Friday, September 6, 2013

Obama expanding Syrian target list

TIME: At a Sept. 6 press conference, President Obama has described the Times report as “inaccurate.” Read more here.

The Pentagon is apparently developing an expanded list of potential targets in Syria after receiving intelligence that President Bashar Assad has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons.

The New York Times reports that President Barack Obama has ordered military chiefs to concentrate on “degrading” the chemical-weapons capabilities of Assad.

That involves expanding upon the 50 or so initial sites identified with French forces before the decision to seek congressional approval was taken on Saturday.

Any strike would not be directly aimed at chemical stockpiles — as that would carry the risk of releasing toxic agents — but rather at army units designated with their storage and preparation, as well as at Syria’s military top brass.

NSA intercepts order for Shiite militia to attack American Embassy in Baghdad

An Iranian order intercepted by the NSA instructs Shiite militia groups in Iraq to attack the American Embassy in Baghdad should the U.S. strike Syria, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The intercepted message reportedly came from the head of Iran's Qods Force, a paramilitary arm of the country's Revolutionary Guards. The order directs militias to prepare to respond with force should the U.S. attack the Bashar Assad regime, Iran's ally.
The Associated Press also reported Friday that Iranian-backed Shiite militias are threatening retaliation inside Iraq, citing Iraqi security officials and Shiite militants.
Iraqi officials say they are taking the warnings seriously. The threats, which come as President Barack Obama's administration and Congress debate possible military action over the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons, risk exacerbating an increasingly deteriorating security environment inside Iraq.
Cleric Wathiq al-Batat, who leads the Mukhtar Army, a shadowy Iranian-backed militia, said his forces are preparing for a strong reaction against the interests of the U.S. and other countries that take part in any Syria strike. He claimed that militants have selected hundreds of potential targets, which could include both official American sites and companies "associated with the Americans."
Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an Iranian-backed hard-line faction that also carried out deadly attacks against U.S. troops before their withdrawal, said in a statement this week that action against Syria "will set the region on fire. The interests of the Western countries will not be saved from this fire."
A senior Asaib Ahl al-Haq official said multiple armed groups within Iraq are "fully prepared to respond to any strike on Syria by attacking the interests of the countries that participate in this strike, including the United States," although he declined to specify any potential targets.
The Asaib Ahl al-Haq official, who refused to be identified, fearing retribution, said the militias are awaiting instructions from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the timing and method of any attacks.

Syria- US's plan of attack larger than first thought


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