Tuesday Feb. 21 was a bad day for the U.S. in Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan.In Afghanistan, protests against Americans who incinerated Korans at a military prison became so violent that Afghan police fired on protesters killing three people. The anger is widespread, and more than 30 people have been wounded in protests throughout the country.
Afghans are forming outside compounds filled with police, contractors, and coalition forces chanting “death to America.” This will do nothing but hurt American forces still fighting there, and make continued operations there through 2014 more difficult.
The city of Homs, with the largest governing body in Syria and the largest number of anti-Assad protesters, is getting repeatedly shelled by government forces and Tuesday the attacks killed two Western journalists.
The White House has finally admitted the situation may demand military intervention. Obama spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that while the U.S. is reluctant to further the militarization of Syria, it would not “rule out additional measures.”
When pressed Carney said “if we can’t get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures.”
Though he refused to elaborate, arming the rebels with weapons has recently been discussed and will likely be brought up Friday, when Secretary of State Clinton meets with representatives from 70 other countries in Tunisia.
This first “Friends of Syria” meeting will lay out an international response to the nearly year-long uprising. Russia will not attend the conference.
Finally, Iran has directly refused to allow IAEA nuclear inspectors into its suspected military test site at Parchin.
Tehran not only failed to allow inspectors access, it refused to resolve questions about its nuclear intentions, and declined interviews with its top scientists and military officials.
President Obama has stressed that inspections and sanctions would be used against Iran as long as possible, while insisting the U.S. would decisively prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Speculation about possible military action against Tehran is growing.
One of the more interesting reports comes from Joshua Kucera at EurasiaNet. Kucera talked to a Russian Foreign Ministry official who told him the Kremlin believes the U.S. may use its air base at Manas to launch an Iranian attack.
Located within Kyrgyzstan, officials there, and in Russia, are concerned about a retaliatory strike by Iran if the U.S. does attack from there. But with U.S. bases in Turkey, and Afghanistan, and the 5th Fleet parked in Bahrain, the Pentagon has plenty of options if it decides to move against Iran.
Watch the Reuters report about the death of the American and French journalists.
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