Top Links: McCain’s Syria visit, possible Russian missile sales just two more examples of a civil war turning ‘cold’

Updated
Sen. John McCain visits Syrian rebel leaders Monday.
Sen. John McCain visits Syrian rebel leaders Monday.
Syrian Emergency Task Force via @lizobagy

Top Story: The Syrian Civil War is showing traits of a cold war as Sen. John McCain visits rebels, the EU arms embargo ends and Hezbollah and Russia throw in for Assad.

  • John McCain spent several hours in Syria Monday, meeting with leaders from the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. (The Daily Beast)
  • And here’s a picture from that meeting. (Elizabeth O’Bagy)
  • “Nothing quite like finding out via twitter that my father secretly snuck into Syria and met with rebel leaders.” (Meghan McCain)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham: “Best wishes to @SenJohnMcCain in Syria today. If he doesn’t make it back calling dibs on his office.” (Lindsey Graham)
  • “Who’s looking fwd to the ‘I was in Syria, my friends’ Senate floor speech from @SenJohnMcCain” (Steven Dennis)
  • This visit comes on the heels of two big developments in the Syrian Civil War. First, the European Union could not reach agreement on a new arms embargo. That means more weapons for the rebels, which in turn may mean Russia sells anti-aircraft missile to its ally, Syria — and that, in turn, could endanger next month’s scheduled peace conference. (The New York Times) and (NPR)
  • “EU lifts arms embargo on Syria as Russia sells missile batteries to Assad. Who said the era of proxy wars was over?” (Christopher Mims)
  • The second big development is that, over the weekend, the head of Hezbollah made it official: The group has entered the war to protect their (read: Iran’s) interests. (Associated Press)
  • “This battle is ours… and I promise you victory,” says Hassan Nasrallah. (BBC)
  • Hezbollah is helping in a key fight, for the city of Qusair. (The Washington Post)
  • It’s location is important to both sides: For rebels, it provides a link to Lebanon and for Assad, a link to supporters on the coast. (The Guardian)
  • Reporters working for Le Monde report they’ve witnessed chemical weapons attacks by Assad’s forces first hand. (Le Monde)
  • Of course, while “chemical weapons” may grab the headlines it’s the sectarian massacres that are racking up the largest body count. (Reuters)
  • An excellent article on the Saudi/Qatar division supporting different factions of Syrian rebels. The Saudis are supporting the (relatively) more moderate camp because “in the past, when the Saudis have backed ultraconservative Islamist militants … they have also experienced blowback domestically.” (Time)

Top Links: McCain’s Syria visit, possible Russian missile sales just two more examples of a civil war turning ‘cold’

Updated