He's leaving. Senegalese Lt. General Babacar Gaye replaces him. His mandate runs 30 days. What follows isn't known. Half the original observer force left. Perhaps evacuating them all is planned.
On the eve of war with Iraq, UN weapons inspectors were removed. They had enough time to discover no WMDs. It didn't matter. On March 19, 2003 (March 20 Baghdad time), shock and-awe bombing began.
Perhaps it's planned for Syria. It could start in weeks or sooner.
On July 27, a Reuters story perhaps suggests something is planned. Headlined "Exclusive: Secret Turkish nerve center leads aid to Syrian rebels," it says:
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar "set up a secret base (to) direct vital military communications aid to Syria's rebels from a city near the border, Gulf sources told Reuters."
It's in or near Adana. It's about 60 miles from Syria's border. Incirlik air base is there. US and Turkish forces use it jointly. It's not clear if the nerve center is within or outside Incirlik.
Turkey serves as "mail co-ordinator/facilitator." It's America's main regional attack dog. Prime Minister Erdogan takes orders from Washington. He's a shameless imperial tool. He was earlier against Gaddafi.
Reuters said Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supplying weapons cross-border. Washington and Israel are very much involved. So are other key NATO partners and regional states.
Reuters also said Washington drafted another resolution. It authorizes "greater covert assistance." It claims it stops short of providing arms. Resolutions aren't needed for that purpose.
At this stage, circumventing the Security Council is likely. An unnamed EU official expects Assad to hang tough and fight. Why not. Syrian forces way outclass insurgent death squads.
At the same time, body counts mount. Death squad terror rages.
The US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984) calls it "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature. This is done through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear."
The US Code calls "international terrorism" activities involving:
(A) "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;"
(B) are intended to -
(i) "intimidate or coerce a civilian population;