Monday, October 30, 2006

War in Gaza

Prediction: Israel will attack Gaza and reoccupy some parts to stop the daily rocket attacks and stem the porous Egyptian weapons pipeline. Fatah and Egypt will quietly aid the Israelis. Syria will take the opportunity to attack and try and retake the Golan Heights. Syria thinks that because Israel “lost” against Hezbollah that Israel is now beatable. Like ME despots before him, Assad will of course be proven to have grossly miscalculated.

The Knesset took a strong turn to the right with the election of Avigdor Lieberman into the government. I had heard that the IDF was going to petition the Knesset to let them go back into Gaza. Olmert has said Israel is preparing extensive Gaza operations. Syria has been making noises since the end of the Hezbollah Israeli war.
Assad’s latest declarations reflect his (and his regime’s) growing self-confidence. From his perspective, Syria is now in a “win-win” situation; every development will play to its advantage. A glance through the Syrian prism at three possible scenarios shows how might all (sic) be expected to develop positively:

1. Initiation of negotiations for a comprehensive Syrian-Israeli peace agreement
2. Launching a “popular struggle” to regain the Golan
3. A major Israeli war against Syria
I can’t see #1 anytime soon, not until Lebanon begins to fulfill its obligations vis a vis Hezbollah, not to mention Syria’s support for same. Israel will not willingly open a second front, especially if they actually let the IDF loose to do what must be done. So Assad’s only option is to attack the Golan, even if only by proxy. Again it will not be a win for Syria but even if Assad gets his nose bloodied if the regime is still in existence afterward he will be hailed as a hero who stood up to Israel.

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