Saturday, July 15, 2006

Syria's Already Lost

I know I swore off political posts a while back, but recent world events have been too tempting and I can't resist playing the parlor windbag one more time.


Someone asked if what happened to the Israeli corvette could happen to US Navy ships. Not likely. Our ships are equipped with point defense systems designed to shoot down incoming flying things. You'd need many, many flying things all at once to hope to get one through. Picture the Japanese kamikazes in World War II.

With all due respect to the Israeli Navy, they are the JV team. When the varsity squad shows up, it's time to run away.

Update: My bad. Both the Saar 4 and Saar 5 Israeli corvettes have the Phalanx close in weapon system. The Saar 5 that got hit had its turned off because of friendly aircraft in the area and ignorance about Hezbollah's missile technology.

The Israeli campaign to date is a classic prelude to invasion. They've gone after sensors and transportation. Knocking out radar installations, bridges, power plants and the rest effectively blinds and paralyzes the people on the ground. Hezbollah had better be ready to fight with what they've got right now because there isn't much new stuff on the way.

That also means that every rocket they fire is one less they have. After firing, what, 500-800 rockets they've managed to kill 5-10 people? That just won't cut it. Yes, I know, the MSM has a mayfly's memory and images of Berlin and Tokyo in ruins may as well be from Cromwell's era, but in reality that's a pretty poor strategic bombing campaign.

When the Israeli Air Force is finished, the Israeli army will be able to choose the time, place and duration of all engagements. Maybe they're coming to stay this time, maybe not. The choice will be theirs, not Hezbollah's, Lebanon's or Syria's.

Which brings me to my main point.

Syria has already lost.

Big Pharaoh has the scoreboard. Syria's buddies in the Middle East have smacked them down hard in public. They are most displeased with Hezbollah.

"These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them," Saudi al-Faisal told his counterparts.

Supporting his stance were representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, delegates said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
By my count, that's 8 Arab states taking the side of Israel over Hezbollah.

Put yourself in Syria's shoes. You're surrounded by enemies on all sides. Your only friends are the Iranians and there are three or four US divisions, two carrier battlegroups and 1/3 of the US Air Force between you and them. Your economy is a Stalinist train wreck. Your army is designed for killing your own civilians. You've lost your proxy government in Lebanon to a local revolution.

Now your only remaining friends in Lebanon, Hezbollah, have pulled off a stunt that is the equivalent of whacking a beehive with sticks and then chucking it over the fence into your yard.

What's the end result?

Your Arab brethren have taken the side of the Jews over you. The Jews! Once this is all over, you're going to have a lot of wheedling and whining to do to get back in their good graces. Unlike Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, you don't have any oil money to do it with.

Meanwhile, the Israelis are revealing you for the cowardly blowhard you are. You don't dare march in to help your Hezbollah buddies in Lebanon because you know the Israelis would mop the floor with you.

Of course, there's an easy way for Syria to get back on the good side of her neighbors. Some Syrian general could put a shiv in the back of el presidente, have a quick, but hyper-violent purge and then inform the world that there is a new regime in Syria and can't we all just get along?

I really don't see what Syria has gained from all of this.

By the way, if you've come across this from a link, here's what this blog is really all about, in addition to photos of our Maximum Leader and the Syrian hamster.

Update: Commenter Carol Herman on the Captain's Quarters blog has hit the nail right on the head.

The Israeli demand that Syria make sure the hostages are released assumed that there is some kind of command and control link between Syria and the kidnappers. It may be that this whole thing took Syria, Iran and even the Hezbollah leadership by surprise. I'd bet that right about now Syrian leadership has almost no clue as to what the tactical situation on the ground looks like.

By the way, I think you can just forget about the idea that this will be a distraction for the West while Iran marches ahead with it's nuclear program. Unlike dictatorships and the MSM, free societies can multitask like there's no tomorrow. The folks working on the Iranian situation will get up and go to work on Monday and work on the Iranian situation. It's not like they're all rushing over to deal with Syria. We empower and entrust our subordinate organizations to do their jobs without the constant oversight of their hierarchy.

OpFor's got a good take on the Israeli's prepping the battlespace.

Update #2: Michael Totten suggests that Israel's spasm of violence was a bad idea in the way it was practiced because it went too far north into Lebanon. They could have separated southern, Hezbollah Lebanon from the rest and gone crazy against them. He certainly knows more than I do. I bow to his superior knowledge.

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