Op-Ed: How to Stay Serene Post-Geneva
Mark LangfanThe writer, who specializes in security issues, has created an original...
Obama's Syrian rebel-betrayal is the main reason the Syrian rebels have recently suffered catastrophic losses in several key ambushes.
The Serenity Prayer is the common name for an originally untitled prayer by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). It has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs.
The best-known form is:
1) G-d, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
2) The courage to change the things I can,
3) And wisdom to know the difference.
In the tsunami-like wake of Obama's Geneva "Agreement" with Iran, Israel appears helpless against what seems to be Obama's unilateral coronation of Iran as a nuclear weapons' state. Obama's nuclear appeasement of Iran is catastrophic to Israel, the Gulf States, and the world.
In terrible times such as these, one must "keep calm, and carry on." The only way to act is to focus on what one can do and not on what one can't. Hence, Israel should begin the first two steps of a 12-step detox program designed to counteract appeasement.
Instead of obsessing about what it can't do, Israel should focus on what it can do: Step 1: Ice Assad, Step 2: Ice Oslo.
First, Geneva is - in many ways - Obama's lifeline to Iran, helping Iran save Assad, and thereby Iran itself. It was just reported in the media that:
"President Barack Obama’s last-minute decision not to carry out an intended punitive strike against Syria’s President Bashar Assad this summer, after Assad killed almost 1,500 of his own people with chemical weapons, was influenced by secret US back-channel discussions with Iran, Israel’s security and intelligence community reportedly believes. The issue of Assad’s chemical weapons use came up in the secret US-Iran contacts held in recent months in Oman, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Friday, and it quoted unnamed Israeli intelligence and security sources asserting Obama’s change of heart was affected by those contacts."
The moral is: don't focus your attack on Iran. That is where Obama can offer protection; instead, attack where Obama can't protect Iran and where you have a go at the weakest link, Assad.
In the heady euphoria of Iran's Geneva victory, the real story was overlooked. In the battle for Damascus' southern suburb of East Ghouta this past week, Hezbollah suffered 250 KIA casualties with dozens of others captured.
This number means 250 dead Hezbollah, about 30 captured, and many times that number wounded. In a week of Syrian urban fighting, Hezbollah has lost the same number of fighters that it lost in a month-long IDF operation in 2006. Hezbollah has a total of 5,000-8,000 active fighters. So, 250 Hezbollah dead in a week means Hezbollah is dying a slow and irreversible death in Syria. And that means Iran is dying there as well.
All Israel has to do is sell simple bullets and 5k range anti-tank weapons to Saudi Arabia and drop-ship them to south Syria. Since, the "Amazon" name is already taken, let's just call it "Ammozon." Plain old bullets, and only bullets, were responsible for the 250 dead Hezbollah. That's because Hezbollah is not built to fight an offensive entrenched urban guerrilla war in which they are on the attacking side and the Syrian rebels are on the defense with small caliber rounds.
The tables have now turned and Hezbollah is being decimated by the rebels using Hezbollah tactics.
As for the 5k range anti-tank weapons, in the hands of the Syrian rebels, they have become anti-Hezbollah weapons and anti-aircraft weapons. How? Actual field YouTube videos have shown the rebels have destroyed Hezbollah/Assad stationary military positions: mid-flight slow-moving Syrian helicopters: ; and on-ground stationary Iranian supply aircrafts with simple 5k range anti-tank weapons:
These are the game-changers in the Syrian-Iran-Sunni War against the Iranian side. And with a range of 5k, they can decimate the Iranian allies in Syria, but pose little blow-back threat to Israel.
But the biggest Syrian War game-changer is that Post-Geneva, the anti-Assad allies now feel that Obama has double-crossed them from the beginning and has clearly fed real-time Syrian battle-field intelligence on the Sunni rebels to Iran and Assad's forces. Obama's intelligence betrayal will come home to roost against Obama. Obama's Syrian rebel-betrayal is the main reason the Syrian rebels have recently suffered catastrophic losses in several key ambushes. Now, with Obama exposed as Iran's ally in Syria, the CIA and Obama will be shut-out from any, and every, piece of in-theater Syrian rebel intelligence.
In many ways, Iran has already lost Assad, and Assad has lost Syria. For, if today Assad "won," what exactly has he won? Syria is a decimated country where nothing is left and most of Assad's precious scud missiles were used against his own people. Al Qaeda will kill every Assad soldier they find. So Assad has already fallen.
As for icing Oslo, all you need to do is read the PM Netanyahu repeat what Israeli Defense Minister Yaalon said on September 23, 2013:
“In an hour, we will bury a soldier who was murdered by a Palestinian so that his body could be traded and a terrorist could be released from jail, this is a tactic that, unfortunately, has been used in the past. 1,500 Israelis were killed after Israel signed a peace accord with the Palestinians. These are the fruits of peace”.
But the Defense Minister seemed to be just warming up to the subject, for on November 18th, he added these prescient comments at an event in memory of former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan:
"I supported Oslo but smartened up when I realized that Arafat considered it to be yet another stage in the negotiations. To date, I’ve never heard any Palestinian leader, including Abbas, who was willing to say that a territorial compromise, even along the borders he dreams about, is the end of the conflict and an end to the demands, a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a waiver of the right of return... Their unwillingness to recognize our right to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people in some border, this is the obstacle to peace and is the root of the conflict.
"The Palestinian Authority is no less hostile than the entity that runs Gaza, but tries to undermine us by using other means. They threaten a third Intifada. What do they want? For us to surrender as a result of the threat of violence. When you threaten with a third intifada, you implicitly give legitimacy to violence. When there is a peace process, the Israeli issue comes up in the Palestinian media at the level of de-legitimization and hatred.
"They educate their children, in their curriculum, in the rhetoric, and when this increases then there are initiatives - not by terror organizations but rather by criminals - that turn into nationalistically motivated crimes. Our victims are victims of the diplomatic process. And when we stand firm and do not look like we are about to give up, that's when we receive quiet.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon again sagely responded to Kerry's "Iran/Third intifada linkage" statement saying that: "There is no need to fear threats of whether there will or won't be a third Intifada," and he wisely said that, “We have been in an open and ongoing conflict [with the Palestinians], which as far as the Palestinians are concerned does not end in 1967 lines. There is Sheikh Munis—Tel Aviv, Majdal—Ashkelon. We got out of the Gaza Strip and they continue to attack us. They raise their youth to believe that Haifa and Acre are Palestinian ports and more. There is no sign of compromise here. Therefore we are likely not going to solve this based on what we thought. This does not mean we want to control them, they have political autonomy and good thing they do. We will have to be smart, and not fear threats of whether there will or won't be a third Intifada.”
And he concluded thus: “Unfortunately, [some] tie the Iranian issue to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said. “They tie anything to this conflict. We say, ‘enough, this region is unstable not on account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. . . there are those who know and explain to us what the solution is, and they know how to reach it in a short period of time. There are some who say this conflict is only territorial, that it began in ’67 and will end along the ’67 lines, but I haven’t heard any Palestinian leadership, including [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s], say that it is willing to consider any territorial concession as an end to the conflict and a culmination of claims, and to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
Here is another quote from the Defense Minister:
“The crux of the matter is education in the Palestinian Authority, and if I open a PA textbook and see that Israel doesn’t appear on the map, or that Tel Aviv is designated as a settlement, and when a 3-year-old boy is brought up to admire suicide bombers — you can sign any agreement and in the end it will blow up in your face.”
All Israel has to do is show US Secretary of State Kerry the YouTube video clips of the above-referenced Syrian rebels armed with only anti-tank weapons shooting down flying helicopters and blowing up jets on Syrian airfields. And then ask the question, "Won’t the Palestinians use the same small easily smuggle-able and portable anti-tank rockets to blow Israeli helicopters up over ‘West’ Jerusalem, El Al 747s parked at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, or Egged buses winding their way up the mountain passes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?”
If one Israeli 747 on Ben Gurion Airport tarmacs is blown up by a Palestinian anti-tank rocket fired from the mountain perches of the "West Bank", Israel's economy will freeze because all casualty insurance on all Israeli-bound flights will be terminated by international insurers.
In conclusion, the best anti-Iranian nuclear strategy for Israel is a decimated Iranian-ally Assad, and a dead peace process. Let's hope Israel has the serenity to understand that talking with Obama won't change Obama's intention to nuclear-arm Iran. But, Israel's courage in arming the Syrian rebels, and keeping Abbas unarmed, will gain Israel needed leverage and success.
For more information, please visit www.marklangfan.com