SYRIAN DEFECTION – AT 9:37 A.M. ET: The most important governmental defection thus far has occurred in Syria, as fighting within the country intensifies. This could indicate a judgment on the part of the defector that the regime is almost finished. From WaPo:
ANTAKYA, Turkey — Syria’s prime minister defected to Jordan on Monday, according to news reports, becoming the most senior official yet to quit the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.
A statement read on the al-Jazeera Arabic news channel that was attributed to Prime Minister Riyad al-Hijab said he had resigned to protest his government’s harsh tactics as it tries to crush the country’s rebellion, which started nearly 17 months ago.
“I am announcing that I am defecting from this regime, which is a murderous and terrorist regime,” the statement said. “I join the ranks of this dignified revolution.”
Reuters news service quoted an unnamed Jordanian government official confirming that Hijab had defected and taken refuge there.
Syrian state television, however, reported that Hijab had been fired, less than two months after he was appointed to the job.
Hijab’s departure followed an accelerating stream of defections from Syria’s armed forces, including that of Maj. Gen. Manaf Tlas, a former confidant and close friend of Assad’s who fled to Turkey a month ago, then went to France to join his father, a once-powerful former defense minister.
COMMENT: Syria, a critical Arab country, and Iran's closest Arab ally, is in chaos. Yesterday, Senators McCain and Graham once again warned that our inaction regarding the Syrian crisis could have severe consequences for us down the line. But no one seems to be listening. Re-electing the president appears to be the only priority at the White House.
August 6, 2012