Amid reports of a US plan for a military invasion of Syria under the pretext of securing the country’s chemical weapons, a top US intelligence officials has emphasized that collapse of the Syrian government would constitute “a huge strategic loss to Iran. ”
In remarks made on Thursday before the US Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of American National Intelligence James Clapper refused to publicly comment on British and French claims about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, described by US President Barack Obama as a “game changer, ” but alleged that the Damascus government “appears quite willing to use chemical weapons against its own people, ”The Los Angeles Timesreports on Friday. Making such claims appear to be part of a widely suspected US effort to prepare the grounds for a military occupation of Syria with the excuse of “securing” the country’s alleged chemical weapons. This is while the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is heading to the Middle East next week to discuss the Syrian situation and also to finalize American weapons sales to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with the stated objective of confronting what Washington claims as “the Iran threat. ”
The daily further reported on Thursday that the US military is deploying a contingent of 200 troops to Jordan’s border with Syria to prepare for a major invasion into the country, involving 20,000 American troops.
Pointing to Obama’s earlier suggestions that any use of chemical weapons by Syria would prompt a major US reaction against the country, the report cites unnamed US officials as saying that “there is no consensus within the US intelligence community about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria, ” confirming recent claims made by Britain and France. Moreover, in his remarks at the US Senate Clapper said, " We receive many claims of chemical warfare use in Syria each day, and we take them all seriously and we do all we can to investigate them. We can ' t provide additional details on these efforts in this setting to protect the fragile critical intelligence we need to assess the situation, but we certainly - we can talk about this in closed session. "
Clapper further confirmed many reports about the rising influence of the al - Qaeda - linked al - Nusra Front among opposition militant gangs fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar Al - Assad, saying that members of the group “are present in 13 of the 14 provinces… and are starting to establish municipal services, provide humanitarian aid, food, hospitals and sharia law courts. ”
“That is a great concern,” he added. Clapper, however, also expressed concerns that the foreign-backed unrest in Syria is destabilizing neighboring Jordan and Lebanon, the report says. Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence. Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.