Sunday, March 04, 2007

War Between Israel and Syria?

Katyusha attackAfter Israel’s war with Hizbullah was prematurely shut down last summer by the political cowardice of Prime Minister Olmert, we all knew that we hadn’t heard the last of Hizbullah. Given that Israel handed over the responsibility for the ceasefire to — sigh — the UN, it was only a matter of time before the Syrians and the Iranians rearmed Hizbullah and the war resumed.

Ehud Olmert traded in his birthright and didn’t even get a mess of porridge in return. He bought himself a few months of breathing space, which he has frittered away chasing the various phantasms of “peace”.

Carl in Jerusalem at Israel Matzav is going out on a limb — he says the new war will begin soon, only this time he thinks it will skip the proxy and go straight to the patron. He’s predicting an imminent war between Israel and Syria.

Carl bases his prognosis on recent stories about the movement of Syrian arms and personnel, and the shipment of advanced weaponry from Russia to Syria. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, Syria has recently massed troops and equipment on the border between Israel and Syria, increasing their presence there to levels not seen for many years.

Haaretz and Jerusalem Post have reported on the flow of advanced weaponry to Syria from Russia. Diplomatic attempts to get the Russians to scale back their arms sales to Syria have been brushed aside — the Russians are always ready to sell, and in Boy Assad they have found a buyer.
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The Syrians reportedly were impressed with the success that Hizbullah had using the latest Russian-made anti-tank missiles. Even the best Israeli tank armor was vulnerable to Hizbullah’s missile attacks. The Chinless Ophthalmologist in Damascus has put the new missiles onto his must-have list, and they and other Russian armaments are flowing into Syria.

Here’s the bottom line from Carl:

I’ve already gone out on a limb and said that I believe that there will be another war in the north by late spring or early summer. I’ll go further: May 24. That’s the day after the Shavuoth holiday here. I believe war will happen on the northern front no later than May 24. You heard it here first.

Meanwhile, our buffoonish ‘defense’ minister Amir Comrade Peretz is trying to convince our corrupt ‘prime’ minister Ehud K. Olmert that now is the time to further divide the country by evacuating ‘outposts.’ It’s good that God watches over this country, because otherwise we wouldn’t stand a chance.

Keep watch as events develop this spring. We’ll find out if Carl is right.

14 comments:

livfreerdie said...

Would we then find out if Saddam's WMDs did, in fact, go to Syria? When will we learn to loose the might of the military(US), and IDF is no slouch. Watched "Objective Burma" last night and I wondered why we have to fight in accord to the Geneva Convention when our enemies are not signatories? And the beat goes on.

Tom

Zerosumgame said...

I venture that Syria is being bold in that it has Saddam's chemical WMDs.

Should they be used, it is very easy seeing this escalate into a regional war involving nuclear weapons used by Israel not only against Syria, but against much of the Middle East, including Iran, the Palestinians, Shiites of Lebanon, and oil installations. (And yes, I'm aware of Israel's proximity to some of these targets, but she probably has tactical nukes which would limit damage to a small area.)

The idea of being gassed again would be too much for Israel, probably even for a wimp like Olmert; if he did not retaliate by obliterating the Arab world, he would be forced out by the IDF, who would take military control if necessary to implement this.

Yorkshireminer said...

He who controls the air controls the Battlefield, if it comes to a war between Syria and Israel, the gloves will be off and they wont go easy as they did in Lebanon to keep civilian casualties to a minimum to satisfy world public opinion. Two or three weeks of constant air attacks will have the Syrians begging for mercy. The real question that has not been asked is there a pact between hizbulah Syria and Iran, and how will the mad diner jacket react, do they have the bomb and just want an excuse to use it, the whole affair stinks of conspiracy. If Carl is right this might just be the big one. The whole affair seem to have a striking resemblance to the build up to the first world war lots of minor wars, brinkmanship, and a kaiser making intemperate remarks, sound familiar. It might seem a stupid question, but why do I feel this sense of inevitability and powerlessness?

gun-totin-wacko said...

Let's not give trouble a shape before it casts a shadow.

I agree that there is a strong likelihood of a war between these 2 states, but I also think that there needs to be some calm analysis here.

With all due respect to other commentors and posters, I don't really see boy Assad using any WMD-assuming he has them. Remember war is a political act, and gassing- or even attempting to gas- Israel would be an act of political suicide. He knows then that his government would be destroyed forever. His country might also be destroyed, by an Israel that would no longer have ANY internal dissention. He would be hunted across the world by the Israelis, just as they did with the Olympic Terrorists. Assuming that he wasn't turned over to the UN for trial by his "supporters". And with WMD, I think even the UN would hang him by his "short arm".

As for Israel nuking all their neighbors, not a chance. That's what used to be called "spasm war"- the nuking of every possible target, just because... well, it's so darn hard to stop once you start it.

Again, completely irrational.

Finally, remember that ANY such action by Israel would cause the whole Arab Street to explode (the way we were told it would explode upon the Iraq Invasion).

Therefore, I think that Bush would tell the Israelis to let the US handle it, in the hope that the other Arabs wouldn't get quite so batsh** crazy. (Remember, we have lots of troops and weapons on Syria's other border).

So in the end, assuming for the sake of argument that there is a war, it'll be bigger than the last go-round in Lebanon, but we aren't gonna see a major regiional all-out war.

There. That's my prediction.

gun-totin-wacko said...

Oh, and Yorkshireminer, while I agree that the air war will be a lot more intense, remember that bombing a country until it begs for mercy has been a pretty unsuccessful strategy so far. Like, it's never actually worked. Bombing is nowhere near as accurate as the "experts" anticipate, and even in WWII the terror bombings- Dresden for example- levelled the city, killed tens of thousand, but still didn't make anyone give up.

Understanding of course that bomb and missile accuracy is waaaay up these days, recall also that even in Kosovo it turned out that the bombing did much less damage than the Air Force people claimed. It's the nature of the beast.

To have pinpoint accuracy, you need not just "smart" bombs, but smart observers on the ground marking the target.

Zerosumgame said...

gun-totin-wacko:

I have family in Israel, and across the political spectrum, I can tell you that they agree that an attack of WMDs by any Islamic nation will be considered an attack by all, as they all politically, morally, economically, and even militarily will have supported this.

It is also their feeling that since the world would then have allowed a second Holocaust because of its thirst for oil, that Israel would target the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, denying their "softer" enemies (and my family in Israel almost all think of Europe when they mention this) their precious oil.

A basic google search indicates that Israel may have 200 or more nuclear weapons. If this is indeed correct, one must come to two conclusions:

1) She wants enough nukes to have some after a first strike, and

2) She wants enough nuclear weapons to retaliate against more than just the initial targeting nation.

If this is indeed the case (and in a fairly small country like Israel, I bet there is a family member who knows somebody familiar with its doomsday policy), then such a war could lead to a major environmental catastrophe and an economic depression on a global scale.

It would be easy to avoid this by just simply leaving Israel alone. But anti-Semitism has a way of truly making people, societies and nations irrational and (self-)destructive, so I am not optimistic about the future.

Yorkshireminer said...

Dear gun-totin-wacko,
Yes, while I basically agree with you, it did bring the Serbs to heel and Albert Speer in his book “Inside the Third Reich states that he reported to the German high command that Germany couldn't take several more of these firestorm type bombings. The fact was that we couldn't keep it up. It is always interesting to ponder these “what if” questions with hindsight. The main problem I see is that that war is inevitable and that it will be instigated by the Arabs on there terms in such cases Israel will be at a disadvantage as they were in the Yom Kippur War, and the outcome more uncertain. If I had my way support for Israel would be one of the cornerstones of EU policy. The fat cats in Brussels are two stupid to realize if Israel goes we in Europe will then be in the front line with all the horrific consequence to follow. I follow the developments in the middle east fairly closely and what has been Happening over the last few months fills me with dread.

Deep regards

Yorkshire Miner

gun-totin-wacko said...

Zerosum,

You have the advantage of me. I don't have any family in that area, so I don't have access to any such info.

I'm basing my thoughts merely on what logic seems to dictate. I just find it hard to believe that anyone-even in that bizarre region known as the Mideast- could make decisions that have such a "downside".

But perhaps I'm just provincial on that. Certainly I hope and pray that I'm right, simply for the sake of all the parties concerned.

Thank you for your input though. It seems that we really, truly, don't know who we're dealing with.

Carl in Jerusalem said...

I don't see Israel nuking anyone except maybe Iran if they were to nuke us (and if there's a war in May like I predicted, they aren't likely to have a bomb by then). I don't see us responding to chemical weapons with nukes.

I think Assad does have chemical weapons and would use them, but I think Israel can defend against them. We have anti-missile systems that can shoot them down in the air. Having said that, no one bothered with renewing our gas masks since we were told to open them when the US invaded Iraq in 2003.... That means that if God forbid there is a chemical attack, the consequences will be much worse than they would have been four years ago.

I'm not sure we'll see an all-out regional war either. I don't see Egypt getting involved - they have everything to lose (and a major chance of losing it) and nothing to gain. For whom would they be fighting? Assad? The 'Palestinians'? I don't see Jordan getting involved either although they will certainly complain about it. But I think Israel will fight Syria and Hezbullah, and if the 'Palestinians' manage to stop killing each other, Israel will have to fight them too this summer.

fp said...

For somebody who lived in israel for 18 years, served in the army and participated in two wars, I can tell you that wmd use is not likely. The dangers to Israel is not in that. Here's is a more serious analysis:

http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=27148

The most immediate Israeli weakness is its leadership. It is incompetent, corrupt and confused. The problem is that the elite does not have better substitutes.

And the army is in bad shape, as it has been cut, underfunded, and used primarily for police work, exactly like the current US army.

That's why the response in Lebanon has been so kneejerk and incompetent. And why the govt does not get it through its head that appeasement does not work, but brings contempt of weakness.

Zerosumgame said...

carl,

In 1973, when Israel's nuclear arsenal was much smaller, it was widely rumoured (and not denied by Israel) that should "the third temple have fallen" (to quote Golda Meir), that the atomic retaliation would have gone beyond Syria and Egypt.

The USSR was instrumental in backing the Arabs, and the Soviets feared that Israeli fighter bombers might have taken a nuke or two to hit the USSR (probably they could not have reached any farther than Azerbaijan, but at that time, it was still Soviet territory).

In his memoirs, Ambassador Dobrynin conceded this as a possibility (albeit not a probability).

With regards to policy today, Israel would be wise to broaden her retaliatory threats beyond Iran. Iran is run by insance, suicidal Nazis who do not care about their existence, only about exterminating the Jews (and not just in Israel). However, by secretly letting the Saudis, Egyptians, Syrians and others know that they too would be destroyed, there is great incentive for many nations to restrain Iran from getting nukes. The Saudi monarchy would like to see the Jews eliminated from this planet every bit as much as the Iranian mullahs. The difference is that the Saudis are not willing to sacrifice their whole country to achieve it. By limiting her nuclear retaliation to just Iran, Israel gives no nations any incentive to stop the Iranians. The Arab nations (and even most European nations, based on the way they behave today) would love to see Israel destroyed and the Jews wiped from the face of the earth. They will happily let Iran get the bomb and nuke Israel if it means there are no consequences for them.

Therefore, Israel must give them consequences to consider.

livfreerdie said...

Not a historian but it seems, even with heavy allied losses, daylight bombing was effective in WWII. I think we had been in that war so long that Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the latter proving we could do it again, were necessary not only for the military but the folks back home. The siege at Khe Sahn was finally broken after the big shots let loose the B-52s for carpet bombing. It seems the "shock and awe" at the beginning in Afghanistan had the desired effects. As an aside, one night in 'Nam i saw a whole mountain top go up in flames, smoke and explosions(arc lighting) and never heard the bombs falling or the birds laying those eggs. I imagine it would be like watching the power of a tornado.

Tom

gun-totin-wacko said...

livfree (and all others), I for one am not denying that aerial bombing is effective. I do however recall in one of my classes, the professor (this was the early 80's and some of my profs. were actually conservative) pointed out that German industrial output increased in 1944 to it's highest level. All a country has to do is disperse the industry, and it becomes harder to hit.

yes, new technology makes bombing much more accurate, but in the end it doesn't win wars. One still needs boots on the proverbial ground.

Also, in Kosovo, our bombing did't *destroy* all that much military hardware relative to the money we spend on bombs. I recall reading later that it turned out the damage claims and accuracy claims were vastly overstated. No surprise there-that's an ongoing theme thru history.

Finally a word about Japan. Remember that the nukes were merely the last straw. The Japanese navy was gone. The air force still had planes, but pilots were hard to find. The merchant fleet was also almost gone, which is not helpful to an island nation with no resources. Some military folks have long pointed out that we could have merely beseiged them for a year and probably forced surrender- they wouldn't have even been able to feed themselves or equipped their military, thanks in large part to our submarines.

Air warfare is a highly effective tool, but it needs ground forces, and even naval forces to work effectively. None of them can win a modern war completely alone.

Terry Crane said...

Assad as a buyer? You gonna be kidding. Russia wrote off several billion of Syrian debt to start trading. I don't think they are paid cash for that hardware either.

It is a polical donation rather then business as usual. And it is openly anti-American