- Number-crunchers put GOP chances of retaking Senate at 60 percent: report
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
- Fla. voters’ support for medical marijuana bodes well for ballot measure: poll
- Keith Urban concert ends in ‘nutso’ chaos, with dozens arrested, injured
- Very religious still lean toward GOP, reflecting long-term patterns, Gallup poll shows
- Fist bump becoming all the rage for germ-wary handshakers
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Chinese police tear down church cross in religion crackdown
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: ‘Obama, Obama, where are you?’
- Maine police find wife, husband, 3 children dead in home
There goes the neighborhood: Mideast prepping for Syria spillover into all-out religious war
Question of the Day
Top generals from the U.S. and its allies have been meeting this week to discuss the fallout from expected military strikes on Syria, as nations and markets around the region scramble to prepare for a wider conflict in the region.
Senior military officials from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada attended the two-day summit in Amman that wrapped up Monday, a U.S. military official told The Washington Times.
It was co-hosted by U.S. Central Command and the Jordanian Armed Forces and had been planned since June, said the official.
“The event provided a timely opportunity for the defense chiefs to meet … on issues such as the makeup of [Syrian] opposition forces and short- and long-term impacts of the growing refugee crisis, as well as concern for the spread of sectarian violence in the region.”
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Jordan’s chief of staff, Gen. Mashal Mohammad al-Zaben attended the meeting, as well as Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command.
The conference came as the U.S., France and Britain mulled a response to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s suspected chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of civilians.
In Washington, Defense Department spokesman George Little told The Associated Press earlier this week that the emergency summit in Amman aimed at achieving a better understanding of the impact of a broadening regional conflict might have, among other things.
Other nations in the region were scrambling to prepare for spillover from a U.S. strike, which Syria’s neighbors fear will draw them into a broader war in the Mideast between Sunni and Shiia Muslims.
Mr. Assad is an Alawite, a branch of the Shia school of Islam, which is also the official religion in theocratic Iran, his main sponsor in the region.
Iraq is majority Shia, and there is already a violent insurgency by Sunni terrorist groups there. Dozens die almost daily in car bomb and other terrorist attacks by al Qaeda-aligned Sunni extremists.
Most of the rebels fighting Damascus are also Sunnis, and many are linked with al Qaeda in Iraq.
Jordan is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, as are the Gulf states, though they all have Shiite populations of varying sizes. Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, has a majority Shiite population.
Lebanon, the country worst hit so far by violent spillover from Syria, is a religious and ethnic patchwork of Muslims, Christians, Arabs and others. It is led by the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which has been fighting alongside government forces in Syria to such deadly effect.
This week, Hezbollah’s political heartlands in Beirut’s suburbs have been struck by indiscriminate and deadly car bombs blamed on Sunni extremists.
And with the threat of a U.S. strike looming, refugees are arriving in Lebanon from Syria the at the rate of 1,000 every day, according to U.N. figures released Thursday.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Libya now nation at risk with weak U.S. influence; embassy closes as chaos grows
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq