Thursday, July 30, 2015

BELLS OF PANIC MUST STOP TOLLING; Ghassan Kadi. 30 July 2015

BELLS OF PANIC MUST STOP TOLLING:

Ghassan Kadi

30 July 2015


The bells of panic toll again, and this time they are being pulled by the ropes of recent events in Northern Syria.


This story repeats itself everytime there is a turn in the events of the War On Syria, and sadly, many observers and analysts, including highly intelligent ones fall into the traps of despair.


The same people who panicked in March 2011, panicked again in August 2013 in the face of an imminent NATO-led attack. Panic became a habit and was turned into fearmongering when NATO decided to start striking ISIS in Syria.


In all of the above situations, and many other minor ones, analysis of events clearly showed that such wide-based NATO-led attack was highly unlikely. As I have put forward the arguments, there were many criticisms, some made very rudely, and fortunately the counterargument proved to be wrong and Syria remains standing with NATO unable to strike it.


The bells of panic are ringing again in relation to the new role of Turkey.


Over the last week only, I had to write two articles in an attempt to dispel the myth of yet a new threat that is going to break Syria’s back. There is no need to repeat the same argument. For those interested in looking at it (if they haven’t yet) they can go to those articles are read them.


The focus herein will be to clarify Turkey’s position even more.


If someone believes that the initial coalition of forces that initiated the War On Syria back in March 2011 is still united, then there is really no point trying to convince him/her otherwise.


“…You think they are united, but their hearts are apart…” Holy Quran, Al-Hasher (59:13). Such is the station of unity of the forces of evil; each after his own bounty.


I have written over and over again about the history of America with Islamists; how the two can get together at times and then break apart when their interests diverge. To be unable to see that the interests of ISIS and the US in Syria have fallen apart is again something that no one can convince any other of. One either sees it or doesn’t.


America is in a tough bind in every respect, and it has been trying for some time to disengage from the Middle East with minimal losses and as much gains as possible. Its recent deal with Iran is part-and-parcel of this disengagement. This is leaving its regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia very upset and concerned, but America is sunk to the hilt in debt and crises with Russia and China. It needs to focus on saving its own skin.


Ever since America decided to strike ISIS, the big stick in the mud was Turkey.

“What is in it for me?” was Erdogan’s question, not literally, not in a manner to be literally quoted, but that was his stand.


Erdogan is an Islamist, but he only wants to support Islamist organizations that are answerable to him. Ideologically, there is no difference between ISIS and Al-Nusra, but ISIS does not take orders from Erdogan. This did not stop him from supporting it especially after they became the dominant rebel group in Syria. He supported them because they were the only force on the ground that was prepred to fight his major enemies; the Kurds.

For Erdogan to accept an all-out war on ISIS was unfathomable because that would inadvertently mean empowering the Kurds. At “best”, ISIS was seen by Erdogan as the enemy’s enemy. The common enemy (the Kurds) brought the two monsters together just like the hatred of Syria brought many monsters together before.


Thus, America’s interests and those of Turkey became at odds. But their historic alliance had to weather the storm. After all, they are both formal states not gangs like those fighting the Syrian Army together one day and then fighting each other the next.


It was not a slip of the tongue when Biden overtly spoke of Turkey supporting terrorism. The apology he made later did not and cannot take back his words. But as usual, diplomacy sometimes means to sit back and wait for the opportune time to revamp discussions.


The time has come for Erdogan for a number of reasons. To begin with, before he loses the ultimate power in Turkey, he wants to score a victory; albeit a partial one. Secondly, for whichever reason, he too fell out of favour with ISIS. Recent clashes between their fighters and the regular Turkish Army did not sit nicely with Erdogan any more than the recent suicide bombing attack of Suruc.


It is not by accident that soon after this event, Turkey allowed NATO fighter jets to use the Incirlik air base. A deal was struck between Turkey and the US, the details are not made to be public, and even though America insists that the deal does not include creating a safe zone for Turkey, in reality it does. The Americans might have kept this condition out of the written wording of the agreement, but Erdogan would not have agreed to open up his air base for NATO and accept an upgrading of strikes on ISIS without a tradeoff.


This has all been discussed in my previous article; The Last Tango of Erdogan. What has transpired since is that Turkey is using this plan allegedly to repatriate its share of Syrian refugees. A cynical analysis indicates that Turkey wants to cherry-pick Syrians who support the opposition in order to relocate them into the buffer zone. This will serve a number of objectives for Turkey; it will enable it to off-load a big chunk of its Syrian refugees, it will create a buffer zone of Syrian-controlled area that is manned by Syrian opposition groups who answer to Turkey, and it hopes that the presence of this group will overwhelm the local Kurds and keep them at bay. Last but not least, as mentioned in a previous article, it will separate Turkish Kurds from Syrian Kurds.


The scenario that Turkey seeks is almost identical to the one that Israel tried to do and failed in South Lebanon in the 1980’s. Even though Israel manned, supplied and financed the Antoun Lahed’s “South Lebanon Army” members and their families in an attempt to dilute and weaken Hezbollah, the plot failed abysmally.


It must be borne in mind that this whole hope of Erdogan to be able to create a buffer zone is only his consolation prize after his initial plot of toppling President Assad has failed.


For anyone to think that Turkey is still capable or even intent of toppling the legitimate government of Syria is a mistake borne by blurred vision and lack of understanding of what is going on.


It is highly likely that this new plan will fail just like all previous plans. At the end of the day, the United States will have to come to terms with understanding that the only way to deal with the ISIS monster that it co-created is by working with the Syrian government or just simply by keeping its nose totally out of the joint.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE LAST TANGO OF ERDOGAN. By Ghassan Kadi 28 July 2015

THE LAST TANGO OF ERDOGAN:
It has been said, but to no avail with some, that the enemies of Syria are distinct groups with distinct interests who happened to get united by their hatred towards Syria and/or the Syrian government.
The initial infamous Anti-Syrian Cocktail was so diverse with a multitude of vultures each seeking his pound of flesh.
Israel was after bolstering its security and to make sure that the lifeline support to Hezbollah from Syria comes to a permanent halt.
Saudi Arabia wanted to curb the growing influence of Iran by clipping the wings of the Arab State that has a defence treaty with Iran and that is seen as a Shiite vassal state.
Qatar wanted to take a place in the centre stage and to rival Saudi Arabia in becoming THE Sunni financial backbone for Sunni enthusiasts.
The 14th of March Coalition people of Lebanon wanted to even and old score with the Assad family.
Turkey had been waiting for a whole century to find its way back into restoring its regional former glory, and
The United States….well, the United States does not rest unless it has full hegemony on every state in the world. Its animosity for Syria however goes further than hegemony. The USA was also after settling a score with Syria for spoiling the fruits of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon of 1982, supporting Hezbollah and kicking Israel out of Lebanon defeated and humiliated. This is needless to mention that Syria was the only Arab nation that stood against the American-Israeli road map and continued to refuse to acknowledge the state of Israel and give it safe borders.
The irony is that the above cocktail above found in Islamists good cannon fodder. Recruit them, feed them, provide free sex for them, drugs, weapons and lots of money, and they will be more than happy to go and die fighting the “infidel Alawis”.
When victory for the alliance did not come about as they thought it would, they started to grow restless with each other, and this has been reiterated several times before, but it seems that many observers and activists continue to believe that America is the head of this evil pyramid and remains to be in full control of the whole orchestra and every note it plays.
This is far from the truth.
When ISIS had had enough of empty Saudi and American promises, it broke loose and sought self-financing overtaking oil fields and the like. America realised that it needed to start clipping the wings of ISIS, and this was when American and Turkish interests began to clash.
To Erdogan, fighting ISIS inadvertently meant supporting the Kurds. With a high possibility of some form of Kurdish statehood, albeit simply a state based on autonomy, Erdogan felt great dis-ease and growing concern. The battle of Ain Al-Arab (Kobani) with Kurdish forces fighting ISIS was raging for weeks on end, only a couple of kilometers south of his borders.
Erdogan had to choose the lesser of two evils, as far as his interests are defined, and decided to support ISIS as he fears the Kurds more.
Previously, Erdogan had an open border policy for Al-Nusra fighters and other Islamists many of whom change organizations as often as ones changes socks, but his direct support and facilitation of movements of ISIS men and hardware became very obvious.
But again, his interests and those of ISIS have clashed, and the recent skirmishes and bomb attacks are the tip of the iceberg as to what could happen next within the Turkish depth.
Whether or not the loss of the legislative elections of June 2015 made any difference in all of this is not essentially relevant. The bottom line was that Erdogan was in a huge quandary. His alliance with NATO dictated that he should partake in action against ISIS, but his concerns about the Kurds riding on this victory stopped him from towing the NATO line.
The recent American-Turkish deal is of clear intentions. Erdogan now has to confront ISIS, but he also wants to break the back of the Kurds. He agreed to fight ISIS and open Turkish bases for NATO fighters provided that he is allowed to create a buffer zone between Turkey and Syria.
The buffer zone, something Israel tried to create and failed in Lebanon, is not only intended to push ISIS away from Turkish borders, but also to separate Turkish Kurds from Kurds in Syria. If successful, he will undoubtedly do the same in Northern Iraq as well. In this, Erdogan “guarantees” that if a Kurdish state of some description is created in Northern Syria and Iraq, it will not have common borders with Turkish Kurdish areas and this will, again, “guarantee” that this state will never ever have the opportunity to encroach upon Turkish land.
“On paper”, this looks like a master plan that not only engages Turkey and puts it in a potential lead role in fighting ISIS; if the USA indeed becomes serious about fighting it, but it is also a Turkish role that has the blessings and endorsement of the US.
It is possible now that the role of Turkey has been set, that the NATO-led coalition will start launching more effective strikes on ISIS. We must remind ourselves that Turkey was weighing in to prevent this, but if Turkey and the West now both agree to seriously start hurting ISIS, it is highly likely that they will intensify their attacks and cause more pain for ISIS.
This whole plot however has many wild cards that both Turkey and NATO do not seem to be considering seriously or not at all. Suffice just to have some of them listed herein:
1. Turkish Kurds. 
2. Turkish ISIS supporters.
3. ISIS operatives and cells already in Turkey.
4. Kurdish fighters in Northern Syria.
5. The position of the new Turkish cabinet to be.
6. The Syrian Army
Each of the above has the potential to make Erdogan’s plan his last tango.

Monday, July 27, 2015

THE CAT AND MOUSE VERSUS THE LION AND BEAR: Ghassan Kadi 25 July 2015

THE CAT AND MOUSE VERSUS THE LION AND BEAR:

Ghassan Kadi

25 July 2015


Ever since the battles of Jisr Al-Shoghour and Palmyra and their fall in the hands of Islamists, there has been a major series of turnarounds in Syria’s favour.

Soon after the above battles which was bolstered psychologically and militarily by the commencement of Saudi bombardment of Yemen, the “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” felt yet again that this time they were going to “get Assad”. Their pundits and dark prophets started to gamble on how many days does President Assad have left.


This was soon to be followed by an avalanche of events that redefined the balance of power on Syrian soil, namely and mainly:
1. Erdogan’s loss in the Turkish legislative elections.
2. Hezbollah’s advancements in the Qalamoun region of both Lebanon and Syria.
3. Failure of Operation “Southern Storm” to take Soweida and Daraa.
4. Advances of SAA and Hezbollah in the Zabadani region.
5. Advances of the SAA in the Idlib region.
6. Failure of Saudi Arabia to form an effective alliance against Yemen.
7. Failure of Saudi Arabia to score a clear win in Yemen.
8. The Iran nuclear deal, and much more.

Many Arabic articles have been published recently on different Arab media discussing and analysing the above event and their eventual positive repercussions on the flow of events in Syria. It was hard to pick which ones to translate and which to bypass. The Sputnik article below puts the whole picture in a very good perspective and from a highly reliable source. 

Dear friend and colleague Chris Assad has warned us just a few hours ago not to trust Turkey. I fully agree with him as I always did. For as long as Turkey occupies the provinces of Cilicia and Iskenderun, it will not be trusted. But Erdogan seems to have no choice but to change course. Not only he has lost the latest round of elections, but ISIS is already hitting home with recent clashes with the Turkish army and terrorist attacks within Turkey. Even his staunchest of supporters would turn against him if he does not turn against ISIS.

The Saudis and Israelis are feeling let down and isolated. Erdogan is possibly deciding to stay in the game for his own survival, but there seems to be little doubt that his wings have been clipped.
The war of cat and mouse is coming to its end. This is the era of the lion and the bear.

The tides are shifting, and Syria’s biggest trump is not just the recent development, but the resilience of her President, gallant army, and wonderful people.

(See article link below)

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20150724/1025021499.html

Thursday, July 23, 2015

NATO CANNOT STRIKE SYRIA: By Ghassan Kadi 23 July 2015

NATO CANNOT STRIKE SYRIA:
By Ghassan Kadi
23 July 2015

Ever since the “War on Syria” started more than four years ago, there has been times during which concerns were raised about an imminent NATO strike on Syria.

From the early beginnings, a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons of such an attack clearly indicated that it was not only not imminent but far from the realm of reality. Syria is neither Serbia, nor Iraq or Libya.

“Fortunately” perhaps Syria has got common borders with Israel and a huge arsenal of short, middle and long range missiles that can hit targets as far as Rome. Any attack on Syria in which Syria sees itself fighting an existential battle would mean that the Commander-in-Chief, President Assad, would be more prepared to shower Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the gulf states with precision, long range missiles that would rain on their heads like an endless barrage.

America knew well that any direct strike of its own on Syrian soil and Syrian sovereignty was going to be very costly for its pampered pet Israel. This is why the prospect of bombing Damascus was not on the agenda of the United States in 2011. After all, back then, the “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” had amassed trained and equipped a huge army to fight the legitimate army of Syria. With porous borders from Turkey and Jordan, porosity that was sanctioned by the governments of those states, tens of thousands of Jihadi fighters, with their hardware of different size and capability were poured into Syria.

Even though the “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” was not able to generate a State-sanctioned influx of fighters and weapons out of Lebanon, the pro-Hariri forces were quick to take control of the Syrian border areas all the way from Arsal to Tal Kalakh and beyond , facilitating a similar porosity under the watchful eye of the Lebanese government and the inability of Hezbollah to stop this politically and diplomatically.

All up, during the first few months of the “War on Syria”, the conspirators were hoping for and banking on a quick, easy win. For America to risk a Syrian retaliation on Israel by directly getting involved seemed too risky and unwarranted.

In the above gain versus risk assessment of NATO striking Syria and the analysis above, another big factor plays in which makes it even harder for America to take any chance that puts the security of Israel at risk; the Hezbollah factor. Hezbollah does not need to wait for an all-out war between Syria and Israel let alone a confrontation between Syria and NATO for it to unleash its rocket arsenal on Israel.

Furthermore, an all-out confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel does not have to involve Syria at all and history proves this. In risk-assessment therefore, Hezbollah is a loose cannon that no one can ignore or dismiss.

Protected only by its own army and the deterrence of its rocket power and that of Hezbollah, Syria was able to fend off a NATO attack for more than two years.

By the summer of 2013 Prince Bandar and his American allies realised that their plan was not working. They had to upscale the “War on Syria” in order to topple its President Bashar al Assad. They had to come up with a big story, they had to get international acceptance and justification so, they conjured up the chemical attack on East Ghouta. The risk of Syrian and Hezbollah retaliation on Israel and its regional allies was still imminent as it was back in 2011, but the enemies of Syria wre getting desperate and perhaps planning and hoping to be able to score a very quick, massive and disabling strike on Syria in a way that, if any retaliation takes place it would be short-lived and the Israel losses would be minimal.

Enter Russia.

President Putin drew his Red Line when NATO on the orders of Obama, launched two missiles from a base in Spain towards Damascus. One of their missiles was taken down by a Russian surface-to-air missile and the second one was hacked and made to divert its course and plunged into the Mediterranean. The two superpowers, on Russian directive, spoke behind the scenes and America realised that it had no option other than making a u-turn and changing its tactics with Syria. The chemical weapons deal was struck as a face-saving exercise for America and America opened up the dialogue over nuclear talks with Iran.

When Intibah and I bright this story to the English-speaking world, it was taken with great cynicism by many. Later on, it became widely accepted but in Russia and the Levant it has been common knowledge since day one.

In terms of strategic significance, the in-force entry of Russia into this Levantine military dialogue has signalled many changes. For starters, it meant the end of single world polarity, and as far as the progress of the attack on Syria is concerned, it meant a much lesser preparedness for NATO to attack Syria in comparison to 2011.

America tried to play the Ukraine card. Obama thought that Putin would be easy to distract and manipulate. He was wrong on both counts. Certainly, the Ukraine card was not only intended to test Russia’s resolve on Syria. America had a much bigger fish to fry in the Ukraine with the ultimate objective of destabilising Russia, isolating her and tightening the military noose around her by turning Ukraine into a NATO state and base for its forces. Strategically Ukraine is Russia’s main gate to the Black Sea and this is why Putin was quick to re-unite Crimea with Russia; and this is exactly how this action is described in Russia, one of re-unification rather than takeover or annexation. A close look at the northern side of the Black Sea clearly shows the strategic importance of Crimea and how re-uniting it with Russia turns Crimea into a virtual landlocked state despite its long coast line. In re-unifying Crimea, Putin neutralised Ukraine strategically and disempowered it without having to fire a single shot and without having to involve Russian troops in the eastern regions of Ukraine even though Russian Ukrainians are paying the price of the Nazi-like brutality of the Ukrainian regime and, this must be very painful for Putin to watch, but, apart from a major escalation there is no other alternative. The EU/NATO intervention in Ukraine has backfired because now the BRICS alliance has fast-tracked so many alliances and initiatives that pre-Ukraine crisis diplomacy would not have allowed or made possible.

Part of that resolve is Russia’s support to Syria. It has been bolstered not weakened.

So let us recap a little here. The alliance of Syria and Hezbollah alone was able to stave off a NATO attack on Damascus for two years from March 2011 to August 2013. With Russia coming onto the scene, the Russian bear stood right behind Syria and made it much more difficult if not impossible for NATO to strike Damascus without grave consequences.

A year ago or so when the USA formed a coalition to strike ISIS on Iraqi and Syrian soils, scaremongers of different denominations predicted yet another imminent NATO strike on Syria’s sovereignty. The fact that Syria’s government gave tacit support to those strikes did not mean much to the mob who wanted to hail yet another grave danger. When the argument predicting a no strike scenario was raised, it was not widely accepted and in fact opposed very vehemently and even rudely.

NATO however missed on its third opportunity to bomb Damascus, not because it does not want to, but because it cannot. But, it is getting much better for Syria.


Enter Iran.

Iran had always been an ally of both Syria and Hezbollah. To call it an ally of Hezbollah is perhaps an understatement. Despite all the economic sanctions against Iran and obvious problems Iran has had with liquidity, it did not waver from its commitments to both Syria and Hezbollah. With the lifting of sanctions, Iran is not only now in a better financial position but its strategic regional role has been upgraded. Some analysts such as Sharmine Narwani and Paul Craig Roberts predict that the USA will be scaling down its direct military presence in the Levant because it wants to focus more on Russia and China on the one hand, and, because perhaps it is beginning to consider a regional solution to ISIS. Here we have to remember that whilst America helped create ISIS, the monster has overgrown its role and America probably is coming to the realisation that only local boots on the ground will be able to deal with it militarily and ideologically. It will take a lot on the part of America to see this new direction coming to reality but, the manner in which America was enthusiastic about striking a nuclear deal with Iran for no real obvious reason is possibly indicative of the above analysis.

Whatever America’s intentions with the Iranian deal are, the deal definitively gives Iran more clout, financially and strategically. Iran will be capitalising on its new hard found position. With tens of billions, perhaps hundreds, of frozen assets being released the most likely scenario is that Iran is going to play a bigger role in both Syria/Lebanon and Yemen. Part of that role will be in upgrading the different forms of support it is currently providing Syria and Hezbollah. This will enhance their positions militarily, strategically and financially. Ultimately, this will make it even more impossible for NATO to strike Syria without grave consequences befalling upon Israel and the GCC countries.

In brief, whilst the deterrent fire-power of Syria and Hezbollah alone was able to thwart any dreams of a NATO led attack on Syria from 2011 to 2013, and whilst this fire-power is still as strong as it was, if not stronger, the Syria-Hezbollah alliance now has two allies who have been empowered by recent developments and failures in American diplomacy. When Russia gave the tacit support for implementing the no-fly zone in Libya, diplomacy back then included acts of politeness and trust to some degree. America has thrown diplomacy and all what comes with it out of the window. Syria and its allies no longer feel that they need to smile and show a pretty face. Their knives are sharpened and they are not shying away from brandishing their blades and using them where it hurts.

If NATO found it difficult to plan a strike on Syria in 2011 and 2013, this difficulty has changed into a venture that will have zero chances of success. It is now a strategic impossibility.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

THE ANTI-SYKES-PICOT TSUNAMI; The ISIS Effect. Ghassan Kadi

THE ANTI-SYKES-PICOT TSUNAMI; The ISIS Effect
Ghassan Kadi
12 July 2015

A hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire was on its last leg and its vast territory was bound to be subdivided by its conquerors and in between them. Much has been said and written about this era, about the Sykes-Picot accord that split up the Levant and paved the way for the creation of Israel. In this very short narrative, the focus will be on the people and governments of the newly-created states.

Starting with Lebanon, the Lebanese Christians were given a special attention by the West long before the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The autonomous state of “Petit Liban” (Small Lebanon) was established in 1861 under a Western push, especially by France, in order to provide Lebanese Christians with security. When nearly sixty years later French General Gouraud announced the creation of “Grand Liban” (Grand Lebanon) which included areas and big cities of Muslim population, the Christians felt let down and refused to regard their Muslim counterpart as Lebanese, and reciprocally, the Lebanese Muslims did not want to be detached from mother Syria and be included in a predominantly Christian state that was bound to be a Western vassal.

How much things change if we fast-forward and look at the Hariri camp today and see how staunch they are in their affiliation to Lebanese nationhood and identity. It is rather incredible how quickly people forget or opt to forget.

Somehow magically, in the eyes of many, the line that General Gouraud decided to draw as a border line between the new state of Lebanon and Syria came to life, became real, and a dividing line between two nations of distinct history and interests. Even Lebanon’s last President Michel Souleiman kept reiterating that the war in Syria is a Syrian issue, should stay in Syria and that Lebanon should not be engaged.

Gouraud’s lie became a reality, and as it got fed, it grew and grew.

But the lie of Lebanon was not the only one. After the British treachery to the Hashimites of Mecca and the takeover of Arabia by Al-Saud, the Hashimites became virtual exiles and Britain had to save face by providing them with a consolation prize. The Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan was created; a state that has no history what-so-ever from within the borders given to it by the British. A Hashimite Kindgom was also set up in Iraq and the borders of Iraq were drawn in such a way to deliberately create a potential failed state. At that point in time, all of the known oil deposits of Mesopotamia were in the southern coastal region. That coastal rich region was partitioned away, given its own sovereignty and called Kuwait. Iraq was left with a tiny access to water via Shat Al-Arab, but luckily for Iraq, huge oil deposits were discovered in it later on.

Palestine, the Syrian region, which also never before existed as an independent state with the British-mandate-given borders was a pretext for setting up the borders for the would-be-Israel. But just like the Lebanese have forgotten their history, so did the Palestinians and this is why they can never win the historic argument against that of Zionism, and they will never win it until they take on board the proper historical model and proclaim that Palestine, with all of its constituencies of Muslims, Christians and Jews are part and parcel of historic greater Syria.

Political Syria therefore shrank and shrank and the state that was left with the name had to see huge portions snatched from it. One of the most painful grabs was the French donation of Cilicia and Iskenderun regions to Turkey, and the last straw was the creation of Israel.

One would assume that immediately after gaining independence, the new states would get together and undo what the colonials have done, but they did not.

All in all, the Lebanese had to fight over their identity for decades, and they still do. The pro-Western camp has expanded from an exclusive sectarian Christian Maronite club to include exclusive sectarian Sunni Muslim club. They are opposed by the fierce Lebanese Resistance who is adamant to resolve this matter once and for all. We must not give all credit to Hezbollah here, because Hezbollah is supported by a huge hoard of pro-resistance parties including some primarily Christian.

Some Palestinians also opted to forget their history, and one of the major points of conflict between Yasser Arafat and Hafez Assad was that the former pushed for the supremacy of the “Palestinian Decision”, and to no avail did Assad manage to convince him that the Palestinian cause was not just a cause of the people who live in Palestine, but for the whole greater nation. As Palestinians become more and more isolationist in their approach, the more their cause is getting diluted and the recent events of having the Palestinian cause being hijacked by Islamists of different persuasions and tactics is the living proof.

As for Jordan, the royal Family wants to protect its throne, and right now the king is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he helped ISIS by allowing the Saudis and American to set up training camps on Jordanian soil, he allowed those fighters to infiltrate into Syria, but on the other hand, he fears that they may turn around and bite him.

As for Iraq and the Kurds, the problem is far too complex and the Kurds cannot be blamed if they feel alienated. After all, they are surrounded by peoples of different persuasions, all the way from those trying to establish an Islamic State to remnants of those who want to fight the advance the Islamic State by slogans that have Arab identity and loyalty. They cannot see how they can fit into either camp. Once again, it is only from within an all-inclusive vision of Syria’s identity that Kurds can feel secure.

It is only in the state that kept the name Syria that the true history is known and taught in schools. Whilst an ignorant Lebanese snubs his nose at Syria and genuinely believes he is superior, in Syria every school kid knows that Syria and Lebanon are one.

When Saddam tried to correct the British injustice and moved his troops into Kuwait, we all know what followed. And when Hafez Assad found an internationally-sanctioned acceptance for sending troops into Lebanon in 1976, we also know how this eventually angered all opponents of any Syrian-Lebanese coming-together of any kind and we know how it ended; at least thus far.

The West, via its United Nations has taken all measures to make sure that the Sykes Picot borders were only allowed to be challenged and violated by Israel. The land owners themselves were not allowed to make any changes, under the pain of a NATO invasion.

Sooner or later, Syria will need to deal with its war internally and Turkey’s arm will be twisted and forced to prevent further influx of terrorists and their supplies into Syria, and Turkey will have to return to a neutral position, albeit not as neutral as the pre-Erdogan era.

But which border perspective is the one that will decide the internal nature of the war for Syria? After all, the off-limits status quo of the Sykes-Picot borders is now under a huge challenge by none other than the least likely savior and unifier; ISIS. The Syrian-Iraqi border line is now virtually non-existent. Furthermore, because of the battles in Qalamoun, for both of the ISIS and Hezbollah fighters, the Lebanese-Syrian borders do not exist either.

When this whole “War On Syria” is over and Syria rises victorious, such win cannot be achieved, established and protected if there is a continued presence of ISIS threat in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. ISIS has created an anti-Sykes-Picot tsunami and Syria’s win will automatically have to mean the decimation of the Sykes-Picot agreement, and whilst Lebanon continues to be without a president for over a year and without any hope in sight for electing a new president, Michel Suleiman may indeed end up to be Lebanon’s last president.

Monday, July 6, 2015

THE BATTLE OF THE MOUNT By Ghassan Kadi 6 July 2015

THE BATTLE OF THE MOUNT:
Ghassan Kadi
6 July 2015

Zabadani, not far from Bloudan, is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Hermon, not at all far from the Israeli-occupied Golan. It was only a question of time before the SAA and Hezbollah put a major thrust on that area to recapture it from the militants who basically managed to occupy it aided by porous borders with Jordan, logistic support from Israel, as well as the ability to capitalize on the vulnerable political Lebanese fabric and which allowed the terrorists to turn the Arsal region into a terror hotspot.

Ever since Chairman Nasrallah declared that the terrorists were to be expelled from the Lebanese-Syrian borders, developments on the ground have revealed a flexible strategy. Unlike conventional armies with heavy hardware, Hezbollah has the logistic advantage that enables it to make swift movements. Accordingly, the major military thrust has been shifting as the battle demanded. From Tal Moussa, to the hills of Jarajir, to Ras Baalbeck and all of the other regions and steps in between.

And after the abysmal failure of the terrorists’ operation dubbed South Storm and the ability of the SAA to fend off the attacks on the region bound between Souweida and Daraa, among other developments, Zabadani became the southern route of escape for terrorists fleeing the southern Qalamoun onto Daraa.

But there are two catches. King Abdullah does not want them into Jordan. There has even been some leaked news that some Jordanian army officers have passed on sensitive intelligence to the SAA about the locations of some Al-Nusra bases in the Daraa region.

Apart from its strategic importance as a lifeline route for the terrorist, the whole region is very strategic because of its high elevation, closeness to Damascus, and (once again) high proximity to the Israeli-occupied Golan.

Strategically and geopolitically, the biggest pressure is now being put on Israel, and this is perhaps what is least spoken about.

Ever since the “War On Syria” started, Israel has been given logistic support to the terrorists and it is not a secret that the wounded of Al-Nusra and other groups go to Israel for hospitalization. Israel has also been involved in training and equipping terrorist groups in Jordan.

Furthermore, Israel has been pushing the nerves and patience of the Syrian Government with its occasional air raids that had little objective and gain apart from flexing muscle and attempting to intimidate President Assad, and perhaps coerce him to show his defence capabilities in the event of a conventional war.

President Assad didn’t take the bait. Instead, he kept his cool and resolve, but a keen observation of the recent developments are now indicative that Israel has really only one of two options; 1) to sit back and watch its terrorist allies getting decimated and accepting that they be replaced by regular emboldened SAA soldiers and Hezbollah fighters, or 2) to walk the talk and have an all-out direct military confrontation with either the SAA alone, Hezbollah alone, or both.

The manner in which SAA troops and Hezbollah fighters are moving and maneuvering virtually a walking distance away from Israeli troops and possibly in full view, is one that no doubt the Israelis are taking very seriously and are at loss not knowing how and where to respond.

The war of liberation has definitely taken a new turn. The message the SAA and Hezbollah are giving Israel is loud and clear. We are cleaning up and if you want to poke your nose in, we are ready.