Syria Fires Scud Missiles at Insurgents, U.S. Says
[NY Times] Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have fired Scud missiles at rebel fighters in recent days, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday.
Assuming the report is true, it's not surprising. Iran and Iraq had a good time Scudding each other during their eight-year-war, and then Sammy had a good time popping them off in the early '90s, at the Zionist Entity® and Soddy Arabia. Using Scuds is a mark of Islamic manliness.
I get that you can Scud an opposing nation-state, but Scudding insurgents? Isn't that like using a blunderbuss to kill the proverbial pesky insect?
The move represents a significant escalation in the fighting, which has already killed more than 40,000 civilians in a nearly two-year-old conflict that has threatened to destabilize the Middle East, and suggests increased desperation on the part of the Assad government.
Not an unexpected escalation, mind you. Although Pencilneck does take the prize for being the first govt to Scud its own people. Even Hitler didn't think of that one.
One American official, who asked not to be identified because he was discussing classified information,
... in which case he shoulda kept his fat trap shut...
said that missiles had been fired from the Damascus area at targets in northern Syria.
That'd be the Damascus areas where Pencilneck's Fuehrerbunker's located and the areas in northern Syria where the rebels have kicked him out.
"The total number is probably north of six now," said another American official, adding that the targets were in areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army, the main armed insurgent group.
It kinda stands to reason, doesn't it?
It is not clear how many casualties resulted from the attacks by the Scuds -- a class of Soviet-era missiles made famous by Saddam Hussein of Iraq during the first Persian Gulf war. But it appeared to be the first time that the Assad government had fired the missiles at targets inside Syria.
Where have they fired them outside of Syria? Who the hell writes this stuff?
American officials did not say how they had monitored the missile firings,
Probably the usual ways. They work pretty well.
but American intelligence has been closely following developments in Syria through aerial surveillance and other methods, partly out of concern that Mr. Assad may resort to the use of chemical weapons in the conflict.
Sammy resorted to them at Halabja and the Kurds weren't even about to do a Mussolini on him...
The Obama administration views the Assad government's use of Scud missiles as a "significant escalation" of the conflict,
No! Re-e-e-e-eally?
said a senior official. It also shows, he said, the increasing pressure on Mr. Assad, since Scuds are primarily defensive weapons, being used by the government offensively against a counterinsurgency.
How are Scuds "defensive" weapons? V1's and V2's were used WWII because the Germans were burning through a lot of air crews to stomp Britain to rubble. But I don't see that as "defensive." I'd call them theater weapons. In Soviet doctrine they were held at field army level.
"Using Scuds to target tanks or military bases is one thing," the official said,
Targeting tanks with Scuds is something I doubt we'll ever see. For one thing, it'd be overkill. "Military bases" is another matter. I think "populated areas" is the usual target.
Though for the North Koreans a large patch of ocean would do...
speaking on condition of anonymity. "Using them to target rebels hiding in playgrounds at schools is something else."
He means that using them as normally used is something else, no saying of what.
Forgive me, please, for interjecting, but isn't hiding your fighting men in civilian areas like school playgrounds a heinous war crime or something? And if horrible things happen to the civilians in said area, isn't that the fault of the military people using them as human shields, not the military people who shot through them to get at the bad guys?
Among other repercussions the Obama administration fears is the possibility that Mr. Assad's military could fire Scuds near, or over, the border with Turkey,
... which would, in a logical world, lead to a declaration of war by the Turks...
which has become one of the Syrian president's most ardent foes. That could result in Turkey firing its Patriot antimissile batteries, the administration official said.
Firing Patriot missiles? Oh, noze!... Ummm... That's what they're designed for, fer Cat's sake!
Military experts said that move might reflect the Assad government's worries that its aircraft have been vulnerable to rebel air defenses. In recent weeks, rebel forces have captured Syrian military bases, seized air-defense weapons and used some of them to fire at Syria warplanes. But one expert said that the government may have decided to use large missiles in order to wipe out military bases -- and the arsenals they hold -- that had been taken over by the opposition.
And when Scud units fall to the rebels? Wonder what happens then?
Posted by: Fred 2012-12-12