Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Syria

Operation Strange Bedfellows

Smoke from clashes between Syrian rebels and regime forces near Quneitra crossing of Golan HeightsThe last ten years have witnessed some of the strangest contortions in Middle Eastern political history. Tracking the maneuvers and realignments of Lebanese, Syrian, Qatari, Turkish, Palestinian, Saudi, and Israeli leaders as they navigated the shoals of SALSRA, the STL, the Doha Accord, the July War, the Iraq War, the Turkish flotilla incident, Operation Cast Lead, the 2008 global recession, and the Arab uprisings is a case study in the fickleness of regional relations.

In 2004, Michel Aoun was convincing American lawmakers to disarm Hizbullah and kick Syria out of Lebanon along with its political ally, Rafiq al-Hariri. In 2006, Aoun allied his party with Syria and Hizbullah, while Hariri’s son took up the mantle of anti-Resistance resistance. In January 2011, Turkey and Qatar were cozying up to Bashar al-Assad as Europe welcomed him back into the embrace of the international community. Today, Turkey and Qatar are helping to coordinate and fund the rebellion against him while Europe considers other military options.

Along these lines, two news items caught my eye today. The first is from Lebanon’s The Daily Star:

SAADNAYEL, Lebanon: Some 1,500 packages of food aid donated by Hezbollah were burned by Palestinian refugees from Syria and local residents in the Bekaa Wednesday, the second such incident in a week. Omar Halabi, the head of the Saadnayel Youth League, told The Daily Star that a truck with boxes of aid was unloaded in the morning at the offices of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Halabi said when the aid was distributed, the refugees noticed the labels attached to each package explaining that the aid was a gift from the “Islamic Resistance in Lebanon to our brethren, the displaced Palestinians from Syria.”

“When the refugees realized that the aid was from the same party which is killing their people in Qusair and in other places, they, with dozens of locals, took the boxes from the Palestinian Cultural Center and burned them,” Halabi said.

Cynics will say that the refugees were paid off by Saudi Arabia to burn the Hizbullah aid packages, while a reporter from the Hariri-owned Daily Star took notes and snapped pictures. Maybe so. On the other hand, this scene would have been unimaginable a year ago.

Meanwhile, from the NYT

JERUSALEM — Rebels fighting the Syrian government seized the only border crossing along the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line in the Golan Heights on Thursday, according to the Israeli military and rebel groups, forcing the United Nations peacekeeping soldiers who patrol the crossing to vacate it and bringing the Syrian conflict ever closer to Israeli-held territory…

Amnon Sofrin, a retired Israeli brigadier-general who now lectures at Israel’s National Defense College, told reporters in a telephone briefing that the rebels were sending a message to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria that they were prepared to attack the government’s symbols after Syrian government forces and their Hezbollah allies from Lebanon pushed the rebels out of their symbolic stronghold of Qusayr this week.

Mr. Sofrin said that if the United Nations peacekeeping force withdrew, the buffer zone on the Golan Heights would become “a no-man’s land” where Israel might have to face the rebels more directly.

So let’s get this straight. On the same day that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon burn aid packages donated by Hizbullah, Israel mulls military options to deal with Hizbullah’s opponents in Syria.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s news, which will feature Kurds rallying in support of Erdogan, Al-Qaida thanking America for its military largesse, and Israel providing air cover for Hizbullah’s attack on Jabhat al-Nusra positions near the Golan border.

Discussion

49 thoughts on “Operation Strange Bedfellows

  1. “Stay tuned for tomorrow’s news, which will feature Kurds rallying in support of Erdogan, Al-Qaida thanking America for its military largesse, and Israel providing air cover for Hizbullah’s attack on Jabhat al-Nusra positions near the Golan border”

    All plausible and not far fetched! Kurds are in alignment with Erdogan and fighting the rebels in the north East Syria. Turks are helping them fight off the Syrian rebels in support of Bashar…Weird eh? Sure so that they do not ask for an independent Kurdistan.

    Al Qaeda in the name of Bin laden and his followers have always been thankful to CIA for buiding it up during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

    As for Israel; it will give cover to the devil as far as it meets its designs of keeping the stupid arabs fighting each other and fragmented.

    Posted by danny | June 6, 2013, 5:01 pm
  2. @DANNY that’s a very inaccurate description, the Kurds in Syria are mostly fighting against the rebels who are supported by Erdogan, but politically they are divided between supporting the regime and supporting the revolutiony. but Turks are definitely not helping the Kurds fight off the rebels, on the contrary. on the other hand Kurds in Turkey are also divided between supporting Erdogan fearing a nationalist take-over that will ruin the peace process between the government and the PKK (pro-Syrian regime), and supporting the protests in Turkey. these protests were started by leftists including Kurds from the BDP, but the large numbers that came out later were Turkish nationalists and some of them believe Erdogan is a traitor for making peace with the PKK. it’s a very complex issue.

    Posted by Raami | June 6, 2013, 6:00 pm
  3. Strange Bedfellows? Given COS Benny Gantz’ revelation of Israeli plans to offer refuge to Alawites fleeing post-Assad Syria, it’s all game:

    “So as a bit of a propaganda coup, and perhaps geopolitical smartness, Israel is making it known that it is willing to resettle Alawites in the Golan Heights. The propaganda coup portion comes from the fact Syria’s Alawite-controlled government has been demanding the return of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, for decades. It would be deeply ironic for the Israel-annexed Golan Heights to be the Alawites’ safe haven from Sunni Syria. ”
    http://www.geographictravels.com/2012/01/israel-preparing-to-resettle-syrian.html

    Posted by lally | June 6, 2013, 7:58 pm
  4. Every day this blog sinks lower and lower. It has one ideological aim: use rumors to blacken as much as possible any non-NATO aligned entity.
    You want strange bedfellows? How about the Syrian “democrats” and the Saudi and Qatari despots (that one needs no convincing, I hope)? How about Al Nosra and F UK US (for two years they have sponsored them)? How about Israel and the so-called FSA (they bombed Syria 3 times on their behalf)? How about Siniora and IDF (he asked for a few more days of carpet bombing from Israel so that his political enemies are destroyed)? How about Geagea and Syrian jihadists (the islamist jihadists have been training at the hand of these fascist falange)?

    Posted by Hossni El Borazan | June 7, 2013, 12:44 am
  5. What is important to note is that at the first sign of danger the Austrian “peace keepers”, decided to leave. In short, let’s not count on the UN for any “peace keeping” in Syria.

    What a great neighborhood we live in… They did not have this much fun in Scandinavia since the Napoleonic wars. They must be jealous.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 12:57 am
  6. Not surprising considering the many conflicts that converge in Syria. This quote from Patrick Cockburn’s article summarizes it very well :.

    ” Five distinct conflicts have become tangled together in Syria: a popular uprising against a dictatorship which is also a sectarian battle between Sunnis and the Alawite sect; a regional struggle between Shia and Sunni which is also a decades-old conflict between an Iranian-led grouping and Iran’s traditional enemies, notably the US and Saudi Arabia. Finally, at another level, there is a reborn Cold War confrontation: Russia and China v. the West. The conflict is full of unexpected and absurd contradictions, such as a purportedly democratic and secular Syrian opposition being funded by the absolute monarchies of the Gulf who are also fundamentalist Sunnis.” (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n11/patrick-cockburn/is-it-the-end-of-sykes-picot).

    Downplay one of the conflicts and you end up a with a conspiracy theory of arch-enemies secretly being in cahoots.
    While in reality they are cooperating tactically to gain advantage in completely different conflicts with different agendas. This complication also explains why some countries like the US are cautious.

    These conflicts won’t be settled any time soon and will reshape the Middle East and North Africa for the rest of the century. Interestingly after the Syrian crisis there is much talk about ending the Sykes-Picot agreement which the Arabs always resented. It seems there will be redrawing of national borders (my bets are on independent Kurdistan to start with). And the alliances will shift dramatically after that. The involvement of Hezbollah in Syria can be viewed also from the angle of redrawing the map of the Middle East. Maybe we will see a much larger Greater Lebanon?

    I wonder what would have happened if Saddam did the occupation of Kuwait in 2013 instead o 1990?

    Posted by XP | June 7, 2013, 3:00 am
  7. “We’re witnessing a titanic event, the crack-up of a long-tottering civilization.” Ralph Peters in a recent NY Post column writing about the Arab/Midteastern current messes.

    The rot of the last few decades ,or longer, has come home to roost. Everyday of my life, I saw in the region examples, large and small, of nonsensical and outrageous things, and to this day…wondering how is this sustainable…

    Kiss Sykes-Picot goodbye, and the delightful irony is that all the leftist anti-imperialist intellectuals who ranted against it for years are now worried and dismayed…[GASP]. It may actually be happening. Mabrouk!

    Posted by OldHand | June 7, 2013, 5:50 am
  8. Hossni ya Hossni

    Al Nusra is on the US terror list, and is the reason that the Americans are squeamish about sending arms to Syria. As for the Syrian “democrats”, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single news report in the Western press that describes the opposition as democrats. They’ve given up on that myth, so why are you trying to recycle it in order to create a straw man? And Geagea is training Syrian jihadists? Interesting. Send me a link.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 7, 2013, 6:19 am
  9. QN you are stepping on the feet of many resistanics these days. they are angry and unhappy with your views.

    Posted by RM | June 7, 2013, 6:54 am
  10. the LAF says :

    <>

    There is no plot. It is in your face open war with HA as the principle actor sending troops in Syria. the LAF is willfully delusional here.

    <>

    In recent days?? Why is not the LAF stopping HA (and other non state actors) from crossing the border? does LAF accept the crazy idea that meddling in Syria will not backfire on us??

    Posted by RM | June 7, 2013, 7:00 am
  11. What a great neighborhood we live in…

    Then why are property values so high?!

    Hypothetical question to anyone interested:

    If Bashar Assad were assassinated, would that make a difference in ending the civil war there? Who would be appointed as the next President? Brother Maher? What happened to Majid Assad?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 7:01 am
  12. the LAF says :

    Lebanese army slams “plot” to embroil country in Syrian war

    -There is no plot. It is in your face open war with HA as the principle actor sending troops in Syria. the LAF is willfully delusional here.

    the LAF says

    “But in recent days, some groups have seemed determined to stoke security tensions… against the backdrop of the political divisions in Lebanon over military developments in Syria

    -In recent days?? Why is not the LAF stopping HA (and other non state actors) from crossing the border? does LAF accept the crazy idea that meddling in Syria will not backfire on us??

    Posted by RM | June 7, 2013, 7:04 am
  13. XP said: “Downplay one of the conflicts and you end up a with a conspiracy theory of arch-enemies secretly being in cahoots. While in reality they are cooperating tactically to gain advantage in completely different conflicts with different agendas. This complication also explains why some countries like the US are cautious.”

    I agree with you, and my post was meant to simply highlight one of the odd epiphenomena of the conflict, not to suggest that there is any coordination taking place between Israel and Hizbullah. That would be absurd.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 7, 2013, 7:14 am
  14. Daily Star is Hariri-owned! Well that explains everything. Another fully partisan news outlet, that’s all.. What a shame. Independent, authentic news reporting and opinion again proven nearly non-existent in Lebanon and English speaking Lebanese, foreign residents and other observers need to find an alternative English-language news source. What is the point of looking for legitimacy in a partisan paper? Once a long time fan of the Daily Star but for a few years now it has become a lost cause. Now I understand why. It should be renamed for its crafty and partisan infusion of news and editorial or simply shut down like the previous Monday Morning magazine.

    Posted by foxnewsjaded | June 7, 2013, 7:27 am
  15. I guess you liked the DS when owned by Berri lol.

    Posted by danny | June 7, 2013, 8:53 am
  16. Charles Krauthammer continues to shread “Big O’s” foreign policy (or lack thereof):

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-message-from-the-ruins-of-qusair/2013/06/06/32b64cc0-ced9-11e2-8f6b-67f40e176f03_story.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 9:11 am
  17. Yeah, Krauthammer’s piece is devastating.

    I saw that State dept girl (yes, girl) vacuously spout that HA and should leave Syria after they had won in Qousseir, that’ll scare them and Putin. What a friggin joke.

    As to JFK, Jean Francois Kerry, he is a pompadoured gigolo barely more useful that his Arab League diplomat counterparts.

    Heres’ Kraut’s last paragraph, just for kicks:
    “You’re fighting for your life. You have your choice of allies: Obama bearing “international legitimacy” and a risible White House statement that “Hezbollah and Iran should immediately withdraw their fighters from Syria” or Putin bearing Russian naval protection, Iranian arms shipments and thousands of Hezbollah fighters. Which do you choose?”

    Posted by OldHand | June 7, 2013, 9:30 am
  18. Lest anyone mistake my silence for acquiescence, let me state for the record that I find Charles Krauthammer to be a silly ideologue with nothing worthwhile to say (yes, a silly ideologue with nothing worthwhile to say).

    Just as I find OldHand’s disparaging comments about “that State dept girl” and Kerry the “pompadoured gigolo” to be disturbing. Why not just call Obama “boy” and spare us the suspense?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 7, 2013, 9:37 am
  19. OldHand,

    But if you look at all the comments under the article, you’ll find that almost all the responses are “leave those crazy muslims alone to kill each other; we shouldn’t get involved”.

    American just doesn’t want to fight for our interests anymore. How sad.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 9:38 am
  20. QN,

    Stop calling Charles Krauthammer a “silly ideologue”. I find that disturbing!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 9:39 am
  21. Seasoned journalists used to hold sway at the Daily Star like most foreign correspondents covering the civil war. It has since become simply an acutely selfish enterprise with fully compromised writing integrity with huge gaps and omission of news making it extremely partisan and unreliable as a serious news source.

    Posted by foxnewsjaded | June 7, 2013, 9:56 am
  22. First, to answer the Krauthammer question directly: I would chose the US under any president over Russia. That is a no brainer.

    As for the specific case of Syria, yes, the Russians and Iranians are “all in” while the US isn’t. The Russians and Iranians are much more committed to having Assad stay than the US (and the West including Israel) is committed to seeing him go. They have proven so with their actions.

    Why should the US be committed to seeing Assad go? The US and its allies were not in the Syrian regime change business before the mess started. The most they were hoping for was to see Syria move away from Iran. The US interest is a weakened Syria and Iran and so as far as the US goes the battle has been won. Iran and Hezbollah have taken a major hit in influence in the Arab world, some would say an irreparable one, and Syria is in a no win position. Even if Assad wins on the battlefield, it is a Pyrrhic victory. Syrian cities will be devastated, the economy gone, sectarian hatred will reach catastrophic heights and he will still be under sanctions and with no access to Western or Gulf money and technology to rebuild. Syria will be a hell hole. Not to mention that Syria will remain a jihadi magnet and a money pit for the Iranians.

    I think Obama’s strategy is cynical but given the fact that any other course of action would in my opinion have little chance of making things better and carries the risk of the US owning the Syrian mess, Obama is doing the right thing.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 10:12 am
  23. AIG,

    You assume that Assad, Iran and Hezbollah are going to be mired in the Syria civil war and Russia will be the worse for it.

    I think Assad, Iran and Hezbollah will come out of this stronger. They answer to no one. Demonstrators get shot. End of story. Money? No problem. Steal from the poor. If the poor demonstrate do back to shooting.

    Iran is gaining everywhere: Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Who’s next? Hezbollah is gaining. And there are no brakes on the car.

    Israel will be left to clean the region of missiles instead of seeing these actors side-lined. Can she do it? Instead of seeing Iran and Hezbollah return home with their tails between their legs, they’re running the show, all because of US fecklessness.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 10:50 am
  24. AP,

    Let’s assume that Assad wins the war. How will Syria and Hezbollah be stronger than before? Syria is already devastated, how will they rebuild? There is no one to steal the money from. It will come out of Iranian and Russian pockets if at all. Ok, they shot demonstrators, so what is new? How does that make them stronger?

    When you say Iran is gaining, give me a concrete example. What will they be able to do after Assad wins in Syria that they can’t do now? Same for Hezbollah. It will be the same situation as before the mess only with a devastated Syria and a much less popular Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 11:08 am
  25. AP,

    Do you want to own this:
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/06/07/uk-syria-crisis-aid-idUKBRE9560J320130607

    Let the Iranians and Russians deal with it. Syria is going to be a huge money pit for a long time.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 11:18 am
  26. Let’s assume that Assad wins the war. How will Syria and Hezbollah be stronger than before?

    AIG.

    They are all stronger because they broke the unwritten stability that we had these past 40 years. Russia had no need to provide the latest missiles and fighter aircraft. They tested American resolve. Perhaps they were more cautious before. Now they tested US resolve and they found the US won’t do anything. Only Israel will do something, but Israel is quite finite politically and militarily.

    Syria is already devastated, how will they rebuild?

    Really? The only people devastated are the opposition. Assad doesn’t have to rebuild Jack.

    There is no one to steal the money from. It will come out of Iranian and Russian pockets if at all.

    Yup. They’ll find money.

    How does that make them stronger?

    Speaking of domino effect, Iran is taking over the Northern half of the ME. No one is challenging them except the Sunnis, who could be a valuable ally. We basically peed on their broken bodies. I don’t believe the Sunnis and their jihadist militants can continue fighting Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah. They may stop fighting.

    If the fighting winds down, the next step is Hezbollah taking more control of Lebanon and Iran having more influence in Turkey. Egypt may fall into the Iranian sphere next. How do you feel about Hezbollah fighting Israel from the Sinai? This is my example of how well the Iranian sphere has expanded.

    The Qusair fight may have been a turning point. Throwing Assad out would have been a huge blow to Iranian hegemony. Huge.

    And none of this would be possible if the US had a no fly zone over Syria, like there was over Libya. None.

    Anyway, we’re all just kickin’ the can until the big one.

    No, I don’t want to “own” anything except the skies over Syria. Ze hoo!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 11:40 am
  27. Does anyone here know anything about Abu Hassan Nasrallah?

    Posted by Whatever | June 7, 2013, 11:55 am
  28. AP,

    What does it mean that Assad does not have to rebuild jack? We are assuming that he wins the war. So he just leaves what is broken, broken?

    Saying they will find money is easy. Where will it come from?

    How is Iran taking over anything? You still failed to explain why they will have anything more than they had when the mess started.

    If you own the skies over Syria, you are responsible for what happens in Syria. You can’t have it both ways. And let’s say that there is a technical mal-function and a US pilot has to bail. How do you plan getting him back? Do you have a plan for that also?

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 12:10 pm
  29. Whatever,

    You mean the next president of Lebanon? No. Try a Google search.

    Meanwhile, Syria Comment is already claiming victory. Assad will be president for another generation…

    http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/ayman-al-zawahiri-rants-about-syria/?cp=all

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 12:11 pm
  30. AP,

    Let them claim victory. Who cares? The more Assad stays, the weaker Syria becomes. Non transient strength comes from economic growth and technological advancement. All the rest is temporary and illusory. These two things are exactly what Syria lacks and will lack under Assad.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 12:22 pm
  31. So he just leaves what is broken, broken?

    AIG,

    Well, as I tell my wife after dinner, you can clean the dishes, but I’m not! 😉

    He left Kunetra in ruin. He can make each city a museum, e.g. the Aleppo Terror Museum. Look what the terrorists did to beautiful Aleppo…

    Iranian, Russian, perhaps Chinese oil, gold, drugs, credit, donations, bake sales…

    Iran will have influence. It isn’t tangible. Governments will agree with them and field their weapons. And vote with them in international arenas. Israel lost a key ally in Turkey. Turkey has moved closer to Iran recently except for this crisis in Syria. If Iran wins, Turkey will let bygones be bygones.

    If you own the skies over Syria, you are responsible for what happens in Syria.

    Says who?

    You can have it anyway you want. Just ask GWB. If Iran, Hezbollah and Russia can have anyway THEY want, I suggest playing the same game.

    If a pilot falls into the hands of the enemy, it would be the first one. You sent in a rapid strike force to extract him or he’s toast. Look, why to we have a $600 billion defense budget if we don’t use it?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 12:23 pm
  32. AP,

    If Syria remains broken, it remains weak, it does not grow stronger.

    Why will Iran have more influence than before? You still have not explained this point. Basing an argument on intangibles is very easy, because then you don’t have to actually discuss them since they are intangibles.

    The US cannot play the same game as Russia and Iran. You know that. That is a great advantage of the US. GWB was responsible for Iraq and all the blood and treasure wasted there after Saddam fell for very minimal gains if any.

    You send a rapid strike team? Let’s be serious. If the pilot is held by the Syrian army you are not getting him/her back with a “rapid strike team”. You will have the dreaded “boots on the ground” scenario. There are so many pitfalls with so little to gain. It is so easy to get sucked in but much harder to get out. Obama is being wise.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 12:41 pm
  33. All the doors are open … but there’s no way out.

    Posted by Whatever | June 7, 2013, 1:06 pm
  34. –You can disagree with Krauthammer but on one point, he is right :the US looks feckless. You want to be uninvolved? Stay out and don’t draw red lines and make the country look weak and irresolute.

    –The State Dept (or WH?) spokeswoman looked like a wide-eyed 25 year old, totally out of her depth talking about HA, Assad and the Iranians. As someone who has been under the bombs while listening to similar crap (useless condemnations etc), I have a sense of the frustration such comments bring, besides making the US look like a chump. So if the shoe fits… (and to hell with PC-ness)

    –On Kerry, OK the words were perhaps over the top , but come on lighten up,we need to have some fun, he is a rich powerful white man, the only kind we can make fun of. Plus, trust me, he was my senator for years: he is useless and he’s the one making a fuss about his hair.

    Posted by OldHand | June 7, 2013, 1:10 pm
  35. Oldhand,

    I agree that drawing lines was not smart and that talking without meaning to act makes one look like a fool. But ignoring what happened is not a good option also. You got to say something. So the US condemned the action. What else could it do? Better to look foolish chumps short term than to own the Syrian problem. Nobody is denying that what the US is doing is cynical, but it is still the best course of action in my opinion.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 1:29 pm
  36. If Syria remains broken, it remains weak, it does not grow stronger.

    Define weak. The Sunni majority is losing this civil war. Against an Alawi minority.

    Why will Iran have more influence than before?

    Perceived and real power. Iran is sending warships to the Mediterranean and up the Suez. They’re sending arms wherever they want w/o paying any consequences. Why did Turkey leave Israel and cozy up to Iran? You back “the US under any president over Russia”, but a LOT of countries don’t. Why? Now we have the BRIC nations: Brazil, Russia, India and China. You think THEY’LL vote like the US in the United Nations? Do you think they give a fig? Why not? Because the US is losing friends and not influencing people. The US has a bad case of acne on the teeny-bopper world stage.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRIC

    You still have not explained this point. Basing an argument on intangibles is very easy, because then you don’t have to actually discuss them since they are intangibles.

    True. But you use the terms “weak” and “broken”, which does not necessarily equate to GDP, high tech, or success on the battlefield. It has to do with motivation, and long-term success.

    The US cannot play the same game as Russia and Iran. You know that.

    I’m not sure what you mean. The US is sending drones around the world to kill individual terrorists. What is Russia doing? They’re arming terrorists. Russia and the US can do what they want and they can justify it with a veto in the UNSC.

    That is a great advantage of the US. GWB was responsible for Iraq and all the blood and treasure wasted there after Saddam fell for very minimal gains if any.

    True. Hindsight being 20/20, the US should have done the same with Iraq as she did versus Libya. Cut off the head, create a power-vacuum, and let whoever wants to, fill the vacuum. Like Iran today. The point is, Iran is a danger to the ME. And the Saudis and the majority sunnis do not need to be convinced of this. And what are we going to do to stop it? OTOH, no one knew Iraq wouldn’t be able to protect herself with billions of dollars and that wonderful US support. Iraq failed too.

    It is so easy to get sucked in but much harder to get out. Obama is being wise.

    The US should have sent a drone over the Damascus Opera last year. High value target. It won’t be the last opportunity.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 1:43 pm
  37. AP,

    The baseline scenario is right before the mess started. If Assad returns to ruling Syria but with the country devastated how is he not weaker?

    Iran is not paying the consequences? Just google about their inflation and economic problems. The sanctions are not perfect but quite biting.

    The US cannot just walk away from problems it is involved in. It cannot disown Syria once it owns it.

    In Syria, why not use foresight and admit that much can go wrong and that what can go wrong greatly outweighs any possible benefit?

    Killing Assad will not solve any problem. The regime is not a one man show.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 1:53 pm
  38. AIG,

    Ok. I give up. You win. Iran is hurting. All will be well.

    I was just playing Devil’s (neocon) advocate…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 2:15 pm
  39. AP,

    I did not say “all be well”. I said it would be better for the US if it limited its involvement in Syria to indirectly supporting the rebels through its allies in the middle east. It would be nice if the US could snap its fingers and a liberal democracy would emerge in Syria but the realistic options are quite glum.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 2:32 pm
  40. AP,

    You are looking at it as a Jew…AIG; is looking at this as an Israeli Jew. For him (Israel); a broken down Assad is better then the alternative. Irrespective of Iran’s influence; Israel does not want another MB run state next door. Israel rather have the HA & Al Qaeda (Sunni vs. Shia) duke it out in Syria…The way it enjoyed seeing Lebanon disintegrate for years.

    Posted by danny | June 7, 2013, 2:38 pm
  41. Danny,

    And what is the advantage for the US of an MB run state in Syria and why is that worth all the risk? That is by the way, one of the more benign outcomes. How about a few Al-Qaida statelets emerging also?

    I am not looking at this as an Israeli. I am trying to put myself in Obama’s shoes.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 2:45 pm
  42. I did not say it’s worth the risk. In my opinion it is too late to get involved. If I were in Bibi’s shoes; I’d prefer the Assad rather then a blood hungry MB asking for the Golan as yet.. Also, strengthening the Shia/Iran works better for Israel’s plan of pitting the stronger Sunni against the propped up Shia/Iran. Throw some blood in the water and let the sharks swim…
    Israel has not had a better year watching all these turmoil unfold!

    As for Obama; he will do whatever Bibi desires!

    Posted by danny | June 7, 2013, 2:55 pm
  43. Israel does not want another MB run state next door.

    And Hezbollah ISN’T the MB?? BTW – Who is honoring the peace treaty with Israel? The MB in Egypt.

    And who is amassing the best missile technology on Israel’s border? Hezbollah.

    I don’t see the big diff.

    Israel rather have the HA & Al Qaeda (Sunni vs. Shia) duke it out in Syria…The way it enjoyed seeing Lebanon disintegrate for years.

    I’d rather give Syria the opportunity to have a democracy even if there is less than a 50/50 chance. I don’t trust Assad and Hezbollah any more than al-Queda.

    I think we should arm Danny and Vulcan. I wouldn’t give QN anything except maybe a cap gun.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 3:07 pm
  44. Danny,

    Whoever rules Syria, including the MB is not going to be a danger to Israel. Take the MB. You can see the template from Egypt. They will need loans just to keep the economy alive, let alone rebuild. How are they going to get them if they start messing with Israel?

    I prefer the MB marginally to Assad because they will be a constant threat to Hezbollah in Lebanon and lower even more the risk of a Lebanese-Israeli war.

    Posted by AIG | June 7, 2013, 3:07 pm
  45. “And who is amassing the best missile technology on Israel’s border? Hezbollah”

    Are you serious? Don’t make me laugh. 😀

    “I’d rather give Syria the opportunity to have a democracy even if there is less than a 50/50 chance. I don’t trust Assad and Hezbollah any more than al-Queda”

    That’s you my man. Not Bibi and never any Israeli PM.

    Posted by danny | June 7, 2013, 3:10 pm
  46. That’s you my man. Not Bibi and never any Israeli PM.

    Well yeah. All Bibi is doing is watching.

    I agree with AIG, the MB looks like a reasonable alternative, however, I don’t think they’re a factor in Syria. It looks like the head-choppers are the only Sunnis making waves.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 7, 2013, 3:15 pm
  47. AP,

    I’m not a fan of conventional weapons. I only prefer “tip burning” rockets, produced at the infamous Our Lady of Cultivation site… Stay tuned for rapid developments on a scale you have never witnessed before.

    Professor, I’m heading to Beirut in 2 days, not responsible if my posts get a lil crazy 😉

    Posted by Vulcan | June 7, 2013, 4:14 pm
  48. It’s pretty ironic that after years of the conventional wisdom being that Israel prefers a “secular” Assad regime in Syria over the threat of a MB Syria, now we have AIG saying he prefers a MB Syria over Assad.

    Mind you, I totally get why. The logic makes sense. But it’s just funny how these things have a way of going around and coming back in ironic ways.

    Stay tuned , soon HA announces they prefer a Zionist Israel over a Sunni-dominated Middle East.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 7, 2013, 6:13 pm
  49. Interesting offer from Russia!

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4389558,00.html

    Posted by Vulcan | June 7, 2013, 7:26 pm

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