A senior security source has told Kol Israel that Syrian President Bashar Assad is not inclined to involve Israel in the fighting should he be attacked by the U.S., and he will not attack Israel.
According to the source, Assad understands that involving Israel could end up bring critical for him. The source emphasized that the level of readiness of the IDF at this point is sufficient for an immediate response, and should Israel be attacked it would respond decisively.
Israel’s defense apparatus and the IDF are maintaining ongoing evaluations, in preparation for an American attack.
According to PBS News, Russia, too, is taking a backseat for now, while U.S. officials are preparing a military intervention in Syria.
According to public policy analyst Dimitri Simes, things could change quickly if the Russians now living in Syria were harmed. There are about 30 to 40 thousand Russians, mostly women who have married Syrians, and their children living in Syria, and should the rebels harm them, Russia would feel compelled to act against the rebels and in support of Assad.
Simes suggested an American attack on Russia’s ally could lead to closer Russian cooperation with China and Iran, including helping to bolster Iranian defenses against an Israeli or American military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and possibly the degradation of joint counterterrorism efforts with the U.S.
In an NBC interview, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. military is “ready to go” with “whatever option the president wishes to take.” Hagel also said he had been coordinating with Western allies on a response to the Syrian regime’s chemical attack on its own civilians.
Apparently, slaughtering upwards of 120 thousand of one’s own civilians is acceptable, so long as one stays off the sarin.
The ground for a military intervention was laid out by Vice President Joe Biden, who for the first time said yesterday that last week’s chemical attack could only have been perpetrated by Assad’s forces. Biden said an “essential international norm” had been violated in Syria.
“There is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria – the Syrian regime,” Biden said. “The president believes and I believe that those who use chemical weapons against defenseless men, women and children should and must be held accountable.”
Analysts expect the attack to consist, at least initially, of cruise missiles launched from U.S. and allied submarines, ships and possibly planes, firing into Syria from outside its waters and airspace, Sky News reported.
Syria’s veteran Foreign Minister Walid Muallem was relaxed, if not outright comfortable during a press conference with the Arabic speaking media, when he said, “We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal. The second choice is the best. We will defend ourselves.”
Muallem refused to speculate whether or not his boss would attempt to draw Israel into the conflict, should he be attacked.
Back in 1973, after Syrian tanks had stopped inside Israeli territory, the Israeli Air Force utilized its air superiority to attack strategic targets throughout Syria, including important power plants, petrol supplies, bridges and main roads. The strikes damaged the Syrian war effort, disrupted Soviet efforts to airlift military equipment into Syria, and disrupted normal life inside the country. It also sent much of Syria back to the stone age. The effect of that furious bombing attack was to turn Israel’s border with Syria dormant for 40 years.
Let’s hope our president, vice president and their cabinet, in their eagerness to punish Assad, would not destroy a peaceful balance that has been maintained for decades. Because the exit strategy from that one is uncertain.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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