Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Obama cannot let Assad win, & he has told national security aides that the Syrian president 'must be brought down before the end of the year!'"

'Harper' said...
... First, I understand that there was no real evidence that the missiles were to be imminently shipped to Lebanon. What happened last week is that the Syrian Army retook control over a crucial corridor from Damascus to the Lebanese border, that had been held by rebels for a number of months. Israel has been fully in on the series of consultations by the Obama Administration in the past several weeks, that also involved Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Jordan (in fact a story in the Sunday Times of London claims that the US is organizing a "MEATO" Middle East Alliance Treaty Organization directed at "containing" Iran. Israeli leaders have been told that the US response to the CW claims is to begin providing lethal aid to the rebels, in spite of the strong JCS concerns about the Salafists growing clout in the opposition, fully backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In anticipation of the lethal aid, Israel decided to launch preventive strikes against known sites where Hezbollah missiles are stored for safe keeping inside Syria, expecting that the "game changing" missiles could be sent to Lebanon at any time given the advances that were made on the strategic corridors. Times of Israel reported last week that Assad could win the war. Obama cannot let that happen, and he has told national security aides that Assad must be brought down before the end of the year. The Iranian presidential elections in June will put the Iran nuclear issue back front burner, regardless of who wins the election and what level of popular protest emerges. After pushback from the JCS against further military involvement in Syria (Dempsey gave a luncheon with defense reporters at the Christian Science Monitor and said bluntly that there were no military options in Syria), Netanyahu got cabinet authorization to launch the preemptive strikes on Syria on Thursday night. The second round of attacks on Sunday, truly do up the ante significantly, but I do not believe that this is an Israel-only initiative. If forces the hand of the US potentially, but will be applauded in Riyad, Ankara, London and Paris. The safe bet is that Obama is no Eisenhower, and he will not do a replay of Ike's demand that the British, French and Israelis leave the Sinai in 1956. The Israel play is to force the issue with all the allies and reverse the gains made by Assad's forces in the past few weeks. Israel was late coming into the dump-Assad alliance for obvious and sound reasons. But I am told that Bibi is convinced that Assad will be ousted this year, and is accommodating to that reality and positioning Israel to get the most out of a deteriorating situation. He has already declared war on the Al Nusra Front and other Al Qaeda elements of the opposition, and the US is training vetted units of the Free Syrian Army in Jordan, including to capture and control chemical weapons. If the phase of the Syria campaign to oust Assad was a bloody mess, wait for the next phase.'

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