Saturday, May 31, 2008

Iran And Syria Strengthen Ties With Defense Pact, Integrated Missile Command

Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Ali Turkmani and IRG commander Mohammad Ali Jafari

While we were concentrating on important things like "Sex in the City" , American Idol and the NBA playoffs, a major development has occured that pretty much went under the radar.

The Bush Administration has been fantasizing about separating Syria from its alliance from Iran for some time now, even to the extent of allowing Syria's Hezbollah allies to take over Lebanon with hardly a murmur. As I mentioned earlier, for all of the president's very appropriate remarks on the fallacy of appeasement at the Knesset last week,the Bush Administration is in a somewhat poor position to point fingers when it comes to appeasement.

And as you know, I'm reasonably sure that Israel's talks with Syria have actually been negotiations on the Bush Administration's behalf about the price for prying Syria away from the Islamic Republic, since Israel has nothing Syria wants but the strategic Golan Heights and Olmert is in no political position to give it to them.

So the only real reason for Israeli and Syrian talks would be back channel haggling on America's behalf over a price for the US to pull Syria out of Iran's orbit, since the Bush Administration can't afford politically to approach Syria directly.

Some recent events have shown exactly how badly this particular colored balloon popped against the hard edge of reality.

For starters, just around the time the talks with Israel leaked out, the Syrians showed up in Moscow with $5 billion to spend courtesy of Iran on SOTA Russian armaments. Syria's military delegation, led by General Akhmad Ratyb, was especially interested in upgrading Syria's air force and air defense capabilities.

Among the items reportedly on Syria's shopping list were the latest model of the Russian Iskander-E, a surface-to-surface tactical missile; fifty of the latest MiG-29SMT fighter-bombers; some additional Pantsyr S1E air defense missile systems;a large batch of Strelets short-range anti-air missiles, which can be fired from a vehicle or shoulder launched; and 75 Yak-130 short range combat planes,which would chiefly be useful in defending Syrian armor from Israel's Cobra and Blackhawk choppers.

This is particularly interesting in view of the Bush Administration's request that the IAEA 'look again' to ferret out two more illegal Syrian nuclear sites it claims to have intel on. Or more precisely, two more sites the Israeli Mossad has knowledge of and passed on to the US.

The dots are pretty easily connected..Syria doesn't want these two nuke sites to end up a flaming crater in the desert like the other one did,and the Assad regime is going to purchase some military hardware with Iran's money in an effort to make sure they don't.

In another related development, Syria and Iran signed a new mutual defense pact this last week that provides for an operational merger of Syrian and Iranian missile forces under the command of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps...who also have control of Iran's nuclear weapons facilities. Under the agreement, Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers are to be attached to Syrian units and Syrian officers posted to the Iranian command.The new missile command was announced by the IRGC commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari.

Hezbollah's takeover of Lebanon also brings its missile arsenal into the mix as well.

This is a particularly ominous development for both the US and Israel once it's fully implemented. From Israel's standpoint, it means they now face a threat from a unified missile command on three separate fronts, from Iran, Syria and Lebanon...four if you also count Hamas in Gaza, who are being supplied by Iran with Grad and katushya missiles. And in the event of a war, I would hardly expect Israel's 'peace partners' in Fatah on the West Bank to stay out of the jihad against the Jews.

Even more ominous - and to my mind, a much more likely scenario than an outright missile attack, at least as an opening move - is a suicide nuke handed off by Iran and Syria and detonated inside one of Israel's cities by a Hezbollah or Palestinian terrorist.

From the standpoint of the United States, this new alignment means that the US will have to face threats on its forces in Iraq from two directions, and that any US deterrence aimed at Iran will also have to target Syria..since Iranian Revolutionary Guards will be manning the Syrian installations, Basher Assad's regime will not simply 'sit it out' even if it wanted to.

And like Israel, the US also faces the threat of a nuclear device exploded within its territory by one of the many Hezbollah cells already inside the US, probably smuggled over our porous southern border.

And aside from once again exposing the stupidity of trying to bribe or appease regimes like Iran and Syria, this latest development points out that Condi Rice and the Bush Administration made a serious error in pushing for a hurried Lebanon cease fire that left Hezbollah intact and armed.

The recent Doha accord mediated by the Arab League that essentially turned Lebanon over to Hezbollah without any American reaction was seen throughout the Arab world as a victory for the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas axis and a major defeat for the US. In this part of the world, the perception of weakness is everything, and the surrender of Lebanon to Hezbollah sent a message to both our friends and our enemies.

Iran has been working diligently over the past year to strengthen its ties with the Arab world, and with no little success. One of the things on the table has been an Iranian proposition for a mutual defense pact with the Arab League members.

The debacle in Lebanon, the perception of US weakness and this new alignment of forces between Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas are not going to go unnoticed....and Iran and Syria can be depended on to underline it.

As a matter of fact, as I write this, Syria's Basher Assad is in Abu Dhabi in the UAE for talks with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, after which he's headed for another US ally, Kuwait. in The visits were set up for Assad by another US ally, the Qatari ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who was instrumentals in setting up the Doha agreement that turned Lebanon over to Hezbollah and sent US ally Fuad Siniora into exile.

Once again - in this part of the world, the perception of strength and weakness is everything. Thus far, both the United States and Israel have given the appearance of weakness, and it has not gone unnoticed.

The bill for this negligence has been put off for quite some time. While it's still possible for it to be paid off relatively cheaply, the longer it goes unpaid the more expensive it will be.


JB said...

"Iran's nuclear weapons facilities" = FALLACY VOID OF FACT.. which renders most of remaining article suspect at best.

Freedom Fighter said...

Perhaps you could tell us why Iran has a heavy water facility located at Arak who's only possible application is military?

And while you're at it, perhaps you can explain why Iran hid its nuclear program for over a decade, in violation of the IAEA treaty it signed?