US military intervention in Syria – “Not if but when”

Sunday, June 17, 2012
By Paul Martin

DEBKAfile.com
June 16, 2012

As the violence in Syria continued to go from bad to worse in scope and intensity, US official sources had this to say Saturday, June 16, about planned US military operations in the war-torn country:
“The intervention will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’”
A Syrian Free Army rebel delegation is now in Washington to talk about their requests for heavy weapons from the Obama administration. In their meetings with US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the State Department’s expert on Syria Fred Hof, the rebel leaders handed in two lists for approval: types of heavy weapons capable of challenging Bashar Assad’s armed forces and selected targets of attack to destabilize his regime.
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources disclose that the administration is very near a decision on the types of weapons to be shipped to the Syrian rebels and when. Most of the items Washington is ready to send have been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are ready for shipment.
The White House is also close to deciding on the format of its military operation in Syria. Some sources are defining it as “Libya lite” – that is, a reduced-scale version of the no-fly zone imposed on Libya two years ago and the direct air and other strikes which toppled the Qaddafi regime.
Following reports of approaching US military intervention in Syria and a Russian marine contingent heading for Tartus port, the UN observer mission in Syria has suspended operations and patrols. Its commander Maj. Gen. Robert Mood said, “Violence has been intensifying over the past 10 days by both parties with losses and significant risks to our observers.”

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