- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Turkey, Egypt hit Assad for ‘terrorism’
U.S. senators give warning to Iran
Regional calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad reached new heights Wednesday, with Turkey describing the Assad regime as “one of state terrorism” and Egypt asserting that Mr. Assad should learn from the “recent history” of deposed Arab dictators and step down.
“It’s too late to talk about reform; this is the time for change,” Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told Arab leaders Wednesday in Cairo. “There is no room for further delaying a decision that will stop the bloodshed.”
Mr. Morsi’s remarks dovetailed with assertions made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who told an audience in Istanbul that Mr. Assad's government had devolved into “one of state terrorism.” Meanwhile, U.S. officials announced an uptick in American aid for Syrian refugees.
The apparent stiffening in the regional posture against Mr. Assad coincided with a visit to Iraq by a group of U.S. senators who warned the government in Baghdad that it risked damaging relations with the United States if it allowed Iranian planes to fly across Iraqi airspace with weapon shipments for Syria.
According to a report Tuesday in the New York Times, senior U.S. officials said they think such shipments are part of a renewed Iranian effort to bolster the Syrian military’s 17-month-old crackdown on opposition groups.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was in Baghdad on Wednesday, said Iraqi officials’ failure to stop the Iranian flights might jeopardize aid that Iraq could receive from the United States as part of a 2008 strategic pact between the nations.
“Bottom line, this kind of problem with these Iranian overflights can make it more difficult to proceed with the Strategic Framework Agreement in the manner that the prime minster and we would like to see happen,” said Mr. Lieberman, Connecticut independent. “So I hope this is cleared up quickly.”
Coordinating a response
In response, an Iraqi government spokesman told the Associated Press that Iran had told Baghdad that the flights are delivering only humanitarian aid to Syria and that the onus is on the U.S. to present proof that Tehran is shipping weapons.
“This region is about [to] explode,” he said in an apparent reference to the specter that Iraq might be coordinating with Iran to bolster the Syrian military’s war against factions that have taken up arms against Mr. Assad.
Such coordination may signal a regional squaring-off of nation-states along sectarian and religious lines with respect to the Syrian war — with Shiite-dominated governments in Baghdad and Tehran siding with Mr. Assad and Sunni-dominated governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey backing the rebels.
The extent to which such regional divisions might develop remains to be seen.
Mr. Morsi, whose Sunni-dominated Muslim Brotherhood has gained unprecedented influence in Egypt since the ouster last year of strongman Hosni Mubarak, has called for Iran to be part of the solution in Syria.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- U.S. urges direct talks between Russia, new Ukraine government
- Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine
- Special congressional panel to investigate FBI contact with bin Laden
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI had human source in contact with bin Laden as far back as 1993
- Ambassador denies reports Iraq has weapons deal with Iran
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Malaysia Airlines says plane on route to Beijing missing
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again