Iran/Syria – On June 18, there were numerous reports from the media around the world reporting that Iran is to send approximately 4,000 members of the Revolutionary Guard to assist President Assad’s regime in Syria. Along with the Hezbollah contingent, this will amount to a huge force against the Free Syrian Army and those fighting with it. The report does not state whether any heavy weaponry will be sent or what type of soldiers will be deployed there. The statements were reported before the Presidential elections took place. President al-Assad is attempting to use his ally’s assets to remain in power and Iran cannot afford to lose such an important strategic friend on the west coast of Arabia. Hezbollah is in the same position, for to lose the support of the current Syrian regime would mean a huge loss of logistics and money, not to mention Iran’s proxy group in the war with Israel. The West, however, would like to see al-Assad fall and with America announcing assistance this will put numerous countries against one another with Syria in the middle. China and Russia will neither support a UN ruling on a no-fly zone, nor with Russian air defenses in place will the West want to put its aircraft and pilots in any danger where they can be shot out of the sky and paraded for propaganda purposes. With Iran and Hezbollah involved directly, the conflict has spread over the borders of Syria, but how far are the tensions going to escalate and extend? The conflict is turning more into a fight from those supporting the Sunni-led rebels against the Shiite Hezbollah and Iran.
Jordan – Jordanian border guards were attacked and killed in a fire fight on the Jordan/Syrian border on June 18. Although Jordan stops others from entering Syria from its country, it is rare for this type of incident to occur. It is doubtful that this is a trend and it is possible that the Syrians were deserters although they may have been discovered attempting to enter the country in order to carry out an assassination in one of the refugee camps or training centers in the country. Another theory to explore is that they may be attempting to infiltrate the country to attack American assets that are based there.
Paul Ashley is the Senior Counter-Terrorist Analyst