Monday, May 27, 2013

An Arizona Yankee in King Bashar's Court

This is irresistable. The plot line to Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court seems perfect. The novel is a satirical comedy that looks at 6th-Century England and its medieval culture through the eyes of Hank Morgan, a 19th-century resident of Hartford, Connecticut, who, after a blow to the head, awakens to find himself inexplicably transported back in time to early medieval England at the time of the legendary King Arthur. The fictional Mr. Morgan, who had an image of that time that had been colored over the years by romantic myths, takes on the task of analyzing the problems and sharing his knowledge from 1300 years in the future to modernize, Americanize, and improve the lives of the people.

Exclusive: John McCain Slips Across Border Into Syria, Meets With Rebels
May 27, 2013 12:36 PM EDT

The leaders of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army told the senator they want the U.S. to provide arms, a no-fly zone, and strikes on Hezbollah. Josh Rogin reports.

Sen. John McCain Monday became the highest-ranking U.S. official to enter Syria since the bloody civil war there began over two years ago, The Daily Beast has learned.

McCain, one of the fiercest critics of the Obama administration’s Syria policy made the unannounced visit across the Turkey-Syria border with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. He stayed in the country for several hours before returning to Turkey. Both in Syria and Turkey, McCain and Idris met with assembled leaders of Free Syrian Army units that traveled from around the country to see the U.S. senator. Inside those meetings, rebel leaders called on the United States to step up its support to the Syrian armed opposition and provide them with heavy weapons, a no-fly zone, and airstrikes on the Syrian regime and the forces of Hezbollah, which is increasing active in Syria.

Idris praised the McCain visit and criticized the Obama administration’s Syria policy in an exclusive interview Monday with The Daily Beast.

“The visit of Senator McCain to Syria is very important and very useful especially at this time,” he said. “We need American help to have change on the ground; we are now in a very critical situation.”

Fighting across Syria has increased in recent weeks, with new regime offensives in several key areas, such as Damascus and the strategic border town of Qusayr. Thousands of soldiers serving Hezbollah—the Lebanon-based and Iran- and Syria-backed stateless army—have joined the fight in support of the regime, as the civil war there has threatened to ignite a region-wide conflagration and amid new reports of chemical weapons attacks by forces loyal to embattled president Bashar al-Assad this week that might cross President Obama’s “red line” for the conflict.

McCain’s visit came as the Obama administration is once again considering an increase of support to the Syrian opposition, while at the same time pushing the opposition council to negotiate with the regime at an international conference in Geneva in early June.

“What we want from the U.S. government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” Idris said. “Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria.” 
[More at the link.] 

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