According to the Daily Telegraph, parts of the Arab press are predicting a regional war over Syria and Iran. “Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based pan-Arab nationalist newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, raised the prospect of a conflagration in which a Turkish attack on Syria would coincide with an Israeli attack on Syria’s closest ally, Iran.”
He suggested that the decisive swing against Syria by the Gulf states, which previously held neutral or even seemed to support Mr Assad, was due to their fear of internal sectarian conflict in Syria spreading across the region. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in particular are afraid of Shia opposition to their Sunni rulers, which they claim is bolstered by Shia Iran.
Can they be serious? Or is the article simply a shot across the bow of the Syrian regime? Assad has reacted to an Arab league condemnation of his crackdown by allowing mobs to attack Arab embassies in Damascus. The Telegraph article reporting an opinion column from Saudi Arabia which interpreted the recent pressure against Damascus as a signal to Syrian army to act now or face the prospect of a reginal Armageddon.
Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of the Saudi-backed Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, said the countdown for the Assad regime had now begun. He highlighted a clause in the Arab League statement calling on the Syrian army not to engage in acts of violence and murder against civilians. “Is this a call for the Syrian army to stage a coup?” he asked. “Is it conceivable that the Syrian army is now in an important position?”
The alternative scenario Abdel Bari Atwan paints is surely apocalyptic. Unless the Syrian Army acts against Assad, the Jews and Gulf Arabs may make common cause against them! What could be worse? Well there is worse.
Terming Pakistan as the “main proliferator of atomic bombs in Middle East”, a former Israeli Army General has alleged that Islamabad was supporting the Syrian nuclear weapons programme and was behind nuclear proliferation in the Arab world.
Visiting India to interact with defence and security experts, Brig Gen (retd) Shalom Harari said, “Israel recently got information that Pakistan was supporting the nuclear weapon program of Syria by supplying it some of the key components.
But who exactly is doing what is matter of some confusion. A South Korean newspaper, citing what seem to be Seoul’s intelligence sources says the North Koreans are active in the region. “Hundreds of North Korean nuclear and missile experts have been collaborating with their Iranian counterparts in more than 10 locations across the Islamic state, a diplomatic source said Sunday. The revelation lends credence to long-held suspicions that North Korea was helping Iran with a secret nuclear and missile program.”
President Obama, speaking in Hawaii, has affirmed his faith in diplomacy to bring matters to a conclusion but hinted they may not be enough.
Obama said his strong preference was to resolve the Iran issue diplomatically, but he added: “We are not taking any options off the table. Iran with nuclear weapons would pose a threat not only to the region but also to the United States.”