According to the Jerusalem Post, Mr. Assad, President of Syria thanks to his daddy’s talents, feels emboldened by Hizbullah’s performance and his new partnerships with Iran and Russia. He has told a Spanish newspaper that Israel has 6 months to negotiate for peace or it will face war.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper El-Pais on Saturday, the president said it would take six months to reach an agreement with Israel. If a peace agreement would not be reached, he added, war would break out.

“Two sides are responsible for the current situation (with Israel) – not just one side. The situation is based on one topic only, the peace process… and perhaps war if no peace is established,” Assad said.

This is not an easy one, by the way. Israel can take on Syria, of that nobody has any doubt. However, what would happen if you topple a nationalist dictator and end up with an Islamic group or a Muslim state replacing him? It is assumed that the Syrian government keeps a pretty tight rein on Islamists, but there is also no doubt that over the past several years, part of the regime’s legitimacy has ridden on an increasing openness to Islamic symbolism and freedom.

And yes, according to Jane’s Weekly, a prominent magazine covering military topics, intelligence services and equipment from both Russia and Iran were based in Syria and used to spy on Israel on behalf of Hizbullah and Iran in the recent war.

During the fighting in Lebanon Hezbollah received direct intelligence support from Syria, using data collected by listening posts jointly manned by Russian and Syrian crews. Hezbollah was also fed intelligence from new listening posts built on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, which are operated jointly with Iran.

This information was confirmed in recent reports by the defense journal Jane’s.

Syria’s centrality to the collection and transfer of intelligence to Hezbollah is based on separate agreements Damascus signed with Moscow and Tehran on intelligence cooperation.

Clearly, like the Russian anti-tank weapons used effectively by Hizbullah against Israeli troops, this technology gave Hizbullah a significant technological boost and capability. It is unclear whether Russia is playing an active or passive role in this situation, although history suggests the former. Still, Israel is being very careful not to offend the Russians and to maintain civil relations. There is no question, however, that in any future war, they will simply have to assume the other side has the latest arms available in the international marketplace. Israel should also consider exacting some sort of price from Syria for its participation in and encouragement of attacks on Israel.

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7 Comments

  • Maybe I’m looking at the world through my positivity-goggles again, but isn’t that conclusion a bit far fetched?

    I mean, Mr. Assad did not say “after six months we’ll turn Tel Aviv into a steaming heap of shish kebab”?

    I understood his statement that unless there is true peace which can be agreed to by all parties, things will eventually deteriorate into war, again.

    And I agree with him on that. One way or the other things will slip, unless there is something concrete which is agreed to and enforced by all parties. So, the peace agreement is needed.

    Or perhaps I did read that somehow wrong?

  • i agree with finnish. i think you’re reading too much into it. although war could break out at any moment, regardless of what assad says, i don’t see how you could officially put a stamp on his quote that says israel will be at war in 6 months on its northeast border.

  • When I read the article, the original JPost article which was headlined he said if they started the peace process(between Syria and Israel) from where it stalled it could take up to six months to come to a solution.

  • Hmmm… This would be suicide for Syria, no? To engage in a an all out war with Israel?? If Israel unleashed it’s full capabilities Damascus would be flattened and most of Syria obliterated. I could be wrong, anyone know otherwise?

  • Wars are often fought to achieve a political objective. Right now there may be a sense in Syria that Hizbullah performed well enough that the IDF isn’t invincible and a war will open the door to negotiations. Right now the door is closed to negotiations which means they continue to stew over the Golan Heights. Also, as I noted, they probably judge, correctly, that Israel will not seek to have Assad’s regime overthrown for fear of anarchy and the rise of Islamism right next door to Israel. Iran has strong relations with Syria these days and the Israelis might think that if the regime falls, the Iranians will have outsized influence in any outcome.

  • Jon, it stalled because no Israeli leader has the courage to give the Syrians what they want. To remind you, Assad Pere demanded that not only the entire Golan be returned, but that the stretch should extend all the way into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). I doubt there is a government strong enough to get the Israeli population behind such a significant concession, even for “peace.” After all, the IDF’s deterrent power has kept “peace” on that border for 24 years and the last time they engaged the Syrians in 1982, they downed 83 Syrian jets without a single Israeli aircraft lost.

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