“An Israel-Syria deal is strategically vital for both,” by Shlomo Ben-Ami

An Israel-Syria deal is strategically vital for both
Shlomo Ben-Ami
6 June 2008
Daily Star

Beirut — The resumption of peace talks between Israel and Syria after eight years of saber-rattling is not a diversion from the political troubles of Israel's lame-duck prime minister. Nor are the talks a Syrian ploy to avoid facing a Lebanese-international tribunal on the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri. An Israeli-Syrian peace deal is strategically vital for both sides, and both sides know it.

The two major formative experiences of Syria's Baath regime have been Hafez Assad's loss of the Golan Heights in the 1967 war with Israel, and the loss of Lebanon by his son, Bashar, who was forced to withdraw his army under irresistible American-led international pressure. Recovering the Golan and protecting Syria's vital interests in Lebanon are not only major strategic concerns for Syria's president; they are also crucial to the regime's drive for national legitimacy, and to Assad's assertion of his own leadership.

Peace with Israel is not Assad's priority. Rather, it is the prerequisite without which superior goals – rapprochement with the United States, legitimization of Syria's special status in Lebanon, and avoidance of a potentially devastating war with Israel if the Golan Heights are not recovered by peaceful means – cannot be attained. Indeed, the regime has hinted that it may be willing to compromise on the issue – the delineation of the 1967 border along a tiny piece of land on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee – that wrecked the negotiations eight years ago.

An Israeli-Syrian peace is a weighty strategic necessity for Israel, too. The complexities of the threats to Israel are such that a possible confrontation with Hamas in Gaza might trigger a flare-up with Hizbullah in Lebanon. Such a war could be won only by the total destruction of Lebanon by Israel's air force. In that case, Syria would likely seize the opportunity to break the deadlock over the Golan Heights through a military move that could develop into a massive war of missiles targeting Israel's vulnerable home front. And Iran, in its drive to protect its nuclear program from an Israeli-American attack, might be very active in supporting this ominous scenario.

Admittedly, the strategic conditions in the region are far more complex today than they were eight years ago, when Israel's requirements for a deal with Syria focused mainly on security arrangements on the Golan Heights, and on Syria using its leverage in Lebanon to permit an Israeli settlement with that country. Syria's alliance with Iran was not a major issue.

Syria's subsequent forced withdrawal from Lebanon was not good news for Israel. In the last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks eight years ago, it was clear that a deal with Syria would automatically pave the way to a settlement with Lebanon, and an end to Hizbullah's threat to Israel's northern border. Today, peace with Syria might facilitate an Israeli peace with Lebanon down the road, but that will not be an automatic outcome. Indeed, while Hizbullah prospered under Syrian occupation, it never reached the extraordinary political power that it has today.

Nevertheless, peace with Syria could be a major building block in a wider Israeli-Arab settlement, and consequently of a more stable Middle East, though it is unrealistic to expect that Syria would automatically sever its special relationship with Iran in exchange for the Golan Heights. These are peace talks, not a defense treaty, and Syria would not abruptly disengage from its Iranian friends. But good relations between an Arab state at peace with Israel and Iran are not necessarily a bad thing. Syria's stance might limit, rather than extend, the reach of Iran's strategy of regional destabilization.

As always, much will depend on America's readiness to move away from military solutions and rigid ideological imperatives and instead embrace the pragmatic culture of conflict resolution. A US-backed Israeli-Syrian peace could transform the strategic environment, potentially drawing other Middle East spoilers into a system of regional cooperation and security.

Shlomo Ben-Ami is a former Israeli foreign minister who now serves as the vice president of the Toledo International Center for Peace. He is the author of "Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy." THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndica

Comments (86)


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51. Karim said:

the Syrian regime did a good thing if it killed the iranian agent moghniya we don’t need such people in the capital of Umayyad and the next I hope will be nasralla

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June 6th, 2008, 5:03 pm

 

52. Nour said:

Karim,

How about we gather all those who resisted Israel and execute them? Better yet, why don’t we join the IDF ourselves and fight in the frontlines?

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June 6th, 2008, 5:10 pm

 

53. Alex said:

Karim said:

Even thé ikhwan say that they will not get more than 25percents ,and they are against the destruction of the state ,they are for a soft transition and against revange on baathists or alexis,zenibia ikhwan and hezballa are not thé same,ikhwan are mostly from thé cities from the middle class families and hezballa is a création of the iranian régime and is loyal to its external support and its survival dépend on it,they are of poor and rural origin.

Then the same urban and hogh class Karim said

“the Syrian regime did a good thing if it killed the iranian agent moghniya we don’t need such people in the capital of Umayyad and the next I hope will be nasralla

Dear Karim,

I’m sorry to tell you that your politically correct claims, and those of your equally sophisticated ikhwan, are not convincing.

Thank you for reassuring the “alexis” (the Christians) that the very peaceful ikhwan will not kill them. But when you follow it with your wish to see Nasrallah murdered “in the capital of the Umayyad”

And when you explain that the ikhwan are “from thé cities from the middle class families” whereas Hizbollah are “poor and rural origin” … one can see clearly where you come from.

Next time you express your wish for the next Shia leader to be killed, you will be banned from here. Read the rules of the blog.

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June 6th, 2008, 5:18 pm

 

54. Qifa Nabki said:

This is a major bombshell… IF it is true. The story in Die Welt is out. I’ve pasted it below. My German is rusty but the gist is as Ehsani reports. Apparently 100 Syrian intellegence agents are in custody, for being in on the plot.

The reports about Bushra being spirited away to Dubai are apparently connected with this.

Remember there was a story in Le Figaro a few days ago making similar claims. And Stratfor had some kind of item on this back in February, which was when the attempt was stifled.

Putschversuch gegen Assad in Syrien gescheitert
Der syrische Präsident Baschar al-Assad sollte offenbar von seinem Schwager, dem Geheimdienstchef, entmachtet werden. Doch der Coup wurde kurz vor seiner Durchführung vereitelt. Mehrere Offiziere befinden sich seither in Haft. Die Botschaft in Berlin dementiert die Vorgänge.
Syrien Putschversuch Baschar al-Assad Geheimdienst
Foto: AP
Sollte er zum Opfer eines Putschversuches werden? Der syrische Präsident Baschar al-Assad
In Syrien ist offenbar ein Putschversuch gegen Präsident Baschar al-Assad kurz vor seiner Durchführung verhindert worden. Wie WELT ONLINE aus Geheimdienstkreisen erfuhr, war die Machtübernahme während des Treffens der Arabischen Liga Ende März in Damaskus geplant.

Kopf der Verschwörung soll der Chef des syrischen Militärgeheimdienstes und Schwager des Präsidenten, Asseff Schaukat, gewesen sein. Er wurde festgesetzt. „Entsprechende Informationen liegen uns vor. Offizielle Bestätigungen haben wir aber noch nicht“, sagte eine Sprecherin des Auswärtigen Amtes. Nach Informationen von WELT ONLINE sollen sich mehr als hundert Geheimdienstoffiziere, die für Schaukat gearbeitet haben, in Haft befinden. Die syrische Botschaft in Berlin bezeichnete die Meldungen als halt- und grundlos.
Kooperierte der Geheimdienst mit radikalen muslimischen Gruppen?
Dass Schaukat von Assad beschuldigt wird, einen Putsch geplant zu haben, wurde WELT ONLINE jedoch auch von ausländischen westlichen Sicherheitskreisen bestätigt, die im Nahen Osten gut vernetzt sind. Demnach sollen Mitte Februar zusammen mit Schaukat auch ein Dutzend Offiziere verhaftet worden sein, denen Verbindungen zu radikalen muslimischen Gruppen nachgesagt werden, die in Kontakt mit der Terrororganisation al-Qaida stehen. Schaukat selbst hat die Anschuldigungen zurückgewiesen. Er wurde jedoch seines Postens enthoben. Der Grund, warum er bisher noch nicht angeklagt wurde, liegt offenbar in seiner verwandtschaftlichen Beziehung zu Assad.
Schlagworte
Syrien Putschversuch Baschar al-Assad Militär Geheimdienst Staatsstreich Damaskus Berlin
Aus Sorge um seine Familie soll Schaukat seine Frau Buschra, die Schwester des syrischen Präsidenten, ins Ausland geschickt haben – zunächst nach Frankreich und dann in die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate. Nach Informationen, die von diesen westlichen Sicherheitskreisen als nicht gänzlich bestätigt angesehen werden, soll Syriens Präsident Baschar al-Assad vom Chefterrorplaner der Hisbollah, Imad Mughnija, bei einem Treffen über die Putschpläne in Kenntnis gesetzt worden sein. Wenige Tage später wurde Mughnija am 12. Februar durch eine Sprengladung ermordet.

Viele Beobachter gingen davon aus, dass Israel hinter dem Anschlag stand. Sollten sich aber Informationen bestätigen, wonach Mughnija Syriens Präsidenten über den bevorstehenden Putsch unterrichtete, so könnten auch Kreise um den beschuldigten Geheimdienstchef Schaukat hinter dem Mord stecken, möglicherweise haben sie Israel den entscheidenden Tipp gegeben. Darauf deutet auch ein Interview von Mughnijas Witwe hin, die Syrien beschuldigte, Israel bei der Ermordung ihres Mannes geholfen zu haben. Syrien hält weiter den ursprünglich für Anfang April angekündigten Bericht über den Tod Mughnijas zurück.
Experten warnten vor einem drohenden Coup
Experten hatten erste Anzeichen für einen geplanten Regimewechsel in Damaskus bereits gesehen, als im Frühjahr der in Paris lebende Ex-Vizepräsident Abdelham Chaddam öffentlich den Geheimdienst-Chef Schaukat als den besseren Präsidenten bezeichnet hatte. Chaddam hatte das Land verlassen, weil er Präsident Baschar al-Assad für den Auftraggeber des Mordes an dem früheren libanesischen Ministerpräsidenten Rafik Hariri hält. Im Zwischenbericht des UN-Sonderermittlers Detlev Mehlis zu dem Attentat auf Hariri war der Präsidenten-Schwager Schaukat als einer der Beschuldigten genannt worden.

Weiterführende links

* Wie viele geheime Nuklearanlagen hat Syrien?
* Neuer Präsident lässt die Libanesen hoffen
* Israels geheimer Kontaktmann zu Syrien analysiert die Gespräche
* Syrien und Israel führen neue Friedensgespräche

Die USA hatten daraufhin 2006 die Konten von Schaukat gesperrt. Das Weiße Haus verwies auf die Rolle, die Schaukat bei der syrischen Unterstützung für den Terrorismus spiele. Als Chef des militärischen Geheimdienstes habe er „direkt zur Unterstützung des Terrorismus“ im Irak, im Libanon und durch radikale Palästinensergruppen beigetragen, begründete der damalige Regierungssprecher Scott McClellan die Maßnahme. Schaukat gilt in Geheimdienstkreisen als der Mann fürs Grobe.

Auch die Folterungen von Gefangenen soll er angeordnet haben. Dennoch kooperierte Deutschland mit dem Geheimdienstler. Beispielsweise war er im Juli 2002 zu Gast im Bundeskanzleramt. Das Treffen hatte nach offiziellen Angaben dem Austausch von Informationen zum internationalen Terrorismus dienen sollen.

Präsident Baschar al-Assad hatte Schaukat am 14. Februar 2005 zum Chef des militärischen Geheimdienstes ernannt. Es war derselbe Tag, an dem der damalige libanesische Ministerpräsident Hariri in Beirut durch einen Autobomben-Anschlag ums Leben gekommen war. Damals hieß es, dass der Präsident mit der Ernennung seines Schwagers zum Geheimdienst-Chef seinen Einfluss auf die Sicherheitsorgane stärken wollte. Bereits vor seiner offiziellen Ernennung war Schaukat der starke Mann im militärischen Sicherheitsapparat gewesen.

Das hatte er Baschar al-Assad zu verdanken, der die Heirat Schaukats mit seiner Schwester Buschra befürwortet hatte. Offenbar wollte Schaukat ihm dennoch jetzt in den Rücken fallen und selbst das Präsidentenamt übernehmen. Entsprechende Ambitionen wurden ihm seit geraumer Zeit nachgesagt.

Syrien wollte offenbar verhindern, dass Meldungen über den geplanten Putsch öffentlich werden. Es gab keine offiziellen Erklärungen oder entsprechenden Berichte.

Auf Anfrage teilte die syrische Botschaft in Deutschland denn auch mit, dass die Gerüchte nichts mit der Wirklichkeit zu tun hätten. In einer Stellungnahme heißt es: „Militärputsche gehören der Vergangenheit an. Syrien ist ein stabiles Land und spielt eine Schlüsselrolle bei der Gewährleistung der Sicherheit und Stabilität in der Nahostregion durch sein Eintreten für die Beilegung der regionalen Konflikte, wie durch die letzten Entwicklungen in der Region bewiesen. Deshalb ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass jetzt durch Gerüchte und Desinformation versucht wird, die Erfolge und die gewichtige Rolle Syriens in Misskredit zu bringen.“

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June 6th, 2008, 5:48 pm

 

55. EHSANI2 said:

I meant to say that associates of Asef were behind the feb hit

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June 6th, 2008, 5:50 pm

 

56. Qifa Nabki said:

Also, the article confirms that the Syrian embassy has denied the rumor. But Die Welt is not exactly al-Siyasa.

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June 6th, 2008, 5:56 pm

 

57. Shai said:

QN,

Thanks for the German translation. But I think you’ve got a spelling error – “Sicherheitsapparat” should be spelled with just one “p”, no? 🙂 But all jokes aside, given Bashar’s recent statement from the UAE saying that if Iran was attacked, Syria would not come to its aid, how do you think Hezbollah or Hamas would react? Let’s say that the U.S. attacks Iran, Iran lobs missiles also into Israel, which retaliates heavily. Now what do the two Iranian-backed organizations do? Sit aside, and watch it on TV? What’s your estimation?

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June 6th, 2008, 6:10 pm

 

58. EHSANI2 said:

The financial markets are ripe with rumours of a strike on Iran possibly as early as this weekend (these are markets after all). This has caused the single largest rise in crude NYMEX prices on record (in Dollar terms…up $10.57).

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June 6th, 2008, 6:22 pm

 

59. Qifa Nabki said:

Shai,

No clue. What could Syria/Hizbullah really do, offensively? Your thoughts? Let’s pray the Americans are not so stupid. Unless, of course, GWB is trying to bring about the end of days. Then I guess, it would be understandable.

Here’s an English round-up of the Die Welt piece… still can’t decide whether this is too fishy to be true:

Europe World News | Home
Berlin – A coup plot against Syrian President Bashar al- Assad was quietly crushed without the world noticing, the German newspaper Die Welt was set to report Saturday, quoting German and “foreign” intelligence sources. It said Syria’s military intelligence chief, Assef Shaukat, had plotted to seize power while Assad was hosting an Arab League meeting in Damascus in February. Shaukat, who is an in-law to the president, and 100 intelligence officers had been arrested.

Die Welt said Assad had been tipped off by Imad Mughniyah, a senior member of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization in Lebanon. Mughniyah was killed a few days later in a bomb blast on February 12 in Damascus.

The sources said it was possible that associates of Shaukat had assassinated him in revenge. Releasing the story Friday in advance of going to print, Die Welt said some of the plotters were allegedly linked to violent Islamist groups.

Die Welt said the Syrian embassy in Berlin had rejected the coup story as utterly untrue. Without naming a source, the newspaper said German diplomats were aware of the coup story but had not been able to confirm it as fact.

And here is what Stratfor said, back in February:

Syria: Reshuffling its Security Apparatus?
February 29, 2008 | 2202 GMT
Bashar al Assad and brother Maher — Take 2
RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images
A file picture dated June 13, 2000, shows Syrian President Bashar al Assad (R) and his younger brother Maher, chief of the presidential guard
Summary

Syria plans to make major changes in its entire security apparatus soon, Stratfor sources reported Feb. 28. The decision comes after the Feb. 12 assassination of key Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah in Damascus — an event that embarrassed Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime. With pressure coming from several fronts on Syria’s involvement in Lebanon, al Assad might benefit from cleaning house.
Analysis

Stratfor sources reported Feb. 28 that Syria plans to reshuffle its entire security apparatus soon in the wake of the Feb. 12 assassination of Hezbollah chief commander Imad Mughniyah. The Syrian regime, which is mightily embarrassed by the Mughniyah hit on Syrian soil, could use the event as an excuse to eliminate several key members of its security apparatus, including former head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh and Jamii Jamii, one of his key assistants — both of whom were likely involved in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

With pressure building on Syria to cut a deal over Lebanon, Syrian President Bashar al Assad might benefit from cleaning house. Syria, Hezbollah and Iran are fighting an aggressive battle in Lebanon to expand Hezbollah’s political power in the Cabinet, ensure the next Lebanese president is favorable to Syrian interests and give Syria a clean break from the tribunal for the al-Hariri assassination. A formal removal of figures like Ghazaleh and his deputy could allow al Assad to demonstrate to the West and his regional rivals that his regime is taking concrete action against suspects involved in the murder, potentially paving the way for a broader agreement on the makeup of the Lebanese government.

Removing Ghazaleh would be largely for show, however. After the Syrian army pulled out of Lebanon in April 2005, the position of chief of intelligence in Lebanon was eliminated. After that, Ghazaleh was essentially put under house arrest and has been running a security office in the town of Rif Dimashq that holds little to no significance.

Depending on how far this military reshuffle goes, certain complications could arise that could threaten the stability of the al Assad regime. The big question is whether the regime will dare to dismiss Asef Shawkat, the director-general of Syrian military intelligence, who also happens to be the president’s brother-in-law. Shawkat has long butted heads with Maher al Assad, the president’s brother and head of the Republican Guard. Though this information has not been verified, a rumor is circulating that Shawkat could have had something to do with the Mughniyah assassination. According to a source, Shawkat was on bad terms with Mughniyah and resented his influence on the Syrian army. Maher, on the other hand, had a very strong relationship with the Hezbollah commander and reportedly had an altercation with Shawkat prior to the assassination. If these rumors are true, the al Assad regime would have an interest in removing Shawkat to shore up the regime’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah following the Mughniyah assassination.

But Shawkat is a highly influential member of the Alawite-Baathist regime, and certain factions would not take his removal lightly. Family politics cannot be underestimated in a country like Syria; the al Assad clan is a subset of the Alawite sect, which in turn is a subset of the Syrian branch of the Baath Party. A rupture of any of the major fault lines in the regime could cause serious trouble on the home front. For this very reason, the Syrian president will probably not cause any major upsets within the security apparatus. U.S. warships are already parked off the Syrian coast, Saudi Arabia is taking the lead among the Gulf Arabs to isolate the Syrian regime diplomatically, and Israel is giving strong hints that it is looking for a fight with Hezbollah. With so many issues at stake, the Syrian president will need to err on the side of caution in managing family politics.

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June 6th, 2008, 6:22 pm

 

60. Observer said:

I have one point to make:
Peace is not in the stategic interest of the regime in Syria. For it does not have the following guarantees:
1. A long lasting strategic relation with the US on a par with that of Israel

2. A guarantee not to use force or the UN to change the regime

3. A continuation of the state of emergency under which the constitution is suspended since I do not know when

4. A continuation of the massive security apparatus and a hold on all the key and sub key posts in the government by a minority sect

5. A continuation of control of the economic pipeline of investments and entrepreneurship in the country in the hands of a few.

Some have objected to my saying so in the past thinking that I meant a destruction of the minorities that share power in the country: the regime needs to be uprooted completely. The regime like that of the other statelets, families, tribes, and clans does not have the two essential ingredients for a democratic process to take root:

Legitimacy

National Identity

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June 6th, 2008, 6:26 pm

 

61. EHSANI2 said:

Stratfor has got a lot wrong in the story. For starters, Asef is not Alawi contrary to common belief.

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June 6th, 2008, 6:34 pm

 

62. Qifa Nabki said:

Ehsani

What do you make of the Die Welt/Le Figaro stories? I think rumors like this have circulated in the past. Same old same old?

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June 6th, 2008, 6:37 pm

 

63. Shai said:

QN,

Syria is being wise to send all the right messages. This is very true in general, by the way, for the past 3-4 years at least. Bashar is simply playing his cards amazingly well. Imagine, even the Dubya administration has gone from no-talking to the “axis-of-evil” member, to not minding it, to interested in having Israel and Syria talk. So Syria will not do much incase of an attack on Iran. That’ll piss the Iranians off a fair bit, but like the song goes “… you don’t always get what you want…”

As for HA, it seems to me that its main raison d’etre is resisting Israeli offensive action, be it against the Lebanese, the Palestinians, and certainly against its biggest patron, Iran. Let us not forget, who rebuilt HA’s entire army, equipment, etc.? Who made sure HA once again has tens of thousands of short and medium range rockets? Not to mention quite a few long range ones as well. As the article you mentioned (Lebanon as an Iranian aircraft carrier), HA is there to serve as a formidable deterring factor against Israeli aggression. If Israel attacks Iran, what legitimate reason would HA have for not attacking Israeli cities? Because it now achieved more political power in Lebanon? The opposite, HA has already seen how despite summer 2006, and the ensuing blaming of HA for also being responsible for the deaths of 1500 innocent Lebanese citizens (not to mention the horrific damage brought upon Lebanon), what happened? HA got stronger, not weaker.

HA generates its power from anti-Israeli sentiments. And what better way to create more of it, than to force Israel to once again attack Lebanon? But this time, HA won’t be the one initiating (i.e. kidnapping IDF soldiers), but rather, responding to the the Arab’s “muslim brothers” in Iran, being attacked by the American and Zionist regimes… True, attacking Israel may end up costing HA another internal war in Lebanon. But given the recent events, pre-Doha, I don’t think HA is too worried about that happening again. After all, in theory at least, it could have taken over the country in a coup d’etat. It might consider that next time, American forces may land in Lebanon to aid the opposition, but that too might play into their hands, because they know American forces can’t stay in Beirut forever. In short, HA might be willing to sacrifice a lot of Lebanese blood, just to show support of Iran, and perhaps to gain even further power in Lebanon. I wouldn’t count on correct calculations on the part of Nasrallah. Plus, let’s not forget who may well be giving him the orders. If Iran’s attacked, I wouldn’t discount HA’s response.

Course, I’m hoping I’m wrong on all accounts. No attack on Iran, no attack by Israel, no counter attacks by HA or Hamas. Maybe I’m innately pessimistic (though I don’t think so), and though I still believe in peace in our region, and I still dream of the so-called UME, but I’m starting to sense the winds-of-war in the air. Someone, probably GWB, wants to go out with a “bang”. Olmert wants peace with Syria, Dubya wants to “kick some butt”, and renew the stockpiles of the weapons manufacturing companies, in which he owns a fair bit of shares. Who knows… He was a male-cheerleader in High School. Maybe he’s starting his Iranian “Go Hail Mary” soon…

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June 6th, 2008, 6:55 pm

 

64. ugarit said:

AIG: I believe that there may be a technological divide. However, evading radar by taking the “back way”, i.e. through Iraq, Jordan or Turkey implies that Syria’s defenses were satisfactory for a frontal attack but not a rear one. Why would Israel attack from the rear if Syria’s air defenses are inadequate? If the attack was from Iraq I don’t think Syria would have had time to scramble jet fighters to intercept the Israeli ones. What’s the closest military airport to the site?

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June 6th, 2008, 6:57 pm

 

65. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

The attack on Iran will not be this weekend. I am 100% sure. There will be an attack but there are several other things that need to be tried first.

Palace coups in dictatorial regimes are not uncommon. What would be interesting to learn is the motivation for this coup. Was it just a power grab or something more? Are there deep divisions emerging about the peace process or some other issues?

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June 6th, 2008, 7:00 pm

 

66. Qifa Nabki said:

Shai

I can’t see Hizbullah attacking Israel after a strike on Iran. Maybe I’m wrong. The 2006 war was in response to Israel’s attacking Lebanon. The reaction within Lebanon towards Hizbullah would be different for a strike in support of Iran.

Hizbullah would gain much more — politically — by just allowing the highly negative feelings (to say the least) surrounding a strike on Iran by America, to wash over its allies in Lebanon.

Just my feeling. Maybe I’m wrong.

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June 6th, 2008, 7:12 pm

 

67. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Ugarit,
Like any country, Syria always has jets in the air and some with pilots ready to take off in a moment’s notice. But the outdated Syrian migs have very little chance against the Israeli fighters.

The planes that buzzed Asad’s home came through the front door. I don’t think there is much difference.

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June 6th, 2008, 7:16 pm

 

68. Shai said:

QN,

I hope you’re right… I’m always fearful of the markets, and how they tend to “smell” things well in advance. I really hope we’re not about to go on another adventure in our region. This one could be very costly, to the entire region. Iran could target American bases, oil fields in the region, Israel, etc. In the end, it could look like a mini World War 2.5 (and not the touch-screen version, the REAL version). I really hope cooler minds will prevail.

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June 6th, 2008, 7:16 pm

 

69. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

QN,
What bad feelings? The Sunnis and Christians in Lebanon will not think better or worse of Israel and the US if they attack Iran. They are not fans of Iran and they are not fans of Israel.

I agree with you that hizballah will not attack Israel.

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June 6th, 2008, 7:18 pm

 

70. Qifa Nabki said:

AIG

They may not be fans of Iran, but a strike against it would be highly unpopular. They weren’t fans of Saddam either, and you would be hard pressed to find a single Lebanese who supports the Iraq war.

This unpopularity would reflect very badly upon the M14 bunch. They are already bending over backwards to avoid Condy’s loving embrace. The most comical was Johnny Abdo a few months ago on Kalam al-Nas. When asked the question: “Is March 14 allied with America?” he responded: “No. We are not allied with America. But America is allied with us (!!)”

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June 6th, 2008, 7:57 pm

 

71. ausamaa said:

Nobody is not going to attack nobody, the old US military doctrine built on the principale of readiness for fighting two wars on two different fronts at the same time has not been changed yet. Besides, the US AArmy is stretached very thin at the moment in terms of Men and Equipment.

Besides, fight a war for what? Destroy a couple of sites in Iran and risk opening the large doors of Hell with Iran before closing the little doors of Hell in Iraq?

No way, and risk the 130,000 US troops in Iraq and the Oil fields in Dhahran and the Hurmuz straights, and Tel Aviv and Israel coming under hundreds of types of rockets (from three or maybe four directions)?

The “urge” of hitting Iran maybe there, but the mission is not clear, the fighting will is not strong enough, the resources are not availlable, the costs are incalcuable, and not all residents of Political DC are not as stupid as its being portrayed to be.

Besides, that AIG who is today incarnating General Von Clauswitz assures us: it is not going be during weekend. There you have it!

A foot note: Never mind what the Syria’s official reported position is, but if, just if, IRAN is attacked in a serious manner, as opposed to mere theatrical air attacks stuff, Syria will be in, Hizbullah will be in, Hamas and Fateh will be in, and most dangerous of all, the Shieats of Iraq will be more “in” than any one else which is not a very attractive scenario for the Pentagon.

So, you tell us if war on Iran is a plausible option.

On the wish list, yes, on the to do list, NO WAY.

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June 6th, 2008, 11:50 pm

 

72. Qifa Nabki said:

Ausamaa said:

On the wish list, yes, on the to do list, NO WAY.

I agree. It’s sabre-rattling. And actually the White House uncharacteristically came out and insisted that they want to solve the nuke issue “diplomatically”, just hours after the Israeli minister threatened that Israel would attack Iran on its own.

Like, hint hint… we’re not willing or able; presently indisposed, that sort of thing.

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June 7th, 2008, 12:16 am

 

73. norman said:

QN,

Do you think that things reached a dead end in Lebanon .?

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June 7th, 2008, 2:05 am

 

74. Qifa Nabki said:

Ammo Norman

No, I think it will be solved in a few days. People on both sides are saying that the ministries are mostly accounted for. Aoun wants the Finance ministry, but Saniora wants Azour to keep it… a few other things, and it should be straight.

Sarkozy is visiting Saturday.

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June 7th, 2008, 2:38 am

 

75. karim said:

he Shieats of Iraq will be more “in” than any one else which is not a very attractive scenario for the Pentagon

Sahelnome Aussama ,kerbala and najaf the most sacred places for them are already occupied(,if they are not dying for their own land why will they die for the pesrians?.and the iraqi shias hate the persians unlike the lebanese of nasrolla

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June 7th, 2008, 3:19 am

 

76. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Right, the Syrians said they will not attack but they will, Hamas and Fatah (most amusing) and Hizballah will attack Israel for Iran. No they won’t. Iran will be attacked. Not this weekend but if they continue enriching uranium they certainly will be. Israel is not prone to sabre rattling. You will be hard fetched to find even ONE case in history in which Israel threatened to act and didn’t.

If the Syrians did not attack Israel for attacking Syria, will they attack Israel for attacking Iran? How stupid would that be?

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June 7th, 2008, 4:45 am

 

77. ugarit said:

AIG said: “You will be hard fetched to find even ONE case in history in which Israel threatened to act and didn’t.”

This is so true. Another insight into the dark face of Zionism. Thank you again.

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June 7th, 2008, 5:02 am

 

78. ugarit said:

AIG said:”Like any country, Syria always has jets in the air and some with pilots ready to take off in a moment’s notice.”

Yes, just like the US airforce during 911!!!

“But the outdated Syrian migs have very little chance against the Israeli fighters.

That’s quite true.

“The planes that buzzed Asad’s home came through the front door. I don’t think there is much difference.”

I ask you again if Syrian defenses are that weak (which they are) why would the attack on the alleged nuclear site have been done from the rear? What were they avoiding?

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June 7th, 2008, 5:05 am

 

79. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Yes very dark. Israel does not threaten unless it is dead serious. If we were not so dark, we would threaten but actually not do anything, say like the Arab leaders.

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June 7th, 2008, 5:07 am

 

80. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Ugarit,
Syria has migs in the air all the time. After all the flight time from Israel to Damascus is 10 minutes. Regarding the attack, there could be many reasons for attacking from different directions. For example, not wanting to fight the migs and thus making the Syrian humilation even greater. But the fact is that there were air defense systems in the area and they were taken out electronically.

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June 7th, 2008, 5:14 am

 

81. ugarit said:

AIG said: “Israel does not threaten unless it is dead serious”

Oh believe me we know. Israel threatens so often that it’s bound to fulfill one those threats. It is in fact a threat to the whole region.

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June 7th, 2008, 4:17 pm

 

82. Shai said:

AIG,

Flying at “economy cruise” (mach 2), an F-15 or F-16, crossing the Israeli border, reaches Damascus in a little over 1 minute. But against air-defense systems, that’s a lot of time.

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June 7th, 2008, 6:31 pm

 

83. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Shai,
Not really. Only if you put them on automatic and trust them to shot without human intervention.

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June 7th, 2008, 10:21 pm

 

84. Qifa Nabki said:

Suddenly everybody on SC is a military expert.

Enlightened, AIG, Shai, Ugarit…

This is a whole new side of you guys.

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June 7th, 2008, 10:48 pm

 

85. Shai said:

QN,

I imagine Naji will be (even more) concerned now… 😉

Nah, it’s pretty common knowledge, here in Israel at least. But in a way, yes, I suppose most Israelis, at least those who served in the military, would be seen as ya’ani “experts” at things to do with the army. The training they receive, and the reserves duty they continue to do for many years, is quite serious. Course, that didn’t seem to help them too much against Hezbollah, or Hamas… They’re essentially taught to fight large armies, not guerillas. But most know about F-15’s…

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June 8th, 2008, 5:51 pm

 

86. Akbar Palace said:

Ugarit said:

Israel threatens so often that it’s bound to fulfill one those threats.

Where were you the last 15 times Ahmadinejad threatened Israel (not including Hamas and the other cast of characters)?

Meethinks you’re tone deaf unless Israel sbeaks.

http://www.memri.org/

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June 9th, 2008, 2:02 am

 

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