Op-Ed: Houla's Guernica will be Tehran's Waterloo
Mark LangfanThe writer, who specializes in security issues, has created an original...
Guernica, Pablo Picasso, 1937, Oil on canvas
In memory of IAEA Inspector Seo Ok-seok (May he rest in peace) who I believe was murdered by Iran while in the active line of IAEA duty on May 8, 2012 in route inspecting Iran’s Arak Heavy Water Facility
World War II de facto started in Guernica in 1937, when Hitler, and his Luftwaffe, first field-tested his Blitzkrieg, and massacred hundreds of innocent women and children in support of the co-Fascist Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Pablo Picasso memorialized the horrors of Guernica in a painting now hanging in the Museo Reina Sophia, in Madrid.
The First Great Middle East War has de facto started in Houla in 2012 where Khamenei, and his al Quds Force, first field-tested his Execution-Krieg, and massacred over a hundred innocent Sunni women and children in support of his co-Shiite Assad in the Syrian Civil War. Ordinary Syrians with iPhones memorialized the horrors of Houla in actual pictures and videos now viewable on the Internet.
Tragically, Houla will pale in comparison to when Iran will start using Assad’s chemical, and maybe even biological, weapons to genocidally annihilate hundreds of thousands, if not, millions, of Syrian Sunnis.
However, the Iranians have made an ultimate and, now, irreversible, fatal mistake in their Syrian theater battle assessment. The Iranian mistake in Syria will not just be an American-style Vietnam strategic mistake for Iran, but a Napoleonic Waterloo fatal mistake which will destroy the Islamic Republic’s very regime itself to its very core.
Iran’s mistake: Iran has believed its own press on its own Mahdistic invincibility, instead of calmly looking at the cold, hard numbers of the orders of battle in Syria.
The first relevant order of battle is civilian population of Syria itself. Syria has a population of 22 million of which 75-80 percent are Sunnis and 6-13% are Alawites. The Christians and Druse which make up the rest aren’t stupid enough to give the properly raving Sunnis crowds reason to chant “Death to the Christians” in addition to their “Death to the Alawite (Shiites).”
So the Syrian population numbers are about 18 Million Syria Sunnis to about 1.5 Million Syrian Alawite Shiites. Bad, bad numbers for the Iranians.
Also, the Alawite Shiites are located almost entirely in the Latakia mountainous province on the coast of the Mediterranean and before Assad Sr. took over were the poorest and least educated class in Syria. Two generations of Assad Family Syrian rule of raping the Syrian people and economy in the false name of “Resistance” did not turn Syria’s Untouchable’s into Syrian Prussians.
Consequently, Syria’s Army of about 250,000 standing plus 250,000 reserve forces, at most, net-nets down to about 100,000 Alawite Shiites at best, and these are mostly the officer corps who aren’t used to doing the ‘down and dirty’ work.
So, Assad Jr.’s Alawite Shiite army has only about 100,000 loyal Alawite Shiite soldiers and militiamen to battle a population of 18,000,000 Sunnis. On this number alone, Assad is a dead-regime-walking, and Iran’s decision to go all in on Syria is idiotic, if not insane. In fact, the Iranian-backed and directed Syrian Shiite murder of 20,000 Syrian Sunni civilians in 2011-2012 out of 18,000,000 Syrian Sunnis has triggered a Sunni Jihad against the Shiite Iran of not only the 18 Million Syrian Sunnis against the Persian Shiite Puppet Assad, but of the 10’s of millions of super-rich Persian Gulf Sunnis against the Iranian Regime itself.
18,000,000 Syrian Sunnis financially and militarily backed by the billions of Sunni Kingdom’s petrodollars against 1.5 Syrian Shiites is a total loser for Iran.
The second relevant order of battle is Hizbullah. The sum total of active Hizbullah forces is a grand total of 5,000!! Frankly my dear, how underwhelming.
Hizbullah was built as an indigenous irregular terror force in South Lebanon to fire Katyusha rockets into Israel, and fight a defensive tactical retreat-type of war against an armored Israeli force in its extensively developed intricate lines of fallback defense. Hizbullah was designed and trained to defensively bleed an Israeli armored attacking force to death, not to offensively attack as a regular force a pulsating endless sea of thousands of civilians chanting “Allahu Akbar” armed with hatchets and short knives and fuel-air thermobaric explosive anti-tank weapons that double as anti-building weapons.
It is a “snake” that was never, ever remotely intended to be deployed on a large-scale outside of the “grass” of its carefully gardened and sculpted South Lebanon battle-space. Outside of South Lebanon it has no supply lines, no communications lines, no lines of retreat, and no intelligence. Nothing in Syria, period. In Syria, Hizbullah Shiite forces are exposed red Shiite snakes exposed on bare black pavement ready to be smashed by the Syrian Sunnis on their home turf.
What possible value does even the entire 5,000 force of Hizbullah amount to against 18 Million Syrian Sunnis armed with modern anti-tank missiles on their own turf? At best, Zero.
To top it off, after the last Lebanon War of 2006, Hizbullah was so decimated by the Israelis that they had to take Sunni recruits into their force. (How dumb was that!!??!!) So, Iran’s use of Hizbullah in Syria will actually insure a total intelligence failure by Iran in Syria.
Finally, the deployment of virtually any significant number of Hizbullah to Syria will de-nude South Lebanon of their forces, and expose Iran’s South Lebanon arm’s depots to a massive one-day Israeli air-strike blitz. If Hizbullah tries to be in two places at one time, it will lose in both places.
Add to the mix, the Lebanese billionaire Saad Hariri is desperately seeking to avenge the murder of Rafik Hariri, his father by Hizbullah, Assad, and Iran. Not, a pretty picture for Iran’s proxies. In short, Iran’s deployment of its 5,000 Hizbullah to Syria will only unambiguously morph the Syrian Sunni chant from “Death to Alawites” to “Death to Shiites.”
The third order of battle is the Iranian al Quds Forces itself which is sort of the “Foreign Legion” of Iran. A recent estimate places these forces at about 20,000. Again, what is even the entire 20,000 Persian speaking and Persian looking commando-types going to do against 18,000,000 Sunnis with about 500,000 Syrian Sunnis of military age and fitness?
For a start, it has made Assad’s murderous genocidal Hague war-crimes against the Syrian Sunnis into Iran’s direct murderous genocidal Hague war-crimes against the Syrian Sunnis.
At best, the Iranian al Quds Force is a bucket of water against a 10-alarm fire. At worst, the Persian speaking al Quds Forces will draw very special attention to themselves like a violently waving red flag to an enraged Sunni bull, or a honey to a bee.
Most importantly, because Iran has embedded the al Quds Forces with the Assad’s massacring Alawite forces, the Sunni crowds of millions will surely shortly begin chanting “Death to the Persians!” Hence, the Iranian’s have single-handedly sparked not only a religious war against the Shiites, but also a religio-nationalist war against the Shiite Persians. What a ‘Norman Vincent Peale’ Iranian “Strategy” for making friends and influencing people!
The Syrian Civil war has now reached the tipping point where the Syrian rebels are finally receiving(over the pro-Shiite US President Obama’s intense, fierce, obdurate objections) real first-quality anti-tank weapons with a range of about 5 kilometers, and are killing a hundred Syrian soldiers every couple of days.
Based on the Syrian topography and road system, the hub city of Homs is the central transportation core of Syria where all the other roads to everywhere in Syria spoke out from. Hence, the rebels focus on Homs with anti-tank weapons will paralyze pro-Assad vehicular movement (even if Assad had gasoline) everywhere throughout Syria. Already there has been an upward spike of Pro-Assad Syrian army deaths. These numbers will escalate exponentially in the coming weeks.
Also, the rebels have brilliantly begun successfully attacking Syrian air force bases with simple mortars. It is especially vital that Syrian rebels redouble these simple mortar attacks on Syrian air bases (see Wikipedia - List of GPS locations of the Syrian Air Force bases -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Syrian_Air_Force_bases. )
This will devastate the Syrian helicopter gunships dropping chemical weapons on the Syrian rebels before they are even able to take off. However, it is vital for the rebels to start to focus on sabotaging Syria’s air defense radar bases. (see Strategic SAM Deployment in Syria http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Syria-SAM-Deployment.html).
The reason is that it is only a question of when, not if, Assad and his Iranian al Quds puppet-masters will use Assad’s chemical weapons, ala Saddam Hussein attacks on the Kurds, to attack the Sunni rebels and civilians. The key Syrian chemical weapon facilities are in Homs, Hama, and North Damascus. With Assad’s air defense radars neutered around these locations, the US, or most likely Israel, will be forced to eradicate the Assad chemical storage sites by air. It will be impossible for the US and Israel to passively sit by and watch the Shiites perpetrate a chemical genocidal holocaust against the Sunni Muslims.
In an ironic twist of fate, despite the 100’s of billions of US Dollars the Sunni Arabs have to put into modern weapons and armies, when Assad and Iran start using their chemical weapons to murder Sunni Muslims, only Israel’s order of battle will save millions of Sunni Muslims from Assad’s and Iran’s genocidal weapons of mass destruction.
This is because Obama and his Administration have been, and will continue to be, an Iranian nuclear bomb enabler, and, consequently, a total “no show” in Syria. (Obama’s new Genocide Tsar, Samantha Powers, has gone AWOL when the Iranians are genociding against Syrian civilian Sunnis. Whatever. . . .) Thus, by the rebels taking down Assad’s air defense radars now, the Sunni rebels will allow Israel to save millions of Sunni Muslims later.
The calculus is really one plus one: the more the rebels have degraded Assad’s air defense radars, the lower the decision threshold for an Israeli Prime to give the “Go” order to wipe out Assad’s only remaining trump card, his WMDs. Also, if Assad is forced to divert his loyal Shiites forces to post static guard duty protecting his hundreds of static air defense radar sites, those same soldiers can’t be massacring Sunnis in the Cities. Also, by forcing Assad to defend static air radar points, the rebels will be able to cost-effectively snipe, and attrite the Pro-Assad forces.
It’s a total win-win for the Syrian rebels.
All this adds up to one, and only one thing: Iran, and Iran alone, is responsible for every murderous genocidal slaughter act Assad has committed, and will commit. Hence, Iran is already “all in” on defending Assad, and will stop at nothing-nothing- to defend Assad’s regime.
So forget Obama’s back-door “Grand Bargain” suspension of 20% U235 enrichment, and say hello to an Iran’s front-door mad dash to a workable Iranian uranium gun-type nuclear weapon.
Now that the Iranians have reached about 180 kilograms of 20% U235 Uranium, the Iranians have a clear simple mad-dash to the 45 kilograms of the 90% U235 Uranium needed for a Hiroshima-size easy-to-build “Little Boy” gun-type nuclear bomb. Iran has already realized a nuclear weapon as its only viable defense to Assad’s regime, as well as its very Islamic Madhi-believing regime itself.
Could anyone imagine if baby-faced Assad Jr. now possessed a nuke, let alone a nuclear-armed Iranian Khamenei cum-Mahdi protecting Assad? In fact, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev already directly warned of the likelihood of an Iranian nuclear umbrella of Assad’s Syria, and Iranian nuclear first-use to defend Assad(let alone the Islamic Republic itself) when Prime Minister Medvedev (in front of a puzzled Eric Holder) stated:
At some point such actions which undermine state sovereignty may lead to a full-scale regional war, even, although I do not want to frighten anyone, with the use of nuclear weapons. . . Everyone should bear this in mind. [Bold added for emphasis]
And one point is painfully clear, if Russia has gone to such great lengths to protect the war-crime mass-murdering, bankrupt, resource-poor Assad, imagine the lengths it will go to protect Iran and its nuclear weapon program.
All this makes the possible murder by Iran of the IAEA South Korean Inspector Ok-seok (May he rest in peace) much more likely, if not probable. Inspector Ok-seok probably found a “smoking gun” sample of weapons-grade Plutonium at Arak, and the Iranians knew it, so they murdered him, and destroyed his samples.
He was murdered at around noon Iran time, so he was probably on his way back from Arak. For, if Iran has decided to pull the trigger on a final sprint to a nuclear device, they would not only go the U235 Uranium route, but also attempt the independent Plutonium nuclear bomb route.
North Korea has already exploded two Plutonium nuclear bombs, and are total nuclear partners with Iran. The Arak Nuclear facility which Inspector Ok-seok (May he rest in peace) was trying to inspect is a Heavy Water facility which would be implicated in production of weapons-grade Plutonium.
Such an Iranian Plutonium nuclear bomb would be more likely to be a “dirty-bomb” doomsday-type of nuclear device because Iran would practically only use the Plutonium in a gun-type type of device which would not explode like a normal atomic bomb, but would instead release a massive amount extremely nasty radioactive fallout.
In order for Plutonium to properly sub-atomically ignite and explode to a high yield of TNT, the Plutonium core needs a much more technically complicated spherical implosion device like the “Fat Man” bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. This spherical implosion capability is only generally available to highly advanced nuclear capable countries, though North Korea seems to have had some success with a simpler plutonium nuclear device.
Iran’s independent mad dash for a Plutonium gun-type device would neatly fit Iran’s most probable current strategic mind-set that “The Mahdi’s Nuclear End-game is now.”
In conclusion, the Syrian Civil War is about to go nova, and get real ugly, real fast.
Could anyone imagine if baby-faced Assad Jr. now possessed a nuke, let alone a nuclear-armed Iranian Khamenei cum-Mahdi protecting Assad?
Iran will be forced out of its “Time is on Iran’s side,” “Run out the clock,” nuclear chess match, and into a “now or never” nuclear bomb-making frenzy during prime-time 2012 Presidential US elections. Iran’s transparent nuclear-bomb end-game gambit will make it impossible to hide from the Romney Campaign, and the US public, the Obama’s dirty secret that for 3 and a half years the Obama Administration has held and abided by a total sub-rosa pro-Iranian nuclear bomb, anti-Saudi foreign policy.
Hence, the soon-in-developing Iranian nuclear facts on the ground will force the Obama Administration to do something to either Syria or Iran. And, anything the Obama Administration does to either Syria or Iranian will bring about a regional war pitting Israel and Saudi Arabia, as allies, against Iran and Assad.
In such a war, Iran will suffer a devastating and fatal defeat, not just in Damascus for Assad Jr., but in Tehran for the very Persian Mahdi messianics themselves.
Mark Langfan is an attorney and writer, whose opeds have been posted on Arutz Sheva and who has created an original educational 3d Topographic Map System of Israel to facilitate clear understanding of the dangers facing Israel and its water supply. It has been studied by US lawmakers and can be seen at www.marklangfan.com.