Shia versus Sunni Supremacism Roils Middle East

by Jerry Gordon (June 2013)

declaration by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday, May 25th that “called Syria a new front in the Shiite party's war against Israel and the West.” He went further and noted: “Syria is the backbone of the resistance. The resistance cannot sit idly by, arms crossed, as its back is exposed or its support broken.” The Assad regime newspaper Tishreen emblazoned Nasrallah’s message across its front page. 

Hezbollah Fighters, Source: AP

reported  that 5,000 Hezbollah fighters are in Syria with another 5,000 on the way. The combined Shia force is endeavoring to protect lines of communications for the filtering of weapons and supplies to Hezbollah delivered by sea and air to Syria from Iran. Further, the combined forces’ objective is to create an Alawite bastion on Syria’s North West Mediterranean coast so that Russian weapons and Venezuelan diesel fuel can be delivered via the ports of Tartous and Latakia. 

commented at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Jordan that the Obama Administration “doesn’t want to get involved in the complexity of the Syrian crisis.” The Obama Administration has been circumspect about armed support for rebel militias in Syria. Perhaps because the leading elements among Syrian rebels are the al Qaida linked al-Nusrah terrorist militia. President Obama is caught on the horns of a dilemma.

The two year war in Syria that began as an alleged rebellion seeking the toppling of the regime of Bashar al Assad has devolved into a bloody sectarian war with over 80,000 dead, hundreds of thousands wounded and more than 1.5 million refugees displaced to neighboring countries, Turkey and Jordan. That figure could well double if the sectarian war in Syria continues creating an enormous humanitarian crisis.

noted at a Tel Aviv conference: “Syria is collapsing before our eyes. If it collapses tomorrow we could find its vast arsenal dispersed and pointing at us.” As Syria has a vast inventory of rockets, missiles, chemical and biological weapons, home defense for Israel’s population would be crucial. Carolyn Glick in a recent Jewish World Review column noted:

fired a rocket from Marjayoun in Southern Lebanon that exploded in the vicinity of Metullah in Northern Israel, a distance of six miles. Moreover, Hezbollah may have been supplied by Iran with the means of delivering chemical and biological weapons. In late April, an Israeli F-16 shot down a Hezbollah, Iranian supplied Ababil (Swallow) UAV, the second one in six months.  Hezbollah has a dozen of such drones capable of delivering non-conventional WMD. The mobile Ababil UAVS can be launched from Southern Lebanon and can reach central Israel.

illegal gold trading that Turkey has used to purchase Iranian oil. Those drastic economic measures may not be powerful enough to stop Iran’s nuclear program from achieving weapon grade uranium for assembly of devices as early as 2014.

Atlantic interview is King Abdullah, “an ex-king walking” and is the Israeli Jordanian Peace treaty in jeopardy?

conveyed by a former senior aide to PM Netanyahu, “Debating the peace process to most Israelis is the equivalent of debating the color of the shirt you will wear when landing on Mars.”

investigative reports that a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011 may have led to the toppling of Mubarak and the freeing of Morsi who became President in June 2012. There is some concern that if the current quandary in Egypt is not resolved it might lead to a possible military overthrow of the Morsi regime.

Against this background, we convened another in a series of our periodic Middle East Round Table discussions.

Bates:  Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. There is a lot in the news with domestic policy. The tornado in Oklahoma, the Barack Obama Administration dealing with their plateful of scandals and  there is always news happening in the Middle East and that is why we do these occasional Middle East Roundtables. We are doing one this hour with Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog, “the Iconoclast.” He is in the studio with us. Welcome Jerry.

Gordon:  Good to be back.

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