Tacstrat: Syrian Revolution – A possible fade out?


By Sarah Eleazar
Tacstrat

The Syrian rebellion so far has been stretched out much like the Libyan rebellion before NATO intervention. Assad is exacting terrible punishments on the rebels with ruthless calculations and all the damage that political debacles and high level defections could have caused him have been mitigated by the state’s continuing military superiority. Unlike isolated, friendless Libya, Syria has powerful friends that it has cajoled/threatened to help it. And unlike Gaddafi, Assad has took a page out of Kim Jon-Ill’s book and publicly stated that he will use chemical weapons against the rebels if anyone from the outside world interferes.

So far Turkey seems to be preparing for a large confrontation with its neighbours, though the chances of an overt warfare are limited. Even covert support to the rebels is limited. Syrian generals that have defected to the rebellion claim that they have nothing more than the small arms and few pieces of heavy artillery they captured from the Syrian army. Long story short, on paper, they are in doomed. The one advantage they do have is morale and the spirit of revolution that west until recently so happily tried to hijack from the Arab Spring as their own invention. And one would like to hope that it sees them through as long as necessary.

The rebellion has been able to survive under these strains for so long, but now cracks are beginning to show. Assad will soon turn Aleppo into rubble and kill anything that looks like it would wave a different flag. But another event has resurfaced which could permanently put the Syrian revolution in the background of history. Israeli television recently announced that Israel is preparing to attack Iran before the U.S general elections, so they can force Obama to support them. To support this allegation, the Israeli government has ‘leaked’ articles outlining how they would attack Iran, increased the frequency of public speeches decrying the lack of international support, and whipped the blogosphere into a frenzy of speculation.

If Israel does go forward with this, the outcome would be catastrophic for the middle-east. Any Arab monarch whose country was used for attacks would be eaten alive by the people. In the ensuing chaos however, the battle lines will be solidified, and the focus of the region will move firmly towards Israel. Iran, assuming it is not completely decimated by Israel and the U.S to prevent any counterattack, will go on the offensive. If this happens, Assad will not be allowed to fall. Syria will become an indispensible ally for Iran. And since the entire region will be focused on Israel, few will intervene in Syria.

The U.S will still want to remove Assad to close the Russian naval base, but if Israel does carry out its plan, it will have very few friends left in the region to work with towards its goal. European NATO members will pull their hands out of the mess, which is the least we can say for Turkey.

If Israel does go ahead, it will turn the entire Arab Spring flat on its head. The movement that started for freedom and equality will be commandeered by the need for a strong military response and geo-strategic interests. Syria will fall back to its original state while the rest of the region, including Egypt, will put civil liberties in the back seat while they concentrate on military preparedness and move their states to war footings.

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