US, Iranian forces converge on Syria

Some 5,000 US troops are in Jordan this week to participate in the multi-national exercise dubbed Eager Lion. The US forces include an Army unit with a Patriot missile battery, and the Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group 5. Other participating nations include the UK, France, Canada, Turkey, Bahrain, Iraq, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Although the Pentagon insists the maneuvers have nothing to do with the conflict in neighboring Syria, it comes as Iran is reportedly sending 4,000 Revolutionary Guards to support President Bashar Assad in the fight against opposition forces. (Al-Arabiya, PKKH, June 16; Stars & Stripes, June 12; US Army press release, June 11)



North Korean advisors in Syria?

This is great. Israel's YNet reported June 3 that North Korean military advisors have been dispatched to Syria.  In an interview with London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Syrian human rights activist Rami Abed A-Rachman said that the number of North Korean officers in Syria is unknown, but there are definitely between 11 and 15 Arabic-speaking North Korean officers in Aleppo. (We've noted before reports of nuclear cooperation between Syria and North Korea.)

So if Assad, from a rival wing of the Baath Party, is the new Saddam Hussein, the entire Axis of Evil has now converged on Syria...