Monday, May 06, 2013

Israel Tips The Scales Against Assad In The Syrian War

After this weekend' strikes by Israel on Syria's chemical weapons sites, military installations and on a missile shipment bound for Hezbollah, Syria's regime is signalling it may declare war on Israel.

Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi said in his press conference today that the raids 'open the door wide to all possibilities.'

(courtesy of Iran's state-run propaganda outlet PRESS TV)

In a similar statement, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad told CNN the strike was "a declaration of war" by Israel and represented an alliance between Islamic terrorists and Israel.

Is Basher Assad thinking seriously of declaring war against Israel?You'd think he has enough troubles.
He apparently is making a try to get the other Arab League nations back on his side by uniting them against the Jews. But again, this is in many ways a Sunni versus Shi'ite fight, and Qatar and the Saudis are bankrolling the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda Sunni rebels.While Assad got a pro forma condemnation, that's all he got.

What I think actually has happened is that President Obama, stuck over what to do in view of his embarrassingly vanishing 'red lines' asked the Israelis to tip the scales against Assad and solve the problem for him, and at least one of my notorious Lil' Birdies intimated that this is exactly what went down.

Which means that when President Obama and the U.S. State Department claimed that they had no warning of the Israeli attacks, they were out and out lying, but then that's nothing new.

The problem was that Assad was starting to win this war and the tides were shifting against the rebels.

Assad's forces were gradually pushing them back and retaking territory the rebels controlled. And the recapture of Oteibeh, the chief depot for arms coming in  from Jordan for the rebels by Assad's forces a few days ago,  was a major strategic loss.

Meanwhile, Assad's allies, Hezbollah and Iran were pouring in fresh troops and arms to bolster the regime. The rebels have been unable to take Damascus or Aleppo and the attrition of their fighters was starting to tell. At worst, Assad had achieved a stalemate and appeared to be turning the tide...until now.

The strikes on Syria not only took out a shipment of Hezbollah-bound advanced Iranian missiles, but were also directed at Syria's chemical weapons facility in Jamraya..which coincidentally just happens to contain numerous Syrian military bases, including the headquarters of Assad's elite Fourth Infantry Division, commanded by his brother Maher, as well as al-Hamah, where the command of the Republican Guard, one of the government’s elite forces, is located.

New reports from my sources indicate that the Syrians suffered heavy military casualties:

The Israelis obviously have no preferred outcome in this fight. Assad's Syria is an ally of Hezbollah and Iran and a conduit for Iranian weaponry, while the al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood dominated rebels are certainly no friends of Israel's either.

And it's also obvious that they took out these facilities and the missiles for their own self-interest.But those raids could have been done a lot more surgically and with less casualties for Assad. So it also appears they may have conveniently tipped the scales in favor of the insurgents, whom President Obama is backing. If you remember, something similar happened in Libya when the president's favored Muslim Brotherhood/al-Qaeda allies looked to be getting their collective clocks cleaned by Moamar Khadaffi's forces in Benghazi.

In that case, President Obama had the U.S. military do the job, using air power to destroy Khaddaffi's forces so the jihadi insurgents could survive and win. This time, he appears to have used the Israelis.
who undoubtedly got or will get something for cooperation.

UPDATE: My Lil' Birdie's sarlier intelto me that the Syrians suffered high military casualties is now conformed officially.


B.Poster said...

"Is Assad seriously thinking of declaring war against Israel?" I'd say so. At least the thinking is that the Sunni/Al Qaeda factions and the Hezbollah/Iranian factions hate America and Israel more than they hate one another and that this hatred combined with a declaration of war against Israel would be sufficient to unite all factions against a common enemy and take the heat off of Assad and his government.

With regards to both factions hating America and Israel more than they hate each other he is quite correct. Is this hatred sufficient at this time to unite the factions. I'd say more than likely yes but it may require time to tell.

"The Israelis obviously have no preferred outcome in this fight. Assad's Syria is an ally of Hezbollah and Iran a conduit for Iranian weaponry, while the al-Qaeda dominated rebels are certainly no friend of Israel's either." If the words "Israelis" amd "Israel's" were removed from this sentence and replaced by "Americans" and "America's" the statement would be equally accurate. It does lead me to wonder had America and its leaders not so stupidly or malicously wandered into something they did not understand or have any business meddling in would this action by Israel have been necessary.

While the raids possibly could have been done more surgically, successful war efforts should not be pretty, clean, or surgical. Engaging war in this manner only ensures the enemy survives longer and we spend more precious resources and it costs us more lives and probably ends up costing more lives on both sides because the war goes on longer than it otherwise would.

As I recall from my studies when the US firebombed Tokyo during WWII, much of the city became a raging inferno and hundreds of thousands were killed. A simillar thing happened with Dresden in Nazi Germany. These soldiers and weapons depots that were attacked posed/pose a far greater threat to America than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan ever did or ever could have.

While Israel likely acted in its own interest, the destruction of these facilities, missles, and soldiers also serves our interest as well. If Mr. Obama encouraged Israel to do this, it may have been one of the few smart moves he's made. Had America tried to carry this out it is unlikely it would have been successful, as American pilots do not have the flying skills or the technological savy to penetrate Syrian air defenses and it is even less likely the Americans have good intel on where these weapons are/were. Also, direct American involvement risks getting the Russians involved which would be unhelpful to say the least.

I'm not sure what the US could give Israel for its cooperation. Furthermore how would Israel ensure compliance. This is the problem America has with agreements made with foreign powers. How do you ensure enforcement? Since America faces ofen intense and hostile scrutiny, American compliance is assured. The other side does not face this kind of scrutiny. Unfortunately much of the media and government elite would love to see Israel harmed. As such, the Americans will not receive the hostile scrutiny we normally receive.

How does Israel ensure Mr. Obama follows through on any promises he may have made? Hopefully the Israelis worked this out and have a mechanism in place to account for this.

Finally, I find it hard to imagine how one or a few raids over a night or two could possibly make much of a difference to change the balance of power. I'd think it would take much more than that. If Israel had intel on where these weapons were, it would make sense to take them out. Given the situation, it would not be "if" but "when" that these weapons would have fallen into the hands of those who would have used them agains Israel or America. Again, can't help but wonder would any of this have been necessary had Mr. Obama and the US government not so stupidly or maliciously blundered into this situation.

John said...

Syria has been in a state of war with Israel for decades, so it cannot complain if Israel does what it calls 'an act of war'.