Syria: Reports from Aleppo indicate fighting continues and the opposition has lost ground in outlying areas. The reports also indicate the main government offensive push has not yet begun.
North Korea-Syria: According to South Korean press, on 14 June, a “well-informed diplomatic source” said that “North Korea has dispatched chemical weapon technicians to Syria since the mid 1990s and transferred chemical agent synthesis methods and technology to manufacture warheads for chemical weapon delivery.”
Comment: Last week an unidentified source in a Saudi news outlet said that North Korean chemical warfare officers are assisting the government. There is no confirmation that North Korean advisors are assisting Syrian forces in the current fighting, but North Korea has sold arms, missiles, chemical weapons and nuclear technology to Syria since at least the mid-1980s.
In light of the US decision to arm rebels because it says Syria used chemical weapons, Syria would seem to have little reason to not use chemical weapons more freely, as tactical situations require. The North Koreans could help with that. Plus, North Korea has sent pilots and air defense units in past Middle East conflicts, invariably aiding the side that was fighting against the US and its proxies.
Iran-Syria: The British newspaper The Independent reported on Sunday that its sources said that Iran made a military decision to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support Syrian government forces. The unidentified sources stated the decision was made before the outcome of the presidential election.
Comment: The Independent’s report has not been corroborated, but it has gone viral on the Web. If confirmed, it would represent an Iranian escalation move in retaliation for the US decision to arm the Sunni rebels.
Egypt: For the record. President Mursi announced on the 15th, “We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime.” He also said he had decided to close down the Syrian Embassy in Cairo. He also called for an end to Hezbollah’s presence in Syria.
Phi Beta Iota: We disagree with NIGHTWATCH on Syria using chemical weapons. There is NO reason for Syria to lose chemical weapons, it has everything else going for it — including the Treaty of Westphalia, and using chemical weapons is the ONE THING that would undermine its ability to keep everyone else out of the fight. We consider all reports of chemical weapons use to be unproven and probably straight-up lies by the British and French as well as the Americans. North Korea can be ignored, Iran cannot. If Iran really does put 4,000 troops into Syria, then the line has been drawn and when the US crosses that line, we will see a perfect storm. The number of people with deeply buried resentments of how the USA has abused people world-wide — including their own middle class and blue collar master class — is going to join with the large number of people who have over the past couple of decades been actively opposed to US mis-behavior. Nothing the US is doing can be said to be characterized by or based on intelligence with integrity. Iran is not the enemy here — the US is its own worst enemy. World War III (WWIII) may already have started but it will not be a war of states, it will be a war of people against states, and every US Embassy, every US military base, every US corporate outpost, will be a wide-open vulnerable target to isolated spontaneous acts of vigilante “justice” that in the aggregate will characterize the next three years as “no place to hide.” We anticipate a much greater media influence and psychological operations roll-out from the Cubans, Russians, and Iranians — perhaps joined by Venezuelan money and Brazilian imagination — to show the world the “true cost” of US unilateral imperialism, predatory capitalism, and virtual colonialism. The shocking photographs of US rapes, and the newly emerging studies on the epidemic of congenital birth defects across Iraq due to the US invasion and its wildly promiscuous use of depleted uranium and other military toxins, are in our view the beginning of the end for whatever mantle America may have claimed as a “good guy.” Good guys do not do what the US has done for 50 years. The bills are coming due.
Leebaert, Derek (2003). The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World. Back Bay Books.