World View: War Between Syria's Rebel Groups Threatens Wider Proxy War

This morning's key headlines from

  • Unnamed U.S. officials name Israel as Latakia, Syria, attacker
  • War between Syria's rebel groups threatens wider proxy war
  • Russia stages largest military drills in post-Soviet era

Unnamed U.S. officials name Israel as Latakia, Syria, attacker

Smoke rises in the city of Latakia.(Reuters)
Smoke rises in the city of Latakia.(Reuters)

On Friday, July 5, mysterious explosions struck a big Syrian arms depot in Latakia, destroying large supplies of Russian weapons, including advanced radars and cruise missiles. The explosions are a big setback to the regime of Bashar al-Assad and its planned attack on Aleppo. However, the source of the explosions was unknown, and some suspected a terrorist group aligned with al-Qaeda.

Israel has remained quiet about the explosions, but now unnamed U.S. officials have leaked to CNN that the explosions were caused by Israeli airstrikes. Israel is denying the U.S. reports, saying, "It has been a long time that we are not intervening in Syria's bloody war."

Israel has struck Syrian weapons supplies in the past, and has been warned by the al-Assad regime and by Hezbollah that any further attacks would risk drawing retaliation in the form of a new warfront against Israel through the Israeli border in Golan. CNN and Debka

War between Syria's rebel groups threatens wider proxy war

The unexpected assassination of a Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander by the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra, and threats of revenge by FSA leaders, is signaling a kind of "side war" between rebel groups in Syria that almost guarantees a victory by the regime of president Bashar al-Assad.

But the dithering by the West in general and the U.S. in particular in making a decision to provide arms to the FSA and other secular rebels in Syria has had an ironic effect:

  • The FSA is the ONLY rebel group without weapons.

  • The al-Nusra front has been receiving weapons from al-Qaeda in Iraq, and from Qatar.
  • Of course the al-Assad regime has received huge quantities of the deadliest and most advanced weapons from Russia, which has been freely supplying these weapons to Syria and lying about them, while using its U.N. Security Council veto to prevent even a simple condemnation of al-Assad from being adopted.
  • The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, which has been actively fighting alongside the al-Assad army and was crucial to al-Assad's victory in Qusair, has been receiving arms and supplies from Iran, and according to reports has even received some of the weapons delivered to Syria by the Russians.
So the reason that the West has given for not supplying weapons to the FSA and other secular rebels is that some of the weapons might fall into the hands of al-Nusra, but since al-Nusra is already receiving arms from outside Syria, the net result of the Western policy is to make sure that the secular Syrians are the ONLY group not receiving any outside weapons.

As I've written many times, Syria is in a generational Awakening era, and there are many survivors of the massive slaughter of Sunnis by Alawites in the extremely bloody civil war that climaxed in 1982 that want no part of another civil war. If it were up to the Syrians alone, then this war would have collapsed long ago. But every time it came close, the Russians stepped in and provide a new massive supply of heavy weapons to the regime, so that the psychopathic al-Assad could use them slaughter and massacre innocent Sunni women and children in the bedrooms.

So, the war is turning more and more into a true proxy war, being fought by foreign fighters -- Hezbollah and Iranian fighters supporting al-Assad, and al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra fighter opposing al-Assad, with both sides being supplied with weapons by outside countries. And according to the previous story, Israel is also getting more heavily involved.

I blame the Russians and Vladimir Putin for this. This has been one of the stupidest foreign policy mistakes that Putin has made. Thanks to Putin, Syria has become a magnet for outside forces on both sides, including al-Nusra and Hezbollah. And according to recent reports, al-Nusra is being joined by foreign fighters from Chechnya and Russia's Northern Caucasus, and after fighting the Syrian government, those fighters will return to Russia and fight the Russian government. AP and Turkish Weekly

Russia stages largest military drills in post-Soviet era

Russia's president Vladimir Putin has doubled the size of military exercises to take place in Russia's Eastern Military District. There will be 160,000 servicemen, 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 ships from the Pacific Fleet. Putin ordered the snap drills on Friday evening, as part of a major shake-up in the military establishment. Since the Eastern Military District is close to Syria, some analysts have suggested that Putin called for the snap drills because of the revelation that last week's Latakia explosions were caused by Israeli air strikes, as described in a previous story. However, the Russian's point out that similar drills have been held in other military districts. Itar-Tass (Moscow) (Trans) and Ria Novisti (Moscow)

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