Chaos and confusion in the Middle East is not really that unusual. However, chaos and confusion in the Middle East that is being caused by, or at minimum exacerbated by, the US, is something that gets my attention- especially when that chaos could lead to a new shooting war.
First, I will start with what is known for sure. On Wednesday, October 30, 2013, an air defense base in the Syrian port of Latakia, was attacked from the air. Reports say that Russian SA-125 Neva/Pechora and SA-8 Gecko/Dgreen mobile missiles/launchers were at the base and that those missiles, and other related equipment were being transferred to Hezbollah.
From this point on, the chaos and confusion starts. There is something weird with this tale and the nations involved. There are parts of this whole mess that seem out of pattern or out of character at best- at worst there is another story here or "something else going on" altogether.
After the Port of Latakia gets hit, Syria basically does nothing. In fact, they seem to downplay the entire attack. The Dam Press, loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad says, "Yes, Latakia was hit- but no one was hurt.” That has been the response so far from Syria. To give some background, Israel has bombed, or is believed to have bombed, locations in Syria in January 2013 and May 2013. After this bombing, Syria just shrugs off the attack. That might be a little weird, but maybe Assad has a bit too much on his plate right now, with is country being in a civil war, the world accusing him of using chemical weapons on his people, the UN wanting destruction of the chemical weapons. A non-response type response may be the best thing for him to do. I can buy into Syria doing nothing for now.
After the attack the confusion and likely disinformation begins. There are reports on Lebanese TV saying, Turkey was behind the attack. “Ankara acted in response to a downed Turkish jet [and death of pilots] from last year." Perhaps this might be plausible- but the Lebanese TV source? An unnamed Israeli official- and the report could not be independently confirmed. Why would Beirut run an unconfirmed report from anonymous Israeli Officials that points to Turkey?
Now the fun REALLY begins. An unnamed White House source says, Yes, Israel did it! The United States, long known to be Israel’s strongest ally, throws Israel under the bus in front of the entire world- supposedly because the White House did not want the world to have the impression that the US knew about or sanctioned the attack.
Yet, at the same time we are sticking it to our friends from the White House, US Secretary of Defense Hagel announces in an address to the Anti-Defamation League in New York, that the US will be providing Israel with six V-22 Osprey's- and the order will be EXPEDITED. The next six Osprey’s to hit the assembly line will go to Israel- moving ahead of an existing US Marine Corp order—The Marines will get their Osprey’s later.
So now we have the US leaking potentially damaging information about Israel one minute and announcing expedited sales of military aircraft the next. Yes, I know that there is, perhaps, a certain level of animosity between "Our Great Leader, HRH Barack Hussein Obama (Peace be upon him)" and Israel. I also know that SecDef is not known to be a supporter of Israel- but a leak to damage relations in the Middle East at the same time as an announcement of expedited military aircraft??? This is getting "ODD" here.
The next “out of character” response/reaction comes from the Israeli press reporting Israel is furious with the US leak- again from unnamed sources. Why is that odd? Because Israel does not usually acknowledge that the type of action they are accused of ever happened! At worst they deny everything. Other times when they have been accused by the world of covert action- like in the case of the assassination/mysterious death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai- Israel just says nothing—no leaks, no hints—nothing. The fact that even "unnamed officials" are saying "we are furious at the US leak" is significant by itself!
Just when you thought this all may be over, another country is denying everything. Turkey is denying “reports claiming [they] gave Israel 'critical intelligence' prior to [Israel's] alleged strike” in Latakia. What is really interesting, is they are denying they gave Israel ‘critical intelligence’—at stressing how great a relationship they have with IRAN.
At this point, it looks like the only country not making accusations or denials is Syria—and they are the country that was attacked.
Something odd is going on in the Middle East and the White House has pushed the US right into the middle of it, while shoving our closest ally in the region away from us. The Big Picture is not clear. I am certain there is more data and information that is not public yet and that this crisis is not over. Events this complex, controversial, dangerous and chaotic don't just happen on accident. Something is happening and I am sure the next part of it will be "interesting"- whatever it turns out to be.