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 processâ€¦ 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.