In essence, Syria has become not just a gruesome civil war, but also a proxy war with significant global implications — with the United States, Israel, and like-minded Arab states who seek Assad’s ouster on one side, and Russia, Iran, and terrorist groups like Hezbollah who seek his survival on the other.
If so, Assad’s survival in defiance of widespread expectations and U.S. desires will position Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah as regional “strong horses.” And it will nourish a growing sense in the region and elsewhere that the U.S. has become a decidedly “weak horse,” unable to shape events and, worse, unlikely to spend much energy trying.
America Plays The ‘Weak Horse’ In Syria
There are two levels to think about:
Rebels – Worse than Assad, but no strategic alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. They will likely push for Sharia law once they take over. Perhaps there will be an eventual alliance with Turkey. And Turkey is a key player to watch in the future. Everybody wants to bring back historical greatness in some form: Persian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Chinese Empire, Soviet Union, … . Eventually, I would expect the Rebels to go against Israel.
Assad – Not as bad as the rebels, but has a strategic alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. Also, Russia is a backer. So there is the potential to do a lot more damage to Israel in the future.
There are no good answers here. There are only bad answers and worse answers. In a sick sort of way, keeping the civil war going may be the best option for the West. Obviously, that is not a good option for the Syrian people but neither are the other options.
FoxNews–The U.S. Army listed Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism along with Al Qaeda and Hamas during a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania, Fox News has learned.
“We find this offensive to have Evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church to be listed among known terrorist groups,” said Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization.”
Answering Muslims: U.S. Military Lists Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, and Islamophobia as Forms of Religious Extremism Alongside Terrorist Groups
Does this inspire confidence in the US military? Please read my rules on modern liberalism on my About page. Since no culture or religion is better or worse and any other, the modern liberal must find corresponding Christian terrorist groups. It is just not possible that Islam could be different than Christianity.
Islamists are really revolutionary Islamo-Bolsheviks intent on imposing their government (Islamic government) and laws (Sharia law) across the world. There is no corresponding Christianist.
“He’s not bluffing at all,” says Maj Gen (ret) Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council. “He believes if, at the end of the day all other options are exhausted – and there are only two options: either get used to nuclear weapons in Iran or try to stop it by Israeli means – then he will prefer the second.”
“When we were planning Osirak, we believed the operation would put back [Iraq's nuclear programme] by three or four years,” says Dr Shmuel Bar, Director of Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya.
“Actually it put it back by 10 years – so you never really know when you shuffle cards what the results are going to be. So from the point of view of criticism that Israel won’t do it because Israel can only do so much damage, I think that’s a misconception.”
BBC News – Iran crisis: Would Israel launch an attack?
If Israel shuffles the deck of cards, then Iran’s allies (Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas) may retaliate with a massive missile attack. I hope Israel is ready for this. It’s window of opportunity is closing fast – the end of spring or possibly summer in 2013.
However, debkafile’s Iranian and intelligence sources believe the Iranians are simply playing for time to decide how to retaliate for Israel’s reported strike on the military complex which Syria shares with its allies. The man to watch is Jalilee who, we can report exclusively, arrived post haste in Damascus Saturday, Feb. 2, to warn Syrian leaders that Tehran is not willing to forego a military response to an attack which destroyed a whole supply of advanced Iranian weapons Tehran sent to Hizballah in the last two years and which were stored at the Jamraya compound.
The Syrian ruler clearly agrees with his Iranian guest. …
Iran, Syria and Hizballah must now decide on the nature of their reprisal, set up the operation and assign forces for its implementation, while taking into account Israel’s options for a counter-response.
Barak: Assad’s fall is imminent. Jalili, Assad weigh reprisal for Israel
This report suggests that retaliation is probably coming. Syria may activate the secret mutual defense pact consisting of Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas. High on the list for retaliation is a coordinated missile attack on all of Israel.
I probably don’t need to remind you that things could escalate wildly out of control depending on the method of retaliation. Personally, I think a nuclear response from Israel is entirely possible depending on the use of chemical weapons.
Just a friendly reminder that if Israel does use nuclear weapons, then the clock starts ticking for nuclear retaliation on America from Russia and China. I have covered the theory, history and current events as to why this is entirely possible. I should probably put together another post where I lay out these items. My “About” page has some of the material.