Choke point: volatile events in the Middle East a global economic and military powder keg awaiting a spark

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
By Paul Martin
December 13, 2011

JORDAN – As the U.S. completes its final withdrawal from Iraq, American Special Forces troops have been diverted to positions in Jordan opposite a Syrian tank concentration building up across the kingdom’s northern border, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report. As of last Thursday, as of last Thursday Dec. 8, military convoys, air transports and helicopters have been lifting U.S. troops across the border from Iraq. They have been deployed in position to ward off a possible Syrian invasion in the light of President Bashar Assad’s warning that he would set the entire Middle East on fire if the pressure on his regime to step down persisted. Syria’s other neighbors have taken precautions against this contingency but this is the first time U.S. boots have hit the ground directly opposite Assad’s army. The incoming U.S. contingents are disclosed by our sources as having been housed at the King Hussein Air Base of al-Mafraq, 10 kilometers from the Syrian border. U.S. troops were sighted Monday, Dec. 12, building surveillance towers and army posts in the Jordanian villages of Albaej, Zubaydiah and al-Nahdah al-Houshah as well as near the Sarham dam of the Yarmoukh River which runs down the international border between Syria and Jordan. Three months ago, the Syrian ruler cautioned Jordan’s King Abdullah II to stop granting asylum to Syrian military deserters and allowing his country to serve as a conduit for pumping arms to the opposition. The king was not deterred by this threat. Seen from Damascus, Jordan would be easier to take on militarily that either Turkey or Israel. Saturday, Dec. 12, Jordanian surveillance units confirmed that Syrian armored units were gathering opposite the Jordanian town of Bura Al Hariri. Iraqi sources report that the American units came from the big Iraqi Ain al-Assad air base in the western province of Al Anbar opposite the Jordanian border. –Debka

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