Arnaud de Borchgrave writes that former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal has just called for the Gulf Cooperation Council to form a united army and to begin “acquiring the nuclear might to face that of Iran.” Maybe I’m overreacting, but I don’t think he’s talking about nuclear energy.
There is a big debate in the U.S. about the wisdom of arming the Libyan rebels. Though we know for a fact that at least one rebel commander is tied to Al-Qaeda and there are reports of a Hezbollah presence, U.S. intelligence believes that Islamists are only a small part of the opposition.
It’s also leaked out to the press that President Obama has signed a presidential “finding” authorizing the CIA to assist the rebels. In related news, Qaddafi’s Foreign Minister, Musa Kusa, has defected to the U.K., making him the highest official to switch sides yet. Kusa has long been said to have had a productive relationship with the CIA and he is reported to have been instrumental in Qaddafi’s decision to give up his WMDs, which would explain why his assets haven’t been frozen.
One of the biggest arguments against intervention in Libya has been the financial cost. Wired Magazine raises the question of whether contractors should be used to support the rebels instead of taxpayer money. This is a highly controversial proposal because it raises images of independent companies acting as guns-for-hire around the globe, but with the U.S. in such debt, it should at least be discussed (along with proper regulations). The U.S. cannot afford to be isolationist and withdrawn from these conflicts, but it can’t financially afford significant involvement either.
Some significant developments happened today in Syria as well. There are estimates that up to 25 people have died in Latakia today. Click here for very graphic video of the clashes today.
According to the Reform Party of Syria, a Kurdish website “central to their cause” called Soparo is calling on Kurds to join in the uprising. If this happens, the situation will dramatically escalate. Think of how much trouble the Kurds, with only 10 percent of the population, have caused Assad in the past.
RPS also reports that the 18-member religious High Council of the Allawites has sent a delegation to the regime to express its dissatisfaction. The organization warns that the Assad regime might try to instigate sectarian warfare in Latakia, a city of 700,000 (400,000 Sunnis and 300,000 Allawites).