Syria.. Again

At first I was totally against the attack on Syria mostly because I have no confidence in our political or military leadership. They have given the world the impression of confusion and weakness…mostly because that is really the way it is.

A very wise and very well recognized expert of the Levant sent me a well-reasoned argument in favor of striking Syria.  He wrote that there were a number of minuses to an attack on Syria …..

But I am also convinced that the attack will undermine Bashar’s standing in Syria, and maybe the Alawi tribal chiefs will decide it was time for him to go, the way they got rid of Hafez’s predecessor.

Everybody keeps bringing up the al Qaeda liked “Jabhat al-Nusra” as the outfit that would ultimately take over Syria if the rebels won. But there are no more then 7-10,000 of them, and I doubt that they could take over the country.

I think the rebel regulars (the Sunni defectors from the regular army) are numerous enough to get rid of them. What irritates me is the fact that nobody (maybe we) though of rounding up these defectors and re-organizing them and re-equipping them as well trained units. Instead, what we have is defectors joining a zillion militias. This has to be done, if we want the rebel regulars to win.”

After thinking about his  arguments and the fact that I respect his judgement so much I began to think he was right  and that we have to hit Assad hard……but after listening to Obama’s wishy-washy pitch on the Syria affair  a couple  of days ago, I have zero confidence that we will do anything that truly hurts Assad.

Going to congress, in my impression, is simply a CYA exercise. By Sept 9th-and it will not be decided that soon…bank on it)- the Syrians should be ready to take whatever we have planned to hit them with and boast about surviving and being stronger than ever.

Nothing brings together mutual enemies in the Arab world like weak and ineffectual pinprick attacks by Americans.

Moreover I have no confidence in our intelligence,  and like my friend’s opinion, I believe  the neo Arabists in the think tanks and academia these days are clueless.

I’m sure we can destroy a lot of government buildings, and military barracks, airfields etc, but this is a low intensity conflict being fought by the Assad irregulars loyalists like the new “National Defense Forces” trained by the  Iranian Pasdaran,  and the “shibiba” ( villagers, irregulars etc.) and on the other side, the opposition  consisting of a conglomeration of diverse clans and tribes with mixed political orientations and motives.

The weapons being used are basic infantry weapons..nothing sophisticated,  and while our “shock and awe” may work against conventional forces, I see very little being accomplished by even a week or so of attacks against the Syrian regime.  Some count on the psychological effect but the Syrians, after years of bloody conflict, are not like European Serbs. They are inured to violence and destruction.

If  we keep it up for months, gradually destroying the means of Alawi livelihood,  then I think my friend is right that the Alawi clan leaders will tell Assad it is time to go. But will the public buy that,……pictures day after day of dead civilians  given that most of this country and Europe are against any action? I am very doubtful. Ot that Obama would see it through? Even more doubtful.

I have been reading everything I can find written by all the gurus, and  expert illuminati…….. and this is clear. We have no real idea what the consequences of this contemplated action will be…world wide, regionally and even inside Syria.

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About Tex

Retired artillery colonel, many years in a number of positions in the Arab world. Graduate of the US Military Academy and the American University of Beirut. MA in Arab studies from the American University in Beirut along with 18 years as Middle East Seminar Director at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, Served in Vietnam with 1st Inf Division, Assignments in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, plus service with Trucial Oman Scouts in the Persian Gulf. Traveled to every Arab country on the map including Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
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