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Belmont Club

When You Wish Upon a Star

May 4th, 2013 - 2:25 pm

Although the Israeli airstrike in Syria was billed as a strike against “chemical weapons” the details of the attack now emerging suggest it was aimed at key components of either the warheads or the delivery systems. Haaretz, quoting sources in Syria, describes attacks on 5 locations in the Damascus airport area: “aircraft fuel tanks, Syrian army ammunition storerooms, the army’s runway and a civilian cargo plane that had arrived from Iran to Damascus were destroyed”.

the attack was carried out on five sites in the airport area. Some were close to each other, while the civilian aircraft was a kilometer away from the other targets. The source explained that the number of targets and the distance between them refutes the Syrian government’s claim that Syrian Free Army forces attacked the fuel tanks, as these factors mean that they must have been attacked from the air rather than by mortars. The website also reports that nearby “noises were heard of aircraft breaking the sound barrier.”

As an element of conflict it has more characteristics of a beginning rather than an end. The Israeli strike is far too small to ‘end’ the Syrian chemical threat. However, Haaretz notes that a number of consequences are now likely to arise from the Israeli attack.

First, Assad may use it to unite Arabs against Israel. “The Syrian opposition is publically distancing itself from all contact with Israel, as it will be seen as relying on the national enemy in order to defeat the government”.

Second, the the response will likely take the form of a “second front” in Lebanon.  And Haaretz continues, “such Israeli involvement is likely to provide legitimization for Iran’s and Hezbollah’s involvement in the fighting in Syria, as well as to the opening-up of another front in Lebanon.”

Nor will it be a Ghost Front. The Telegraph describes the forces now arrayed against each other:

While the border has been largely quiet since, the struggle has taken other forms. Hezbollah has accused Israel of assassinating a top commander, and Israel blamed Hezbollah and Iran for a July 2012 attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. In October, Hezbollah launched an Iranian-made reconnaissance drone over Israel, using the incident to brag about its expanding capabilities.

Israeli officials believe that Hezbollah’s arsenal has markedly improved since 2006, and now boasts tens of thousands of rockets and missiles and the ability to hit trike almost anywhere inside Israel.

The other thing the Israeli strike did is emphasize the limits of the current arrangements. For it seems obvious that Israel is picking up the actual tab for Barack Obama’s vaunting offer to keep Assad from crossing his “Red Line”. against the use of chemical weapons. For the White House the raid is an example of ‘I left my wallet at home, could you spot me a fifty?’ In Haaretz’s words:

In light of the alleged Israeli attack in Damascus and the refusal of Western countries to intervene in the Syrian campaign, the question arises whether Israel will be able, or will be required to expand its activities in Syrian airspace, under the guise of preventing weapons from reaching Hezbollah or other organizations and also as an aerial umbrella to protect rebel forces. Such a solution is likely to be comfortable for the U.S., other Arab countries and Turkey, who are not prepared for military intervention on their part without extensive international agreement.

Obama however, has no problem supporting the rebels almost everywhere some of whom may be good liberal democrats, though others may be as pro-American as the Tsarnaev brothers. In fact the assistance program to the Syrian opposition if it were a TV show might easily be titled Bonanza.

At this stage, the U.S. is providing the rebels with non-lethal assistance. This week, a large shipment of night-vision equipment, uniforms, radios and other logistical equipment arrived. But these are not sufficient for the rebels, who also demand heavy weaponry, anti-aircraft missiles and tanks. The U.S. is also training the rebels in Jordan and simultaneously supporting the training of Syrian Kurdish rebels in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to reports in the Arab press, Israel is in close contact with the administration in Iraqi Kurdistan, and is apparently also involved in training the Kurdish rebels.

Jordan, Syria, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Israel. Is there anything the Obama administration can’t do in the Middle East? Well, yes. Enforce its own Red Lines. Now about that Iranian nuke … and about that Egyptian implosion … and yes, let’s not forget North Africa. What to do? What to do?  Aren’t you glad Benghazi was “a long time ago”?

When You Wish Upon a Star

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference where you are
Any boast your heart desires
Will come to you

The IDF is kind
She brings to those to above
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the Blue
Fate draws the Red Line for you
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true


The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
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Top Rated Comments   
Is it a sign of the End Times that the house lunatic makes more sense than the officials holding the actual levers of power?

Israel is in that neighborhood. It does no good for them to complain that God didn't let them wander another forty years to find someplace better, or with better neighbors. It does no good to complain that both sides are no good and just sit passively. It does no good to waste time repeating that this problem could have been avoided by the US destroying in sequence Ba'athism and then Khomeinism and then Muslim Brotherhood/Salafism/AQ in 2002-04, or better yet in 1991-92.

RWE3.
The best weapon system on earth does no good if the political leadership refuses to use it or allow it to go in harm's way. The most powerful ship on earth cannot be in two places at once. Quantity has a quality all its own. We need 15 CVBGs, with 5 forward deployed and 5 ready to surge, and we need 10 LHA/LHD based ARGs, with 4 forward deployed and 3 ready to surge and real NGFS (that is 6" Major Caliber guns or better or Rail-gun) platforms.

There never was a Peace Dividend. We just spent our inheritance when fellow travelers said "Problem solved, and oh look a squirrel." The world is now less stable and more in need of the USN and RN than it was when peace depended on the Black Horse regiment at Fulda and Commissars counting missile silos in Dakota.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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Let
It
Burn
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fresh secondary explosions of enormous power have been recently uploaded:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_j8ID-m1pU&feature=player_embedded

I get quite a chuckle out of jihadis akbarring the IDF.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
To my way of thinking, the bigger story is the partial destruction of the airhead that Damascus has.

The IDF is keeping the muslims under a "Sword of Sampson." Any further nasty gambits from Assad and his masters is at hazard of air field closures -- with extreme promptness.

The critical weapons and military parts for Assad's crew are coming in by air -- exclusively.

And, in other critical news: the Europeans have granted themselves leave to purchase crude oil directly from the anti-Assad forces now in command of the Syrian oil fields.

Apparently the geniuses atop the anti-Assad strategy have yet to figure out that all of his critical inputs come from overseas -- and he has only one coast. His airhead ought to be THE focus of their operations. It isn't. These clowns are trying to take the palace, instead.

I see that the anti-Assad forces are going to evolve into at least two major wings: Kurds and Sunnis.

The Sunnis already hold the Euphrates corridor. The Kurds have picked up the Northeast, by default. (Assad let them have it without contest.)

Without the Damascus airhead, I believe that Assad will have to run for his life, sort of a Duck of Death end game.

In all of the Iranian scheming, no-one seems to have figured out that Damascus is Stalingrad-Uranus revisited. (Not the Berlin airlift.)

49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Spindok, in 2005 I saw someone wearing a t-shirt showing F-15s that said, "Don't worry, America, Israel has your back"
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well said, Spindok. Both comments.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is it a sign of the End Times that the house lunatic makes more sense than the officials holding the actual levers of power?

Israel is in that neighborhood. It does no good for them to complain that God didn't let them wander another forty years to find someplace better, or with better neighbors. It does no good to complain that both sides are no good and just sit passively. It does no good to waste time repeating that this problem could have been avoided by the US destroying in sequence Ba'athism and then Khomeinism and then Muslim Brotherhood/Salafism/AQ in 2002-04, or better yet in 1991-92.

RWE3.
The best weapon system on earth does no good if the political leadership refuses to use it or allow it to go in harm's way. The most powerful ship on earth cannot be in two places at once. Quantity has a quality all its own. We need 15 CVBGs, with 5 forward deployed and 5 ready to surge, and we need 10 LHA/LHD based ARGs, with 4 forward deployed and 3 ready to surge and real NGFS (that is 6" Major Caliber guns or better or Rail-gun) platforms.

There never was a Peace Dividend. We just spent our inheritance when fellow travelers said "Problem solved, and oh look a squirrel." The world is now less stable and more in need of the USN and RN than it was when peace depended on the Black Horse regiment at Fulda and Commissars counting missile silos in Dakota.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, I was not suggesting that we deploy USN ships equipped with those lasers to the ME.

I was suggesting that land based versions of the same kind of lasers, sited in various high value areas of Israel, and combined with Iron Dome would turn Hezbollah's attacks into a merely a fireworks display.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blast, 15 CVBGs was the cold war number, focused on Reforger and RimPac. IMHO it is now 18. Plus (full disclosure, my first division was Guns) something much larger than 6", capable of firing RAP, Guided Sub munitions to 100,000 yds.
The Corps needs to be a Corps plus one, 225,000 instead of 178,000, in full battle rattle.
The Army needs 15 deployable diviisions, at least three of which are pre-mated and regularly trained with Reserve manned transports for rapid (less than 30 days port to port) excursions. The Air Force needs expeditionary Air Wings to match Army...(ps. DO NOT allow Air Force to decide anything other than what an Air Wing looks like.)

rant off
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Semi-full disclosure, my first division was Missiles. The most valuable thing I learned in Gunnery Officer Pacific was that you count bullets AFTER a training exercise and then subtract that number from the number you thought you had before. The difference is filled in as the number of rounds expended in training. I still have my mug from NUCWPNTRAGRUPAC.

The Army needs organic fixed wing close air support, Marine style. After Obama, will dates be entered as AO and BO?, we will be lucky to have 4 deployed CVBGs and 2 more or less able to surge. Will we have any marines or lift capability to speak of in 10 years? Perhaps an LHD will survive as a mobile disaster relief and community empowerment vessel, fully staffed with Organizers Lawyers Social Workers Apologists and Stuff Dispensers.

I know you know this but for the record' 6" or 155mm guns are major caliber weapons and capable of firing advanced ammo. While I'd love to see 8" guns come back it isn't happening and any medium caliber weapons such as 5" guns, which is the biggest the USN has had since the BBs went away, just can't do the job. Spending money for fancy long range ammo for a 5" gun sounds like a contractors bankroll to me. Until the rail-guns take over we need to get Vertical Load 6" guns out there. It should have happened years ago. The RN has nothing better than 4" and anything smaller, 76mm or less, is a small caliber weapon and probably useless in air defense unless a CIWS and is completely useless for NGFS. They might scare off small craft that come close but not to close.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All I can say is, "Jiminy Crickets!"
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The IDF could impsoe a "no fly zone" over Syria by the simple expediant of blowing up all of the country's airfields and everything sitting on them. But that would be so effective as to be provocative. The West is searching for a "former Yugoslavia" type solution here you have lots of capability but delibertately don't use it effectively lest you hurts someone's feelings.

And in other, seemingly unrelated news, the USN has announced it will be installing laser defense systems on its ships in 2014. Add that capability to Iron Dome and its game, set, match.

If only we had an Administration capable of thinking in those terms
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
So without poetry or elequence.

Israel did what it did to protect its citizens against an existential threat. It had not much to do with US interests.

It did so with admirable precision and effectiveness .

This is far from over. There are no good outcomes for what is happening in Syria. Israel defence got one big shipment of some high powered missiles shipped from Iran, through Syria, intended for Hezbolla. There is not much else to say.

Obama is not a big factor here.

49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who is CARL?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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