Op-Ed: No Assad Means no Obama-Iran 'Grand Bargain'
Mark LangfanThe writer, who specializes in security issues, has created an original...
From the ashes of the US election, one President Obama phoenix-like imperative is clear: Obama is intent on consummating his 'Grand Bargain' with Iran. Israel aside, the past four Obama years of US foreign policy has been a 100 percent Iranian-Shiite victory, and a 100 percent Saudi Arabia-Sunni loss.
The reason Obama has gotten away with what was a total reversal of US Middle East policy is that he cloaked the poison of his real pro-Iranian policy as a Trojan Horse 'negotiating' strategy, ostensibly to 'peacefully' avoid Iran getting a nuclear bomb. However, there is one "ante" which Iran has demanded that Obama can't, and won't, deliver which will scuttle any possible Obama Iranian "bargain": Assad must remain as the Iranian-Shiite puppet in Syria.
Strategically and tactically, Syria is Iran's Persian hub through which it hijacked the entire Mesopotamia and Levant.
And it is exactly over the Iranian sine qua non of Assad's survival that Israel (and Turkey) holds the Royal Flush. Destroy Assad, and you destroy any possibility of Obama's Iranian nuke deal.
But why is Assad so vital for Iran?? Because Syria is Iran's geographic hegemonic tipping point where Iran leverages control over Iraq and and Lebanon, and strategically arcs to the Mediterranean Sea. Even if Israel didn't exist, Syria would still be a vital central link in the spider web of the Iranian hegemonic project. But, through its de facto control of Lebanon and Syria, Iran also tactically buys itself into the infinite value of the war-maker of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So, strategically and tactically, Syria is Iran's Persian hub through which it hijacked the entire Mesopotamia and Levant.
With Syria or without Syria, Iran will attempt acquiring nukes. But with Syria off the Obama table of sweeteners, Obama has nothing that Iran needs for Iran to do, not even a cosmetic "Peace in our time" nuke deal.
Obama has already more than "anted up.". Obama has already given Iran the entire pot of 5 nukes worth of enriched U235. Obama let Iran win the nuclear hand before there was even a deal. So, without Assad in the pot protected by Obama from toppling, Obama's game doesn't hold anything Iran wants. Syria is now a "failed state."
The only question is whether Syria will be an Iranian controlled failed state, or will it split into a failed state of four or five meaningless tribal cantons. For if Obama's 'Grand Bargain' can't deliver Syria to Iran, Iran just won't play. In short, no Assad means no "Grand bargain." Alas, what a shame.
There are several simple positions Israel can take that will not only enhance its total security, but will insure Assad's destruction while not looking like Israel is helping the rebels.
The first is: When the rats are away, the cat will play. Meaning, when Hizbullah forces are mobilizing into Syria, they leavetheir southern Lebanese positions denuded of sufficient order of battle. Hence, the weakened South Lebanon weapons storage depots are a perfect target for a Sudan-style four hour IDF Air Force raid. It's a Israeli trifecta.
Destroy the Iranian Hizbullah weapons that are being used against the Syrian rebels, while preempting an Iranian counterstrike by Hizbullah in response to an IDF attack against Iran.
The game changer is that Hizbullah now doesn't have its Iran-through-Syria weapons' pipeline. So, Israel says any Syrian attack on the Golan will be met with the asymmetrical annihilation of Hizbullah's weapons. After all, Israel would only be "enforcing" UN Resolution 1701 which states "there will be no weapons without the consent of the Government of Lebanon." And the freebie is with Hizbullah defanged by Israel, Lebanon might even move to the direction of becoming a pre-1978 normal Lebanon again.
Second, Israel should supply real-time intelligence to the Syrian rebels on Hizbullah's eastward movement of weapons and soldiers into, and inside Syria itself. This is another Israeli trifecta. Israel needs intelligence on the Syrian chemicals possibly going westward to Lebanon, and the Syrian rebels need intelligence of Hizbullah conventional weapons going eastward into Syria. So, Israel cuts a deal that it will provide the intra-Lebanese real-time intelligence it can get to enable the Syrian rebels to disrupt the eastward weapons pipeline. The more Hizbullah weapons and men the Syrian rebels can destroy en route to Syria, the less Hizbullah weapons and men there will be in South Lebanon to attack Israel.
There are a ton of other low-cost, high-gain small footprint, ghosted Israeli actions which will ever so firmly push Assad into hanging like his Hitler-analog Mussolini, and will guarantee that Obama can't go rogue on Israel for his Second Nobel Peace Prize won for empowering Iran with nuclear bombs. After all, had Hitler waited a little bit before invading Poland, Chamberlain and Hitler would have won the Nobel Peace Prize for Munich 1938.
And, when Obama screams, "Hands off the Syrian jewel of my Iranian crown," Israel's response is a simple one: If Obama can arm Iran with nukes, Israel can disarm Iran's Mediterranean Sea nuke delivery system: Syria.
You won't hear the Saudis, or even the Turks, complaining too much.