President Obama’s decision, now essentially official*, to appease Iran by doing nothing to help thwart the Assad regime has dire consequences for Syria. Tens of thousands of Syrians will continue to be slaughtered, many of them by barrel bombs dropped by planes the U.S. could have stopped from flying.
Samatha ( “A Problem From Hell”) Power, call your office. On second thought, don’t waste your time.
Israel also faces serious consequences from Obama’s Iran-driven Syria policy. Caroline Glick explains why.
Hezbollah is taking control of parts of Syria that border on Israel. The Syrian military reportedly has ceased to function south of Damascus. Some of these areas are held by the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front and other regime opponents. But elsewhere, Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have taken control, using the Syrian militia they have trained since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
This is is the context of the Israeli strike that killed the head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander.
The presence of these key players near the Israeli border demonstrates not only Hezbollah/Iran’s penetration, but also the significance of the area to the ambitions of Hezbollah/Iran. As Glick says, “the fact that the men were willing to risk exposure by traveling together along the border with Israel indicates how critical the front is for the regime in Tehran.” In her view, “it also indicates that in all likelihood, they were planning an imminent attack against Israel.”
The effectiveness of Hezbollah’s control of its expanded front became clear this week. Hezbollah forces shot at least five advanced Kornet antitank missiles at an IDF convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven. Almost simultaneously, Hezbollah forces on the Golan shot mortars into Israel’s Hermon area.
However, Hezbollah and the IRGC take a risk by clustering so close to the Israeli border. According to a report cited by Glick, most of the forces are in known, unfortified, above ground positions, and thus are vulnerable to Israeli air strikes.
Will Israel strike? Iran must believe it won’t. Why would it believe this? Because, says, Glick, it must believe that there is an entity deterring an attack by Israel.
You won’t need three guesses to identify the entity Glick has in mind. She writes:
The Obama administration has worked to deter Israel from striking Hezbollah and Iranian targets in Syria. Whereas Israel has a policy of never acknowledging responsibility for its military operations in Syria, in order to give President Bashar Assad an excuse to not retaliate, the US administration has repeatedly informed the media of Israeli attacks and so increased the risk that such Israeli operations will lead to counterattacks against Israel.
Iran and Hezbollah have a protector in the White House, it seems. No wonder they have the confidence to lay the groundwork for a new, potentially deadly front against Israel.
A U.S. administration that strives to deter Israel even from limited strikes against murderous Iranian controlled forces assembling near its border clearly cannot be counted on to protect Israel from Iran’s nuclear threat. If Israel wants a cessation of Iran’s progress on either front, it will have to act alone or risk waiting until 2017.
* This month, John Kerry, abandoning the administration’s past lip-service to regime change, declined to call for Assad to be removed to power in talks with the UN envoy in Syria Staffan de Mistura. Instead, Kerry told Mistura, “It is time for President Assad, the Assad regime, to put their people first and to think about the consequences of their actions. . . .” The Assad regime, no doubt, now will promptly “put their people first.”