Powered by WebAds

Monday, May 06, 2013

Did Israel just tip the war against Assad?

Did Israel's massive strike on Damascus Saturday night bring about the end of the Assad regime? It may yet.

Over the weekend, Jonathan Spyer wrote a piece in the JPost in which he argued that Assad is actually winning the war, and seems likely to be around for a long time. The article included the following.
Damascus remains a fearsome prospect for any rebel force wishing to enter it. The regime has assembled a huge array of artillery and missile systems on Mount Qassioun, a strategically vital area of high ground over the city.
The regime has also entrenched its most loyal and able fighters, including the Republican Guards, the 4th Armored Division, elements of the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Alawite paramilitaries trained by Iran in the city. Regime forces last week recaptured Otaiba, a town east of Damascus, which formed a crucial link for rebels seeking to bring weaponry and ammunition from the Jordanian border to the eastern suburbs of the capital.
Hezbollah fighters operating on behalf of the regime in the eastern part of the country and backed by regime air power have driven the rebels back in the Qusayr area in central Homs province. In so doing, they have ensured that the vital Damascus- Homs highway remains open (though with heavy losses, according to reports).
As of now, the rebel Farouq Brigade has prevented Hezbollah’s entry into Qusayr City, and the fighting remains intense. But the regime’s rallying has taken place not only on the battlefields.
Assad has from the outset possessed a clear narrative of the conflict, according to which his regime is facing attack from an alliance of jihadi “terrorists.”
The irony of this version of events is rich, given that the dictatorship in the not-at-all-distant past made ample use of Sunni jihadi clients, employing them to destabilize neighboring Iraq – where the regime allowed a steady stream of foreign jihadis to use Damascus airport as an entry point to the region, on their way to take part in the Sunni insurgency against the US – and Lebanon, where the regime sponsored the Fatah al-Islam group as a tool to destabilize the country in 2007. Nevertheless, no one has ever suspected Assad of having an excessive sense of shame.
Do any of those names sound familiar from Sunday morning's reports? Here's Connor Simpson with a damage assessment?
Explosions could be heard late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning as bombs rained down on the Jamraya research centre in Syria's capital city. An Israeli intelligence official took credit for the attack when speaking with the AFP, and western intelligence officials pointed to Israel when speaking with Reuters, too. According to Haaretz's Barak Ravid, the target of Saturday's attack was a "shipment of Iranian made Fatah-110 missiles" being delivered to Hezbollah through Syria. Israel's first attack of the weekend was directed towards similar missiles heading for Hezbollah. Considering Israel was targeting a shipment of powerful missiles, maybe it isn't surprising that the videos that supposedly show the explosions are this crazy: 
Jamraya.... Where would that be?
Heavy explosions shook Damascus overnight. Amateur footage posted online claimed to show the blasts at the Jamraya research centre, on Mount Qassioun overlooking Damascus.
Residents told the BBC that military bases in the area had also been hit.


Damascus-based journalist Alaa Ebrahim told the BBC it was “the biggest explosion” the city had seen since the conflict began two years ago. 
He said residents living near Jamraya reported feeling a “mild earthquake” just before the blast, indicating that the rockets may have hit an underground facility.
He added that the Syrian army was likely to have suffered major casualties in the attack.
Hmmm... And that might explain why residents of northern Israel don't really fear an attack by Bashar al-Assad
At the site of the Iron Dome battery in the Haifa area – the exact location cannot be printed for security reasons – a small crew of soldiers milled around. The site didn’t appear to have become a local attraction for bystanders, as the Tel Aviv and southern Israel batteries had, during Operation Pillar of Defense.
“People are not worried up here. They [the Assad regime] are more worried about the rebels and too worried to go to war with Israel. It’s not time for us to clean out the bomb shelters,” said Dror Elmakayes, 38, an employee of a shwarma restaurant in downtown Kiryat Ata, north of Haifa.


A dominant theme in the comments made by residents of the North was that the Assad regime is weakened and in no position to respond, fully aware that striking back would invite an Israeli attack that would end its rule in Syria.
“They can shoot a missile or two at us, but if they do, they know it will be the end of them.
 So did Israel's attack on Damascus signal the beginning of the end of Assad? Hmmm.

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 4:55 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

becareful what you wish for , because a sunni islamonazi state would be far worse.

At 4:23 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

From my American perspective, I have to agree with Daniel. I'm also reminded of Kissinger's remark about the 1980's Iran-Iraq War, "It's a pity they both can't lose."

Maybe the least bad scenario for Israel is not an unrealistic both sides losing but a realistic neither side winning. An unending civil war between the rebels and a very emasculated Assad regime leaves Israel with a relatively secure, peaceful northern border. It also leaves the Hashemite regime in Jordan more secure, also very much in Israel's interest.


Post a Comment

<< Home