It is not my intention to post too much about Syria on this particular blog. The situation in Syria is ugly, and there are some aspects that need a mention here because Israel has taken defensive actions.
I repeat, I do not know enough about the Syrian opposition to Assad to be confident in making a lot of comment. My own reading of the situation is that there are disparate groups who are fighting against Assad. My own reading is that this is a Shia vs Sunni situation. However, it is the political side that is of more importance than the religious angle.
It is necessary therefore, to repeat what I have stated from the first time I posted anything on this particular conflict. Look behind the curtain and do not confuse Assad for being a good guy because Assad is an ally of Khamenei and Iran. This is why Syria is important to Israel, and it is why Israel is prepared to go into Syria and bomb certain targets, including chemical weapons plants if they can find their locations.
I have written about Russia and its requirements for a sphere of influence. I have stated the same about China. Both Russia and China blocked all UN attempts to settle the civil war in Syria. As a result of their actions the conflict has been allowed to escalate and this has led to Al-Qaeda linked jihadis crossing the border into Syria via Iraq. The Al Qaeda elements are supporting their Sunni brethren and yes I can understand that they would want to do that… it does not mean I support Al Qaeda in making that statement!!
The action taken by Israel has been to target an arms shipment that was sent by Iran and was on its way to Hezbollah in Lebanon. On top of that Israel targeted an installation that overlooks Damascus. Assad had been using that installation to bomb his enemy in the villages surrounding Damascus. There are two issues that arise because of this action that are intertwined in a weird way:
1. Assad has had help from the Iranian Republican Guard as well as Hezbollah as it has attempted to crush his opposition. Thousands of villagers not involved in the conflict have perished at the hands of Assad, and others have perished at the hands of the Al Qaeda backed rebels.
2. The installation that was bombed was said to be housing the Iranian Republican Guard and Hezbollah from Lebanon.
3. Syria is the satellite of Iran, and has been used as a conduit for missiles and other weapons to move between Iran and Lebanon, as Lebanon prepares once again to fire missiles and rockets into Israel.
The Israelis keep an eye on their enemies and I have no doubt that the action over the past week was meant to stop those weapons ending up in the hands of Hezbollah. At the same time they do not want Al Qaeda to get hold of any of the same weapons. It meant that they had to weigh the situation carefully before determining the level of the current threat against their existence. Then they took action.
As a result of this action it seems that the opposition to Assad, that is those who are from “Free Syria” are very happy with the end result of the action. Israel has in effect taken action that helps Israel to survive yet at the same time it is action that weakens Assad as he continues to strike against his own people.
I add here that I am totally against the use of chemical weapons such as those used against Syrians by Assad. I am also appalled over what took place in those coastal villages where hundreds have been killed by the Alawites. Despite what Assad claims, the people who were killed were not members of Al Qaeda. Yes, they are Sunni, but that is not necessarily the same thing as belonging to Al Qaeda. Those villagers were civilians and once again it seems that women and children were the majority of the victims (however, I add here that I need other proof as to the veracity of this particular statement).
UPDATE: It has now been revealed that it was the “rebels” who used “chemical weapons”. The people who were taken across the border into Turkey were affected by something. The Assad regime does in fact have a facility where chemical weapons have been stored. It has been open to speculation that Israel did in fact hit that facility during one of the recent raids across the border. (If they did hit the facility and wipe out those weapons, then it is well done). However, the possession of those weapons does not mean that they were used (like Gadhafi used them in Misrata).
One comment that caught my attention on the subject was that we do not know exactly what was used or what happened. MyPetJawa has a report that contains some specific information that caught my interest about what might have been used to cause mild symptoms. What can burn the flesh? What can have a nasty effect but not in fact be sarin gas? It is legal and it is used in swimming pools. The answer is chlorine.
Could it be that these “rebels” are trying to get intervention through this kind of effort? Could it be that they remember the “red line” speech and they were hoping that the use of “chemical weapons” would in fact get the response that they wanted – that is intervention by the USA against Assad?
I retain my POV that we should not get involved in this Sunni vs Shia conflict or civil war. Let them fight it out in their own country and let us not be dragged into their conflict that has lasted for 100s of years.