Translated today by Mideastwire.com, this Al-Rai al-Aam story, which always has meaty stories on Hizbullah that often turn out to have credence, is important because it represents the most important move, I think, post Israel strike on Mt. Qassyoun: the Golan is open after the next strike to the same kind of small but painful, not quite attributable “response” attacks which will put Israel in a pickle and which syria (and iran and hizbullah) perfected for so many decades.
Indeed, the best response after the last Israeli strike was a painful military blow to the IDF in occupied golan by a “mysterious” group. It now looks like the resistance axis is gearing up for and telegraphing precisely that!
“The prominent Hezbollah source also said that “Israel announced that it has bombarded weapons belonging to Iran and Hezbollah. This means that it has launched a war against Iran and Hezbollah…” He also revealed that “directions have been given [to the party’s fighters] to consider that the areas of Shebaa, the Kfarshouba Hills (in South Lebanon) and the Syrian Golan heights form one triangle and one area for operations…”
“The source added that “Hezbollah has recently started to study the deployment of the enemy and its fighting arrangements as well as the settlement areas…” The source indicated that “the Golan area will represent a wide target for the operations, traps, and counter traps as part of the upcoming war.” He revealed that “President Al-Assad gave clear indications to establish a Syrian resistance force similar to Hezbollah. This force will consist of units that have been prepped and trained to on gang-style fighting following the 2006 war. The training started immediately following the Israeli raid against Damascus…”"
The Israelis (Probably) Don’t Get It: The Discursive Shift Today in the Resistance Axis is Important and Meaningful on the Field
There is much to say about the unprecedented statement by Bashar, the Iranian “warnings” reported to Jordan and the multiple reports that the Resistance Axis will now spill Israeli blood somewhere in a limited fashion: There is a discursive and practical shift underway as a result of the growing conflict over and above Syria.
The discursive one is the one I am most interested in – the field operations may or may not transpire and they will in all liklihood carry some important degree of deniability, be limited and make a smashing Israeli response very difficult.
Bashar is in the process of totally upending the relationship that his father set in place for so many years. Bashar of course did that from the start of his tenure in 2000, especially after 2006, but this process is now in final motion, I believe. Put it together with some of the aesthetic factors between Nasralah and Khamene’i and what we have is a rough balancing operation between the three main Resistance powers.
This is significant because they are consolidating, strengthening, hunkering down whereas their opponents aims, tactics and relations are fracturing to a greater extent.
This is a crucial dynamic, one pushed forward aggressively by Bashar’s “shift” (more like a maturation) today.
It is also a very smart two-headed response to the force and pressure against the Axis I think…. but really the only smart response available.
“We have decided to give them everything,” the newspaper quoted him as saying, without elaborating.
“For the first time we feel that we and they are living in the same situation and they are not just an ally we help with resistance,” he said.
“We have decided that we must move forward towards them and turn into a nation of resistance like Hizbullah, for the sake of Syria and future generations.”
Assad was quoted as saying Syria could “easily” respond to Israeli air strikes by “firing a few rockets at Israel.”
“But we want strategic revenge, by opening the door of resistance and turning all of Syria into a country of resistance.”
“After the strike, we are convinced that we are fighting the enemy now, we are pursuing its soldiers deployed throughout our country,” he said, in apparent reference to rebel forces, which the regime has accused of being allied with Israel.
On Tuesday, Salehi made a quick visit to Jordan where he imparted to Jordanian King Abdullah “a clear and unequivocal message of Iran’s strong commitment to protect Assad and Syria,” according to the same Iranian source.
“You must be aware that if the US decides to go to war with Syria, your kingdom will go in the process,” the message declared. It warned the Jordanian king of the “American trap that threatens your throne and will wipe Jordan off the map.”
“The Islamic Republic is ready to provide you what you need in face of pressures and to avoid the conflict being transferred inside Jordan,” the message relayed. It concluded by maintaining “Iran’s willingness to transfer Jordan to our camp, if you had the will to do so.”
Andrew has long advocated military escalation in Syria – and remember he has no military training or experience but speaks in detail about good ways to start a military conflict. My earlier point was that these ideas were really obtuse when the regime was much stronger, and they remain so now. Here are two of his “bold” ideas thrown around in the mass media (amazing that simplistic points about how to start a massive conflict are self-named “bold” and that passed the editor). Just note how jocular the style is. Amazing that after the Iraq mess, this form passes the basic smell tests:
“…First, Washington should use patriot missile batteries in an offensive capacity against regime aircraft – and deploy them defensively against SCUD and Fatah 110 missiles targeting opposition-dominated areas along Syria’s borders with Turkey and Jordan. A package of the patriot missiles recently deployed to southern Turkey augmented with an anti-aircraft capability, for example, could be used to carve out a 50-mile air exclusion zone from the Turkish border city of Kilis to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. This would help the opposition create vital “safe areas” where civilians could be secure in an organized fashion free from regime airstrikes as the war against Assad continues.
As an important ancillary benefit, such safe areas would provide a vital place for the exile-dominated National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) to politically organize and provide assistance directly to Syrian civilians. If properly defended, diplomats, officials, and aid representatives from the international community could work side by side with Syrians to help alleviate suffering and build a viable government for post-Assad Syria. When fully “liberated” areas under opposition control expand beyond the border regions to Syria’s interior, the United States and its allies could follow up with targeted air and missile strikes against Assad regime forces armed with chemical weapons or poised to carry out further mass atrocities.
Second, Washington should provide a package of intelligence-sharing, military training, and other security assistance to mainstream nationalist, non-extremist groups that have been vetted by Western countries, both to increase their military capabilities and in exchange for any chemical weapons captured from the regime’s stockpiles. The package should be comprehensive enough to allow participant groups to more rapidly defeat the Assad regime’s forces and more effectively secure chemical weapons. Groups receiving assistance would be required to allow U.S. and allied special forces to collect and secure captured stockpiles of chemical weapons…”
I wonder if we are all now finally at the turning point where a series of major decisions must be made, can no longer be escaped, papered over, contained etc?
Have we gone beyond the nice detached (when not drone striking) Obama box where he is FORCED to make a major decision about war?
For four years (ok really since the july 2006 war) the war between the resistance axis and israel/usa/sunni monarchies etc – throw some more sides in there – seemed quite likely.
The sides have now been pushed so far that I would argue ONLY a courageous, far sighted decision by the US to engage in a wide ranging total political settlement vis a vis the resistance axis is possible to stop the march to war which many of the sides desire – including some in the US and undoubtedly many in the resistance axis (lets not even consider the Israelis for a minute!)
Obama is confronted by an incredible stew of negative factors – Andrew Exum’s balance of terror which stayed the climactic war is now breaking down and this was the ONLY “positive” restraint. Indeed, this breakdown was always going to be the case if matters proceeded on the track of more and more violence and compulsion instead of negotiation, concessions and smart strategies to drain the matrix of violence and the desire for violence.
Time is running out – make a tough decision Barry, because this war which is nearer and nearer is going to wrack incredible damage.
Now that matters are accelerating towards a wider war – something that has indeed been a distinct possibility over the past 4 years and especially over the last year – it bears repeating the essential obtuseness of the WINEP/Tabler/Neo-LiberalCon advice on Syria – advice which has thankfully long been discarded by some important policymakers and a range of analysts in DC as empty armchair warrior nonsense. As Tabler intimates to the NYT below, his position has long been that the US and others should have accelerated the quality and quantity of violence much much earlier against the regime, and that the failure to do this meant that instability, jihadists and chaos was only going to grow, to the point we now see clearly.
It’s really incredible that journos still digest this perspective, because even with NO understanding of the Middle East, one just has to remember that the Assad regime and the Resistance Axis was much much stronger 2 years ago, 1 year ago etc.
Tabler’s position is essentially that the US and allies should have more directly fought Assad WHEN IT WAS MANIFESTLY in a far better position tactically and strategically, armed with chemical weapons, more conventional forces, greater support etc.
It just does not add up, but sadly it still circulates:
“The problem here is we react so slowly,” said Andrew J. Tabler, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “There have been many well-thought-out plans, but they address a certain context. Then the context changes, we see the situation as rapidly deteriorating, and the recommendations are no longer so finely tuned.”
The Samson Option – the NYT piece here also captures where this conflict is going – towards greater irrationality as the level of violence accelerates and backs are pushed against the wall: “…As Mr. Obama contemplates his response, his advisers are trying to determine why Syria would use such weapons. The Syrian military, while strained, still appears capable of making rational decisions about how and where to deploy forces. It is currently engaged in fierce and ostensibly successful offensives in the Damascus area and in Homs Province. Moreover, two alleged massacres in the past week demonstrated that pro-government militias using knives and guns were capable of inflicting many times the deaths attributed to chemical weapons so far.