Assad declares Syria in ‘state of war’

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad declared to his newly appointed cabinet that Syria was in a "state of war," and "all of our politics has to be concentrated on winning this war." This bellicose rhetoric comes as Recep Erodgan, the Turkish prime minister, amended Turkey’s rules of military engagement by authorizing troops to intercept any potential ...

LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GettyImages
LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GettyImages
LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GettyImages

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad declared to his newly appointed cabinet that Syria was in a "state of war," and "all of our politics has to be concentrated on winning this war." This bellicose rhetoric comes as Recep Erodgan, the Turkish prime minister, amended Turkey's rules of military engagement by authorizing troops to intercept any potential threat posed by Syrian troops along the border. Erdogan added that Syria represented a "clear and present threat" to Turkey. According to Turkish media reports, 15 Turkish military vehicles, as well as tanks and long-range guns, were sent to the border to reinforce troops. Meanwhile, American and allied officials privately speculated that the Turkish warplane shot down by Syria on Friday was in fact on a spy mission, which Turkey vehemently denies.

Riad al-Asaad, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army opposition group, told the Lebanese Daily Star that Hezbollah fighters are involved in battles in Syria. Al-Asaad said "as for the involvement of Hezbollah fighters, we have confirmed that it is involved in events inside Syria, especially in Talkalakh and Homs. We have seen heavily armed [Hezbollah] convoys and several buses." Meanwhile, seven people have died in an attack on Syria's state-run television station, according to information minister Omran al-Zoebi. Journalists, human rights activists and opposition members condemned the attack in which employees were killed and explosive devices planted.The Syrian government and opposition groups have accused each other of perpetrating the attacks.

Opposition activists cited heavy clashes in the suburbs of Damascus and near the Republican Guard headquarters in Qudsiya as the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 116 people were killed across Syria on Tuesday. The United Nations human rights investigator for Syria said that human rights abuses have been spreading throughout the country and continue to be perpetrated by both sides of the conflict. Human Rights Watch has reported that Syrian soldiers stationed on the Syria-Jordan border are shooting indiscriminately at anyone trying to leave. Meanwhile, International envoy Kofi Annan will convene a meeting in Geneva on Saturday in attempts to recover what is left of his peace plan.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad declared to his newly appointed cabinet that Syria was in a "state of war," and "all of our politics has to be concentrated on winning this war." This bellicose rhetoric comes as Recep Erodgan, the Turkish prime minister, amended Turkey’s rules of military engagement by authorizing troops to intercept any potential threat posed by Syrian troops along the border. Erdogan added that Syria represented a "clear and present threat" to Turkey. According to Turkish media reports, 15 Turkish military vehicles, as well as tanks and long-range guns, were sent to the border to reinforce troops. Meanwhile, American and allied officials privately speculated that the Turkish warplane shot down by Syria on Friday was in fact on a spy mission, which Turkey vehemently denies.

Riad al-Asaad, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army opposition group, told the Lebanese Daily Star that Hezbollah fighters are involved in battles in Syria. Al-Asaad said "as for the involvement of Hezbollah fighters, we have confirmed that it is involved in events inside Syria, especially in Talkalakh and Homs. We have seen heavily armed [Hezbollah] convoys and several buses." Meanwhile, seven people have died in an attack on Syria’s state-run television station, according to information minister Omran al-Zoebi. Journalists, human rights activists and opposition members condemned the attack in which employees were killed and explosive devices planted.The Syrian government and opposition groups have accused each other of perpetrating the attacks.

Opposition activists cited heavy clashes in the suburbs of Damascus and near the Republican Guard headquarters in Qudsiya as the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 116 people were killed across Syria on Tuesday. The United Nations human rights investigator for Syria said that human rights abuses have been spreading throughout the country and continue to be perpetrated by both sides of the conflict. Human Rights Watch has reported that Syrian soldiers stationed on the Syria-Jordan border are shooting indiscriminately at anyone trying to leave. Meanwhile, International envoy Kofi Annan will convene a meeting in Geneva on Saturday in attempts to recover what is left of his peace plan.

Headlines

  • An explosion hit the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli, causing damage to the building but no injuries. This incident is the latest in a series of attacks on international buildings in in Libya this year.
  • An Egyptian administrative court has overturned a decree that reinstated martial law. The decree had allowed soldiers to arrest civilians.
  • After a historic Supreme Court ruling, Israel has started to evacuate settlers from Ulpana, a West Bank neighborhood.
  • Thousands of Kuwaitis demonstrated against a court ruling that disbanded the Islamist-led Parliament and reinstated the pro-regime assembly

Arguments & Analysis

Letter from 27 foreign policy experts to President Obama‘ (POMED, Atlantic Council, Yemen Policy Initiative)

"While there are some in the US government who understand the need for a comprehensive approach, the current public diplomacy and implementation of US policy in Yemen conveys the opposite. Although the Department of State, USAID, and others have invested millions in development and governance projects, the perception both in the US and in Yemen is that US policy is singularly focused on AQAP. The Yemeni people need to know that their country is more than a proxy battleground and that the US long-term commitment to the stability, development, and legitimacy of the country matches the more immediate and urgent commitment to the defeat of AQAP."

Egypt’s revolution will only be secured by spreading it‘ (Seumas Milne, The Guardian)

"In the meantime, the first free election of an Egyptian president is likely to give renewed impetus to protest movements for democratic change across the region..The spread of revolt is essential if real change is to continue in the Arab world. The Saudi and other western-backed Gulf dictatorships have been central to the drive to suppress, derail or poison the uprisings of the past 18 months – the fulcrum of the regional counter-revolution. Only when they reach the heartlands of autocracy will the Arab revolution be secure."

Russia in the Islamic World‘ (Sergey Markedonov, The National Interest)

"Why does Russia so stubbornly support the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad? This question is frequently discussed in Western media and political circles. Many American and European analysts consider Moscow’s policy a "phantom of the Cold War" or some kind of dictatorial solidarity. But realism plays a more important role in Moscow’s reasoning than anti-American hostility."

–By Jennifer Parker 

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