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

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 armsdepot in Latakia, destroying large supplies of Russian weapons,including advanced radars and cruise missiles. The explosions are abig setback to the regime of Bashar al-Assad and its planned attack onAleppo. However, the source of the explosions was unknown, and somesuspected a terrorist group aligned with al-Qaeda.

Israel has remained quiet about the explosions, but now unnamedU.S. officials have leaked to CNN that the explosions were caused byIsraeli airstrikes. Israel is denying the U.S. reports, saying, “Ithas been a long time that we are not intervening in Syria’s bloodywar.”

Israel has struck Syrian weapons supplies in the past, and has beenwarned by the al-Assad regime and by Hezbollah that any furtherattacks would risk drawing retaliation in the form of a new warfrontagainst 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 bythe al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra, and threats of revenge by FSAleaders, is signaling a kind of “side war” between rebel groups inSyria that almost guarantees a victory by the regime of presidentBashar al-Assad.

But the dithering by the West in general and the U.S. inparticular in making a decision to provide arms to the FSAand 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 weaponsto the FSA and other secular rebels is that some of the weaponsmight fall into the hands of al-Nusra, but since al-Nusrais already receiving arms from outside Syria, the net resultof the Western policy is to make sure that the secularSyrians 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 byAlawites in the extremely bloody civil war that climaxed in 1982 thatwant no part of another civil war. If it were up to the Syriansalone, then this war would have collapsed long ago. But every time itcame close, the Russians stepped in and provide a new massive supplyof heavy weapons to the regime, so that the psychopathic al-Assadcould use them slaughter and massacre innocent Sunni women andchildren in the bedrooms.

So, the war is turning more and more into a true proxy war, beingfought by foreign fighters — Hezbollah and Iranian fighterssupporting al-Assad, and al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra fighter opposingal-Assad, with both sides being supplied with weapons by outsidecountries. And according to the previous story, Israel is alsogetting more heavily involved.

I blame the Russians and Vladimir Putin for this. This has been oneof the stupidest foreign policy mistakes that Putin has made. Thanksto 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 andRussia’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 militaryexercises to take place in Russia’s Eastern Military District. Therewill be 160,000 servicemen, 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130aircraft and 70 ships from the Pacific Fleet. Putin ordered the snapdrills on Friday evening, as part of a major shake-up in the militaryestablishment. Since the Eastern Military District is close to Syria,some analysts have suggested that Putin called for the snap drillsbecause of the revelation that last week’s Latakia explosions werecaused by Israeli air strikes, as described in a previous story.However, the Russian’s point out that similar drills have been held inother military districts. Itar-Tass (Moscow) (Trans) and Ria Novisti (Moscow)

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail