1000 U.S. Marines from the 24th MEU Land in Jordan
For two years now, America under Obama has drawn red lines that have been crossed and ignored by the Syria's Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. Russia has sent Syria batteries of S300 missiles comparable to the Patriot missiles, plans to ship 12 Mig 29M aircraft, and Putin has insisted all foreigners stay out of Syria as Russia, Iran and Hezbollah interfere to bolster Assad!
The NATO countries are waiting for America to make the first move, at least some indication that the USA will do something more than just complain and threaten about the Syrian civil war. Turkey has busted rebels associated with al-Qaeda planning to use two pounds of sarin gas in a terrorist attack on the country. The French have evidence that Assad has used small amounts of gas and thermobaric bombs and Iran and Hezbollah have sent over 10,000 militia and armed to bolster the Syrians and have largely cleared Damascus and other urban areas of the Free Syrian Army.
The USA has finally to stuck its toe into the border area, as if, sending a message to Russia and the others. Exercise Eager Lion 13 involves the US Marine 24th MEU is the largest recurring, annual exercise in U.S. Central Command, designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships with Jordan and others. The MEU's Battalion Landing Team, organized around 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, some 1000 troops, landed at the Jordanian port of Aqaba and ready for deployment on the Syrian border, if needed. The total number of US troops in Jordan now is 1200. The contingent of US troops also includes Patriot batteries and F-16 aircraft that will remain in Jordan after the exercise. Once landed, the heavily escorted US contingent traveled north along the Aqaba-Jerash-Ajilon mountain road bisecting Jordan from south to north. Until the American F-16 aircraft have arrived, Israeli aircraft will provide air protection.
But these troops are really not part of the exercise. The US Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor clearly made this clear to the US media, “In order to enhance the defensive posture and capacity of Jordan, some of these assets may remain beyond the exercise at the request of the government of Jordan.”
As the Syrian war intensifies, Israel has increased its deployment to more than four nationwide Arrow-2 missile batteries, to allow for repeated interception of any incoming missile. These are similar to the Patriot and have proven to be nearly 80% effective when incoming Hezbollah missiles have tried to cross into Israel. They were also effective against rockets from the Gaza fired by Hamas. The question remains what will Israel do to the S-300 systems arriving in Syria. They have vowed to attack them because they also have offensive capability. If they were attacked, Russia has threatened to directly intervene, not to mention Syria and Iran.
Elsewhere, in Qusayr, the Hezbollah has laid siege cutting off food and water supplies for the 10,000 civilians and 2,500 opposition fighters trapped in that corner of the town. At least 1.200 wounded people are without access to medical attention. The rebels outside of the city are also being pounded by Syrian aircraft and reports of them using thermobaric bombs is most disturbing because they have a "nuclear" mushroom appearance. These are not nuclear but are very destructive to all within their radius.
It seems the US is preparing the ground work for more involvement. The question is, will it be a no-fly zone, direct intervention, use of special forces only.