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The Saturday bombing in a crowded area in the Turkish town of Reyhanli ostensibly targeted Syrian rebels specifically and Sunni Syrian refuges generally. That the powerful twin bombings killed at least 43 people and injured another 140 people happened on Turkish soil, with indications linking it back to the Syrian intelligence agencies (who have links to Iranian Revolutionary Guards), is an escalated proxy response to the quickly deteriorating situation in Syria.

With all the talk about "red lines" - which it is worth mentioning since Turkey continues to be vocal about the chemical weapon links to Syria - the fact that they are doing state-sponsored attacks against a NATO country may mean this doesn't become Obama to start it.

If Turkey were to claim Article 4 (which they have after previous rocket attacks which killed far fewer than today's attack) or Article 5, the US along with potentially France and Great Britain could be drug into this conflict by way of our alliance obligations.

This may be an overreaction and not necessarily the best move, but if asymmetrical attacks inside Turkey against civilian targets - which are directly linked to the Syrian state - continue, there may not be a choice.

On the other front, Hezbollah boasts of increased capabilities since 2006. They claim that for now the orders are to let Israelis fly over Lebanon airspace but that the "game changing" weapons that Nasrallah previously referred to are most likely surface-to-air missiles. In 2006 the group had success against Israeli tanks with anti-tank mines, nearly sank an Israeli warship with an Iranian missile, and of course there are the much-recently talked about enhanced missiles with long range and great accuracy that Israel destroyed. Which isn't to say shipments already are in Lebanon. Iran and Syria could wage a proxy war here as well and hope to drag Israel to Lebanon and take the heat off Iran.

The long and the short is, Obama has been wise to approach it the way he has. The pundits armchair quarterback but any outcome won't be good and he would be blamed either way. With that said, the situation is very volatile. It may be out of the US control in some respects however if the Syrians decide to use terrorism against a fellow NATO ally. Things could rapidly spiral out of control and the US may not have any choice but to do things like establish a no-fly zone. No troops of course, no more invading countries, but NATO obligations may be calling one day.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonkydonkey, mookins, KenBee, zenox

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

    by relikx on Sat May 11, 2013 at 07:32:20 PM PDT

  •  Is involvement by the Assad regime (0+ / 0-)

    in this bombing strongly indicated? Quite brazen of them if it is.

  •  A Turkish government official has said (5+ / 0-)

    the bombings were carried out by people who are connected to a group which is connected to Syrian intelligence.

    Then there are other officials who say the bombs are connected to the city of Raqqa, which is under al-Nusrah control.

    But the statements all contain phrases like 'we believe' or 'fairly certain' or 'but investigations are ongoing'.

    It seems that the government is spending more time saying over and over that this wasn't the rebels than that this was connected to Syrian intelligence. There was and is a great deal of anti-rebel feeling and the police had to use some force to protect Syrian rebels and other Syrians in Reyhanlı and Hatay from public outrage yesterday.

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Sat May 11, 2013 at 10:57:54 PM PDT

    •  why is there anti-rebel feelings in Turkey? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya

      other than general worry about all things Syrian?

      why specifically anti-rebels..implying Turkish citizens are pro Syrian administration? Could you go into that a little more please?..thanks.

      --------------------

      There was an article in the last week that said Russia has sold another, or perhaps promised to deliver...anyway, more anti aircraft equipment to Syria after recent Israel's incursion attacking the whatever it was/weapons delivery to Lebanon..

      Back when Israel attacked the whatever it was /nuclear something or other there was also Russian anti aircraft systems to be sold to Syria...as it appeared that Israel had the ability to attack targets inside Syria...I won't say easily, but successfully.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Sun May 12, 2013 at 12:57:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't say that there is pro-Assad sentiment (4+ / 0-)

        but there is quite strong anti-rebel sentiment in Turkey and it is strongest along the border.

        One reason is the behavior of the rebels in the Turkish towns and cities along the border, another is the radical Islamic views and behavior of many of the rebels who use the Turkish side of the border for their bases - these rebels have never tried to hide this here, another is that the foreign (mostly Saudi and Qatari) involvement is easily observable along the border, another is that some rebels openly strip Syria of its resources and then sell them across the border (indicating they are in it for the money not for 'freedom'), and another is that the rebels openly work to pull Turkey into the unrest and people in Turkey are overwhelmingly against this.

        And people along the border have also been able to see with their own eyes - as I have - rebels attack and do great damage to towns and villages along the border which want nothing to do with the fighting but which some rebel groups insist on 'liberating'.

        Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

        by InAntalya on Sun May 12, 2013 at 02:11:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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