier Gen Mahmoud Qitaz & his son defected and joined the FSA 27.05.2012
15. Brigadier General Mohammad Anwar Saad al-Deen defected and joined the FSA 04.06.2012
16. Brigadier General Muhammad Amal Zakaria defected and joined the FSA 21.06.2012
17. Brigadier General Abdullah Amal Zakaria defected and joined the FSA 21.06.2012
18. Brigadier General Ahamad Khaled Barre defected and joined the FSA 25.06.2012

Another massive defection & formation of "Omar bin Abdul Aziz" Brigade. 6 26, 2012

And we have this report of FSA ground action:

The FSA from Lakakia province that raided a ammo dump last week killing more then 20 Assad troops got hold of a number off Truck based Grad launchers.

They where used this evening to bombard Bassel Al-Assad International Airport
Location  35°24'6"N   35°56'47"E

The attack was directed at the Northern End of the Base where the Terminal is(was)and the choppers and ammo storage Major Damage was reported also on the runway.

Most choppers are on fire now and ammo is still exploding.

The Attack was done from the east for obvious reasons I will not give this coordinates. The attack was done about 00.35 local time

And finally, we have this twitter report from @AletheiaLibya:
Mass defection of 200 soldiers in #Idlib is another sign that the #Assad regime could ultimately collapse faster than anyone expects. #Syria
This was followed up by @Ugariti_Homsi who tweeted:
Accr to Aljazeera, 200 soldiers defect from the army in #Idlib and are engaged in clashes with the loyalist troops. #Syria
And Al Jazeera English is running this this morning:
Deadly clashes in Damascus suburbs 26 Jun 2012 11:41
Dozens reported dead during fighting on edges of capital and other parts of Syria between army and opposition fighters.

Dozens of people have been killed in fierce clashes between Syria troops and opposition fighters, mainly in the suburbs of Damascus, monitoring groups have reported.

Opposition forces and Syrian army units were locked in fierce clashes around elite Republican Guard posts in the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an activist monitoring group, said on Tuesday.

"Violent clashes are taking place around positions of the Republican Guard in Qudssaya and Al-Hama," eight kilometres from central Damascus, Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, told the AFP news agency.

Fighting has intensified in past weeks in and around the capital, where government buildings and security posts are heavily defended, but the violence on Tuesday was the most intense in the area, Abdel Rahman said.

"This is the first time that the regime uses artillery in fighting so close to the capital," he said.

"This development is important because it's the heaviest fighting in the area and close to the heart of the capital."

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said that the reports of clashes in Damascus were significant as most opposition attacks on the Syrian army had previously only been overnight attacks.

"This shows how desperate rebels are to bring the fighting to capital and also how desperate the Syrian government is to keep opposition fighters back," she said.

The opposition fighters blew up an artillery gun at the entrance to Qudssaya, said Abdel Rahman.

"These suburbs are home to barracks of troops which are very important for the regime like the Republican Guard," he said.

"This is also where families of [army] officers live."

'Large military vehicles'

The SOHR reported that Syrian troops, backed by "large military vehicles", stormed the Barzeh neighbourhood of Damascus, amid heavy shooting.

Another monitoring organisation, the Local Co-ordination Committees in Syria (LCC), reported one fatality in the area as well as many other people injured as the "army stormed the neighborhood with tanks, armored vehicles, and a large number of soldiers".

The SOHR reported major shelling by Syrian forces on opposition fighters in al-Reef, on the outskirts of Damascus.

"Intense shelling by the Syrian regime and also intense clashes with rebels fighters in [Al-Hamaeh town]. Also, sounds of explosions in the suburbs of Doumar and Qudssaya, areas outside of Damascus," the observatory said.

The Revolution Leadership Council of Damascus reported seven fatalities and 13 people injured in Al-Hamaeh.

"Continuous ... shelling, sounds of gunfire, and snipers on building rooftops [in Al-Hamaeh]," it said.

"Telephone landlines and cell phone lines are disconnected, in addition to electricity cut off. Military reinforcement is on the way to the area now."

Elsewhere in the country, the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province, in the northwest, was hit by "more than 20 shells in half an hour" after midnight, according to the observatory, which gave no casualty toll.

The LCC reported that there has also been fierce fighting in old Homs. "Fierce rocket bombing in Old Homs neighbourhoods, and massive explosions from bombing," it said.

On Monday, 95 people were killed, including 61 civilians, as the army pounded rebel strongholds and other towns and cities, according to activists,

The SOHR, which is based in the UK, says the government's suppression of the uprising, which began in March last year, has cost more than 15,000 lives.

10:15 AM PT: Reports that Turkey is moving tanks up to the border with Syria at this hour

26 June 2012, 18:59 (GMT+05:00):

Following a statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the regime of Bashar al-Assad is a threat to the security of Turkey, on the border with Syria had massed a large amount of Turkish military equipment, "Zaman" newspaper reported.

11:34 AM PT: Reuters is reporting Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:05am EDT that Russia will send a half billion dollars in arms to Syria this year:

By Thomas Grove

MOSCOW, June 26 (Reuters) - Russia is expected to deliver air defence systems, reconditioned helicopters and fighter jets to Syria this year worth nearly half a billion dollars despite international pressure to halt arms sales to Damascus, a defence think-tank said on Tuesday.

The report, by CAST, a Moscow-based think tank, is likely to fuel concerns that Russia is supplying President Bashar al-Assad with arms that are being used against protesters taking part in an uprising against him and air defence systems that could be deployed in the event of international military intervention.

Obtained by Reuters before publication, the report shows a series of contracts that were signed between 2005 and 2007 are at the heart of Russia's arms sales to Syria, which has been rocked by a vicious cycle of violence for the last 16 months.

The deals were signed long before the start of the rebellion in Syria and after Moscow wrote off some 70 percent of Syria's $13.4 billion debt to Russia and the former Soviet Union, a stumbling block that froze Moscow's arms cooperation with Damascus throughout the 1990s.

Russia is expected to start delivering 12 top-of-the-line MiG-29 fighter jets this year and to deliver a batch of repaired Mi-25 attack helicopters, the report said.

It said air defence systems expected to be delivered to Syria this year included the Buk-M2E, which Moscow began delivering in 2010, and Pantsir-S1 armoured rocket complexes, which are designed to help protect troops against air attacks.

11:47 AM PT: From the Times of Israel:

UN peacekeeping chief: Syria too dangerous, mission won’t resume

June 26, 2012, 9:16 pm

Mission head tells Security Council observers had suffered direct fire at least 10 times

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. peacekeeping chief has told the Security Council that it’s too dangerous for U.N. observers in Syria to resume their mission.

A diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tuesday that Herve Ladsous told a closed council meeting that the mission could restart at some point but that for the time being, it’s too dangerous.

U.N. forces in Syria repeatedly came under fire before the U.N. suspended the 300-member mission earlier this month.

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the mission’s head, told the council at the time that the observers had suffered direct fire at least 10 times, had been in several indirect fire incidents. He said nine U.N. vehicles had been damaged or struck by small arms fire.

2:47 PM PT: According to Al Arabiya, Bashar al-Assad declared Syria in "real situation of war:"

Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday that his country, in the grips of an anti-regime uprising now in its 16th month, is in a “real situation of war.”

“We are witnessing a real situation of war,” state news agency SANA quoted him as telling a meeting of the new Syrian cabinet.

But Assad insisted that “when one is in a state of war, all our policies and capabilities must be used to secure victory.”

New cabinet

The speech followed Assad swearing in the new government, in images broadcast on state television.

The president had issued a decree to form the new government on Saturday, shaking up many cabinet posts but keeping the heads of the interior, defense and foreign ministries, state television reported.

The reappointment of Defense Minister Daoud Rajha will quash widespread rumors, previously denied by the government, that he had been assassinated by rebels who are struggling to bring down Assad's rule.

Here are my related diaries:
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout
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Comment Preferences

  •  So *that's* what a "Twitter War" looks like. n/t (6+ / 0-)

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 03:55:50 AM PDT

    •  I sincerely (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoGoGoEverton, erush1345, Russgirl

      hope it doesn't result in #World War 3 and #Armageddon.

      •  Now #justwaitaminutehere (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rich in PA, furi kuri

        Hitler would've seen the hot topic trending, #sneakingontonormandy, and it wouldve been an even bigger fight...have to assume they will eschew twitter.

      •  i think this situation is safely contained. (5+ / 0-)

        What it looks like to me is, Turkey got solidarity from NATO, so now they can pursue the diplomatic option with strength.

        Turkey's government is rational, so they will logically prefer diplomatic solutions even while holding out the military option as a credible threat.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 04:53:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Aramawho, please in the event of rapture (0+ / 0-)

        can I have your stuff?  

      •  DITTO. Following PNAC plans to IRAN after... (0+ / 0-)

        Isn't it about TIME we reversed our deadly course of worldwide destruction of all... for the sake of the 1% greedy psychopaths?  

        STOP - PROTEST their wars for profit and control now, while we still have a chance!

        Do we, the "little people" have a voice that is heard and respected - or not?
        We will see.

        Our "free" press STILL PERFORMING their "job" as intellectual prostitutes...

        “There is no such thing in America as an independent press unless it is in the country towns. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dare express an honest opinion. If you express it you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.

        I am paid… for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things….

        The business of the New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and sell his country and race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same thing, his salary.

        You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an ‘independent press.’

        We are tools, and the vassals of rich men behind the scenes.

        We are jumping-jacks. They pull the strings and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, all are the property of other men.

        We are intellectual prostitutes.”

        John Swinton [1829-1901] Chief Editorial Writer of the New York Times (Considered “the Dean of his Profession” by his peers), when asked to toast an ‘Independent Press’ in a gathering at the National Press Club, circa 1880, at his retirement dinner.

        •  A Question (0+ / 0-)

          How is this a war for profit?

          How is it a war at all yet after NATO declines military action?

          I realize that the arming of rebel forces with Saudi and Qatari arms is problematic, especially with the gulf states being the most theocratically stringent in their form of Sunni Islam.  However, I fail to see how this is a War for the 1%, a war of destruction.

          Well, maybe for Russian arms dealers, but...

          IMHO: code for the mean little thoughts of someone with the social grace of duckweed. --T. Pratchett

          by Cynical Copper on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:45:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  USA has their own dealers. WAR does not = PEACE. (0+ / 0-)
            •  You do have a point. (0+ / 0-)

              The yanks could be the ones supplying the Kingdoms with the arms, or could be doing the direct route over the Turkish Border.  However, the question is, HAS there been any shipment of American weaponry that hadn't first been bought by the Turks, Saudis or Qataris?

              And Yes, War and Peace are quite antonymical to each other on the most basic level of definition.

              IMHO: code for the mean little thoughts of someone with the social grace of duckweed. --T. Pratchett

              by Cynical Copper on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:56:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  this should be on the rec list - (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downsouth, Russgirl, Timaeus, Shockwave

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:27:42 AM PDT

  •  Sure would be nice (0+ / 0-)

    If instead of killing "20 Assad troops" the FSA would somehow just cut the head off the snake and have done with it. The "troopers" for all we know - might have been decent guys just trying to make a living and better their circumstances.

    But that's never the way it seems to go.

    I want a living planet, not just a living room.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:19:21 AM PDT

  •  told you yesterday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    NATO is not going to touch Syria, They do not want to tangle with Russia.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:24:06 AM PDT

    •  Please stop beating that deceased equine. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

      by OIL GUY on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:50:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so you think what (0+ / 0-)

        that NATO jumps all into Libya and the US has it hands everywhere else, but somehow what, we dont touch Syria during a massacre why?  We are what tired?  

        please.. I thought this was an adult discussion, not some pissing match where you get all upset because you simply dont have a great handle on the topic.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:54:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Very true. (0+ / 0-)

      Or rather, it was true...back in, say, 1975.  The Red Army is dead.  The Russian Army can't even pay its soldiers on time most months, and pays them very little then.  Their equipment is outdated, their soldiers demoralized and ill-trained, their alliance non-existent.  Short of a nuclear exchange, Russia would present little problem for a concerted NATO attack.

      •  wow (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac

        my god, where did you pick up such drivel.

        just one comparison. The Warplanes for the 21st century. The NATO  f-35 versus Russia su-35s.
        The Russian warplane outclasses the nato f-35 in just about every measure.

        so please, step away from the propaganda and look at reality.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:58:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  tanks (0+ / 0-)

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:03:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All that is irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

          because Russia can't actually get those to Syria or resupply them.  

          If it were to come to a showdown the U.S. and NATO have a winning hand in being able to dominate in the land, air, and sea everywhere around Syria within hours at most.

          •  Even if we did succeed in occupying Syria, (0+ / 0-)

            that would just mean another Iraq.

            Wasn't one Iraq enough?

            The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

            by lysias on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:12:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That seems confused (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not arguing for an intervention.

              In my opinion, what 'we' did right (albeit with all the wrong 'justifications') in Iraq was remove a horrible USSR-connected dictator and remove Iraq as the third, chaos and war-generating, military power within the Middle East.

              Where 'we' went wrong was in trying to babysit an unavoidable civil war within Iraq.  Our real interest was not in one particular side winning but in all Iraqi sides fighting out their differences and scores definitively themselves.  And then deciding to live together again peaceably after a minimal length of time, amount of destruction, and number of lives lost.  Pointless interference in that is where the great bulk of the American blood, treasure, and moral credibility was lost in Iraq.

              In Syria we have a civil war and dictator removal occurring in one combined war, much as in Libya.  As in Libya and Serbia/Kosovo/Bosnia it seems possible (though not desirable) for the U.S. to be party to the defeat of the dictator by destroying, or supplying the means to destroy, his one-sided advantage in advanced weaponry, which is largely employed to kill dissident civilians.  And leave the civil war and creating democratic government afterwards to the locals.

          •  yeah it not like Russia (0+ / 0-)

            has its largets naval base there... oh wait.. it does.

            Bad is never good until worse happens

            by dark daze on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:25:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which likely (0+ / 0-)

              would turn into a bunch of rubble and ships sunk at their moorings within a few hours if Russia declared war.

              Seriously, if you were a Russian general this does not war game to your advantage under any realistic circumstances.  

              The only Russian strategy with any chance of  success is to keep feeding weaponry to Assad and obstruct for him at the U.N.  Which will cause Turkey to train up and Qatar to supply the rebellion forces, with the result will be an ugly, bloody, slow attrition war.  With the rebels having little to lose but their lives, the attrition will be net of Assad's political support and allies, money, troops, and weaponry over months or a year or two à la Gaddafi.  This is Russia's current strategy.  

            •  Tartus is not Russia's largest base - by far (0+ / 0-)

              Tartus is a naval supply and maintenance base.

              Russian Warships Said to Be Going to Naval Base in Syria

              The site, at the port of Tartus, is little more than a pier, fuel tanks and some barracks.
              More recently, the site’s main asset, a floating machine shop that is intended to repair naval ships and extend Russia’s sea power into the Mediterranean, was itself in need of repairs after malfunctioning twice at sea.

              The barracks, set amid palm trees according to photographs, house about 50 Russian sailors, while another 190 sailors stay onboard the floating repair shop.

              “Looks scary, doesn’t it?” Ruslan Aliyev, a Russian military analyst, noted sarcastically of photographs of the repair boat, a rusty relic made in Poland in 1969.

              •  in the region it is (0+ / 0-)

                Bad is never good until worse happens

                by dark daze on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:03:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not really of military value (0+ / 0-)

                  Putin would like to see the US embroiled in Syria.

                  How vital is Syria's Tartus port to Russia?
                  27 June 2012
                  Mention is frequently made of Russia's Mediterranean naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus which, along with multi-billion-dollar arms sales to Damascus, runs the argument, is why Russia will never abandon the Assad government.

                  Not so, says a respected Moscow military think tank.
                  Video footage taken on a recent visit by Russian journalists shows a sleepy, half-deserted port with ageing Russian trucks, an officer's overgrown orchard and a few decrepit supply hangers.

                  "The Western media have got it all wrong in portraying Tartus and arms sales to Syria as a major reason why Russia is standing by the Assad regime," says Ruslan Aliev.

                  It is about nostalgia for former Soviet power, he insists.

                  In a report being circulated to Russian defence chiefs, CAST argues that Russia does not actually have a major strategic stake in Syria, and that its support for President Assad is based more on emotion than logic.

                  "No-one in Russia really thinks Assad is a good or helpful guy," concludes Mr Aliev.

  •  Thanks for the update, Clay. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, lysias

    This is largely what I expected out of this consultation, though I'm surprised that the statement wasn't stronger, and coupled with movement of a carrier group into the region.  Still, Article 5 wasn't invoked, and thats a good thing for now.  I foresee problems in the future, though, due to the change in terms of engagement on the Turikish side.  Nonetheless, I agree with those changes.

    Thanks again for keeping us updated on this.

  •  parenthetical question... (0+ / 0-)

    Can anyone here explain to me what these tic tac toe marks are which show up all over the place these days?  I'm afraid I sound like my ex-grandmother-in-law who does not even know how to use a cordless phone.  But I blink and some new technology takes the world by storm and I feel like I've lived in a cave for a few generations.  Do these tic tac toe marks indicate Twitter releases? If so, why do people put them on things that are not Tweets?  And why do I always feel like I have no idea what is going on with this sort of stuff?  Is everyone else subscribing to some technology newsletter that I'm not?  

    "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:03:00 AM PDT

  •  A new war? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl, lysias, Claudius Bombarnac

    Here you go.   The whole neoconservative group has been pushing for a new war there.   Beyond Condoleezza Rice, McCain, Lieberman, Cheney etc.  have been advocating for arming the rebels and regime change.   They must be right.  After all they are the experts on this.   They have a lot of experience from Iraq.

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