Thank you Hafez al-Assad

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com


hafez-assadOriginally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

The threats emanating from Syria have become downright frightening. For the past several days, Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan has been warning repeatedly that it is certain that Israeli population centers will be hit by Syrian ballistic missiles and that we have to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios, including Scud missile-launched chemical weapons attacks on Israel’s metropolitan centers.

On Wednesday, Air Force commander Maj.- Gen. Amir Eshel spelled out Israel’s concerns from a military perspective. The chance of war breaking out at any time is extremely high. Syria has a massive arsenal that includes advanced anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles and surface- to-surface missiles. Syria also has large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, advanced artillery as well as the other components of a large conventional military force.

Eshel warned, “Syria is collapsing before our eyes. If it collapses tomorrow we could find its vast arsenal dispersed and pointing at us.”

In that event, Eshel said, the air force will have to operate at 100 percent of its capacity to clear a path for ground forces to operate in Syria and secure the armaments to prevent them from being dispersed, or used against Israel.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned that Israel could easily find itself fighting a three-front war in the near future. Presumably we would be fighting Syria, Lebanon and Iran – whose nuclear program continues to move to completion undaunted by empty US and European threats.

Syria is a mess because there are no good guys in a position to win. Syrian President Bashar Assad is one of the most dangerous leaders in the world. He is a major supporter of terrorist groups. He enabled al-Qaida and Hezbollah to use Syria as a logistical base in their war against US forces in Iraq. He is a vassal of Iran. He is allied with Hezbollah. He is a mass murderer.

Since the civil war began two years ago, Assad’s complete dependence on Iran and Hezbollah – as well as on Russia – has been exposed for all to see. There is little doubt that whatever checks the US was able to exert against him before the civil war began no longer exist. And if he survives in power, he will be completely indifferent to US pressure and so will behave far more violently than he did before the war began.

And yet for all Assad’s horrific behavior and the reasonable presumption that his actions will only become more violent and dangerous with each additional day he remains in power, the most telling aspect of the Syrian civil war is that Israel, the US and Europe are incapable of deciding whether he is better or worse than the alternatives.

Because standing opposed to Assad and his Hezbollah and Iranian protectors is al-Qaida.

Last week, we were regaled with news analyses and stories about how the al-Qaida forces fighting Assad are now splintering. According to breathless, detailed reports, the “moderate” al- Qaida group, the Nusra Front, is being overwhelmed by the “extremist” al-Qaida in Iraq faction. The latter has moved into Syria and is taking over operations, much to the consternation of their moderate Syrian al-Qaida brothers.

But on second thought, since both the Nusra guys and the al-Qaida in Iraq guys are loyal to al-Qaida boss Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Zawahiri told the al-Qaida in Iraq fellows to move to Syria, and since al-Qaida in Iraq formed and financed the Nusra Front, it is not at all clear that anyone is splintering off from anyone, or that anyone is upset about anything.

Aside from revealing the pathological stupidity of Western news services, the attempt to make a distinction between good and bad al-Qaida forces fighting Assad points to the futility of trying to choose sides in this horrible war, which has already seen more than 80,000 killed.

At this point, despite Assad’s successful campaign to restore his control over Qusair, a strategically vital city adjacent to the Syrian-Lebanese border, most assessments indicate that the war is not nearly over. The sides may well stay bogged down fighting one another for years.

Then again, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, it is also possible that it will all be over quickly.

In short then, no one knows how the war will play out in Syria. All Israeli political and military leaders know is that whatever happens, the situation in Syria is dangerous and highly flammable.

Moreover, everyone agrees that the conflict can spill out in two ways – ways which are not mutually exclusive.

First, both the government forces and their Shi’ite allies, and well as their al-Qaida opponents, could attack Israel. Both sides have a clear interest in attacking Israel, since the one thing they all agree on is that they wish to see Israel destroyed. So as is the case for the Palestinians from all parties, for both Assad and his Shi’ite allies and his Sunni opponents, attacking Israel is a surefire way to build public support.

This danger has already materialized. Assad’s forces shot at an IDF jeep patrolling the border this week and rushed to get the story – and their exaggerated version of its outcome – to the media. Rebel forces have taken pot shots at Israel, and targeted UN forces along the border, accusing them of siding with Israel.

As Eshel made clear, the second danger is that the weapons in Syria will proliferate far and wide. US officials have already admitted that they have lost track of much of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

This week, PJ Media reported that a State Department whistle blower is about to come forward to divulge new information about the September 11, 2012, al-Qaida attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US personnel were murdered in the attack. The whistle blower will reportedly reveal that Stevens was sent to Benghazi in a secret State Department effort to buy back anti-aircraft Stinger missiles that al-Qaida received from the State Department during the 2011 US-led NATO campaign to overthrow the regime of longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since Gaddafi was defeated, his massive arsenal of terror weapons has spread out across the region, and particularly to Syria and Gaza. If Syrian weapons are similarly dispersed, the Libyan disaster will look like the military equivalent of a skinned knee.

The party most responsible for the barbarous, protracted Syrian civil war that will almost certainly drag Israel into a regional war with is of course the Syrians themselves. But the party second most responsible for this mess is the Obama administration.

Since the outset, the US had only one good option for intervention. It could have operated jointly with Israel to destroy Syria’s missile arsenals and confiscate its weapons of mass destruction.

That is the only sure bet move the US had.

Every other action came with high risks.

Rather than take its sure bet move, at every turn, the Obama administration has opted for the most dangerous action with the smallest possible payoff.

For instance, rather than actively build an opposition army based on Syrian Army defectors, Kurds and other relatively moderate forces, Obama subcontracted the formation of the Syrian opposition to Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As Israel and others warned, Erdogan used his power as the US contractor to build an opposition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose ideology is largely indistinguishable from al-Qaida. It was the Brotherhood’s domination of the Syrian opposition forces that paved the way for al-Qaida to enter and dominate opposition forces.

After Obama ensured that pro-Western forces would have no chance of taking over a post- Assad Syria, he allowed Russia to make matters worse. Rather than threaten Russian President Vladimir Putin in a credible way to prevent him from supplying S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, Obama sat back and did nothing to block the imminent transfer of the game-changing system to Syria.

And as Eshel warned, Syria’s advanced anti-aircraft batteries, which will threaten Israel’s air superiority, will increase in a profound way the probability that Assad will attack Israel.

In the face of American rank incompetence, Assad has already broken all the red lines he and his father followed for more than 40 years.

He has already used chemical weapons. He has proliferated advanced weaponry to Hezbollah.

And he has already attacked Israel on the Golan Heights. Now that he has already crossed all of these red lines, the only question is how much he will escalate. Equipped with the S-300, the probability that he will escalate drastically has risen precipitously.

For all the danger emanating from Syria, Israel has one ace in the hole. We have a consensus that we must win the coming war with Syria decisively, whatever the cost. And for that consensus, we have just one man to thank: the late Hafez Assad.

During the 1990s, the Israeli Left and the Clinton administration managed to convince the Rabin, Netanyahu and Barak governments to offer to surrender the Golan Heights to Syria.

The only reason that the initiative failed was because Assad Sr. rejected Israel’s repeated offers to surrender the strategic plateau in exchange for a piece of paper with a smiley face on it.

Had Assad accepted Israel’s offers, we would have been facing a situation today that we would be hard pressed to contend with. On the one hand, we would be facing an all but certain war with Syria with al-Qaida or Iran controlling everything from the Jordan Valley to Haifa Bay.

On the other hand we would be facing this threat as a fractured society.

To hide their culpability for rendering Israel all but powerless to defend itself, those who supported surrendering the Golan would be pretending the dangers away. Instead of being free to discuss how to win a war in Syria, we would be bogged down in discussions of whether we have a right to fight in Syria.

In other words, if it hadn’t been for Assad Sr. and his unyielding hatred for Israel, we would be facing the same situation in relation to Syria today that we faced in Lebanon in 2006 and as we have faced in Gaza since we withdrew in 2005. The lack of consensus regarding our strategic imperative to defeat our enemies in Gaza and Lebanon caused the IDF to fail to win its campaigns in both theaters.

So at this bitter juncture, as we face the all but certain prospect of war with Syria while our one ally is behaving like a drunken bull in a China shop, we have one man to thank for our continued ability to face this daunting challenge.

Thank you, Hafez Assad. Your hatred has saved us.

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  • HPD

    This will test Israeli will to survive or have they gone wobbly…?
    The rubber meets the road in Syria…

  • no1

    Is it really that bad? I can't help but feel this article is exaggerating… Assad and the al-Qaeda forces can't work together for five minutes, never mind mount an attack against Israel…

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      You sound like one of those who is pretending the dangers away. YES, its REALLY that bad. As Ms. Glick says, "the one thing that they all agree on is that they wish to see Israel destroyed." Caroline Glick doesn't exaggerate, and an Israeli-Syrian war will be a fight for Israel's survival.

      • mlcblog

        Still, as No1 says, they can't work together for 5 minutes, plus I note that their fire power goes punk or else misses its targets quite frequently, or the shooters can't get to the guns. I believe they are relatively ineffective and that is what saves Israel even now.

    • inzion

      Israel needs no more proof after Syria's antics she cannot rely on the current U.S. Admn. The Islamic nations will always use any excuse against Israel when their situation is threatened. Remember Iraq's scuds.

  • Flowerknife_us

    Israel should strike the S-300 as they are offloaded.

    • Moa

      Some reports indicate the S-300s are already in Syria. It is just a matter of getting the crews up to speed. The danger for the Israelis is that if they hit the S-300s there may be Russian crews that are killed. Too bad for the Russians, I say – but the Russians can make a fuss.

      A note to everyone who doesn't know about the S-300. It is top of the line and very very lethal. Apart from an upgrade of the same system (called the S-400) this is the best the Russians have – and the Russians know their SAMs. There are some who argue that the S-300 is better than the US Patriot – even if this is no true they are at least 'on par'. This is why the Israelis are concerned. Their 'ace in the hole' has already been their Air Force. The S-300s can limit their freedom of action and tip the balance of power away from the IDF. Putin is a madman for adding fuel to the volatile situation. Clearly he never got over the USSR's defeat in the Cold War – why else would be interfere in Syria that has little direct strategic benefit to Russia (apart from annoying the US).

      • Defcon 4

        Maybe Putin figures he can get a warm water port in the Med out of the deal?

  • Smote

    "Aside from revealing the pathological stupidity of Western news services". Which is obvious. You'd have to be deaf, dumb and stupid. But, then, so are our mainstream news services.

    "the attempt to make a distinction between good and bad al-Qaida forces fighting Assad points to the futility of trying to choose sides in this horrible war, which has already seen more than 80,000 killed". A bit like choosing which dictator to support. In 1940 it was either Hitler or Stalin.

    Now it is Obama or al Queda. Take your pick. I choose neither.

  • David M

    Caroline has, once again, been brilliant. There is no difference between Shia and Sunni fractions of Islam. Both are anti-freedom, anti-West and Israel. Shia and Sunni fractions massacre each other in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria,………., but when they come to the West they are united because they have Christians and Jews to harm. Israel is in a crucial period and I stand with Israel. It is a critical time for Israel but also there are positive points. Israel's enemies are getting weaker and weaker. Syria is in ruins, Iraq is becoming another Syria and hostility between Sunni and Shia fractions is getting worse day-by-day. I hope Israel has some surprise in her arsenal when it is time ( that time can come sooner than later) to use them. This time Israel must use all her might and the victory must be 100%. Gutless Europe and psycho in Washington will not come to help.

    • Defcon 4

      WRT your last point, I'd add corrupt and amoral Europe and Washington.

  • Aleynu

    The world is ready.

    Time to end Islam.

    • mohamed

      why ending islam may be the radicalism and terrorist not islam as religion is alike chrestianty and judaism no difference

      • Defcon 4

        LOL, your infantile attempts at obfuscating the ugly truth about islam won't fly here troglodyte.

      • Lan Astaslem

        sit on a sharp minaret moHAMeat

  • UraFecalLiberal

    "Syria is a mess because there are no good guys in a position to win. Syrian President Bashar Assad is one of the most dangerous leaders in the world. He is a major supporter of terrorist groups. He enabled al-Qaida and Hezbollah to use Syria as a logistical base in their war against US forces in Iraq. He is a vassal of Iran. He is allied with Hezbollah. He is a mass murderer."

    Assad was proclaimed a "moderate" by Hillary Clingtongue and John Kwary. The latter was very cozy with Assad.

    America is flooding with a rising tide of incompetency and treason.

  • esperanto

    Check out this VIDEO DEBATE:

    "The British Debate “Muslims,Free Speech and the Right to Offend”
    http://www.antisharia.com/2013/05/25/the-british-

    AND ALSO

    "The 2nd Joel Richardson Interview,and he gives More Reasons why the Antichrist will be the Muslim Mahdi"
    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/12/29/the-2nd-joel

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The "distinction between good and bad Al-Qaida forces" is there is no good Al-Qaida and
    no distinction to be made, they must all be destroyed to the last terrorist murderer. All of
    the names the same people give to themselves as different groups is pure crap on a cracker,
    the persona of all of them is evil incarnate, they are one large malignant group, which
    cancer do you prefer is about right…….and the Camel they rode in on…………….William

    • HiPlainsDrifter

      The jihadists are building bombs while the moderates are shopping at Walmart for cell phone detonators..
      It's really that simple…there are no friendlies, especially with the Muz-loving obama in charge…

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Anyone living in the cross hairs, as Caroline and I know very well, is waiting for the ax to fall, so to speak. And the fact of the matter is that while the region is always one step away from a disaster, there is no doubt that the upcoming conflagrations land at Barack HUSSEIN Obama's door, and for more than one reason. I agreed to the interview at the Inquisitr in order to enlighten the world, from a patriot's viewpoint, re regional events – http://www.inquisitr.com/671508/the-inquisitr-int

    BEYOND a disaster…

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • HiPlainsDrifter

      Very interesting and informative interview with "Wolff B"… Is he a real person?

  • guest

    When your enemy is weak, attack.

    If Israel misses this opportunity,
    they don't deserve the future.

    Israel refuses to know their enemy. They could
    build giant plastic catapults, with every 20th
    working in some fashion, and their enemy would
    construct a myth around this. It would be completely effective
    and it would cost nothing.

    But Israel only plays defense.

    They don't have Generals who could attack and destroy.

    Pity.

    There aren't any Comanches causing trouble in Texas,
    and there shouldn't be any Palys making trouble either.

    • Stephen_Brady

      As 1/2 Comanche, I can attest to what you say!

  • mohamed

    israel should respect the rights of palestinean the arab and muslim people deny all the agressivity of israel toward all the gentile even chrestian this is the truth so extremism in israel is the problem and this is the direct generator of muslim terrorism

    • UCSPanther

      Your victim mentality means nothing. Palestine will not survive the 21st century.

    • Mary Sue

      The Palestinians belong in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. That is where they are from, and that is where they should go.

      Your assertion that Israel causes all muslim terrorism is illogical and ridiculous.

    • Defcon 4

      Paleswine are Arabs, and 99% muslimes…

    • Lan Astaslem

      Learn to spell you camel banging knuckle-dragger. The so-called 'palestinians' should be thankful everyday that Israel didn't throw them all out when SHE, ISRAEL won the many wars the savage arabs waged.

      • Defcon 4

        You are very disrespectful towards the camel, giver of that healthy, refreshing and prophet recommended cure-all for everything: camel urine!

  • Horace

    Refresh my memory please. Who did Bashir Assad mass muder?(Other that those groups in armed rebellion against his Baathist semi-dictatorship. Name one western nation that would notTry to eliminate by mass murderif necessary groups in armed rebellion in their own country) How many suicide bombings or rockets have been launched against Israel from Syria? OK Hizbollah has done a few out of Lebanon after/since Sharon pulled the plug on the SLA,, but nowhere near the constant barrage kept up by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Sunni jihadis. Al Quaida and other Islamists mostly bankrolled by Saudi Arabia are trying to overthrow Assad so they can further surround Israel. Deal with Hizbollah and Iran directly. Assad like Saddam Hussein may indeed launch some Scuds when his back is to the wall. Baathist dictators may turn out to be much preferrable to Al Quaida(Muslim Brotherhood) dictators, all proxies for the nefarious Saudis. A massive jihad on foot from every direction might be as hard to shoot down as a Scud.

  • American Patriot

    Good article. Thank you Caroline.

    • Defcon 4

      Same here, Thank you Caroline Glick.

  • US citizen

    The bull in the china shop here is not just blindly thrashing around helter-skelter.

    Obama favors the Muslim Brotherhood and Erdogan on purpose, to cause trouble.

    He's in bed with them all just as cozily as Hilly is with Huma.

  • Not only Assad,

    Thank you, Yasser Arafat!

    Arafat said no to Judea and Samaria just like Assad said no to the Golan.

    And for the same reason, too. Hate.

  • mlcblog

    good bye