Bashar Al-Assad has finally acknowledged the civil war is destroying his country. The Syrian military has been increasingly stretched thin trying to fight on multiple fronts. At the same time, they are fighting smaller battles on some fronts. However, no matter how the story is told, the situatition is not going well for Assad. Early on Saturday, August 1, rebels captured an air defense base in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour and took at least 15 soldiers captive as well as capturing ammunition. Rebel commanders reported destroying several helicopters while attacking two separate military airports. This raises the possibility that rebels have captured shoulder-fired Manpads or antiaircraft missiles.
As the world now knows, Iran has been sending troops into Syria often disguised as pilgrims or other such pretenses. But what happens if Iran attempts to make a strategic attack to pull Assad out of the fire? A new aspect of this dangerous situation became more evident during the past several weeks that could have serious consequences for Lebanon and Gaza.
Should Iran perceive an attack was on its way, they well might instruct Hezbollah and Hamas to unleash tens of thousands of missiles on Israel. Not a pretty picture indeed!
Israel knows that Iran has a limited number of missiles. If the attack were coming, they would probably call on any ally in sight to jump in the fray. Granted many of the missiles the Palestinian terrorists control would be small and some of the home-made variety, nevertheless they have been firing these rockets from Gaza for years and often kill Israelis. They may not be large, but the rockets can do damage and they could conceivably cover all of Israel.
While Israel has an “Iron Dome” system provided through US military funding, the protection has never been tested. All that needs to happen is for the shield to fail once and disaster explodes. Therefore, it would seem logical that Israel would strike the infrastructure in Lebanon and Gaza. The main targets would probably be power plants, oil refineries, and airports. Of course, daily life would be thrown into a total upheaval. The price Lebanon and Gaza could pay would be horrible. Probably, parts of both Lebanon and Gaza would be totally destroyed.
How would the world react to such destruction? Hard to say, but the United Nations and surrounding countries have done viritually nothing to stop the carnage in Syria. “The usual suspects” would scream, but Israel would probably walk away without punishing international response. Regardless of the current hesitant responses of the Obama administration, everyone from Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton to Secretary of Defense Leon Peneta have sworn the US remains on the same page with Israel. In other words, in a worst case scenario, Israel has America in their corner.
Israel has gone from being a small country standing in the shadows waiting for the USA to tell them what to do, to an independent force ready to stand on its own to protect its citizens. Iran had better pay close attention. Anyone who attempts to formulate how an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities might unfold is only specutlating (that includes me) However, the new situation seems to suggest Israel would be poised to hit Gaza and Lebanon as part of a strike on Iran.
My personal fear remains that the Iranian regime will not handle these facts logically, but put them in a religious and irrational contact. Sorry. I must be a pessimist.
Question: Can the United States do anything that diminishes the danger to the entire Middle East?