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Syrian Conflict is now a Regional War

Syrian Rebel

Syrian Rebel

 

Is the Syrian Civil War Becoming a Regional War?

According to the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, the three-year old Syrian War is now a “Regional War,” having drawn in other nations and non-state actors as belligerents in the conflict.

Here is a quick look at the facts of this nasty civil war back up the General’s analysis.  The war in Syria began as a protest movement against the dictatorship of Bashar Assad.  Having inherited his power from his father, the late Hafez al-Assad, the current Syrian president is the head of the Ba’ath Party, and a member of the Alawite religious minority in Syria.  The Assads have long been allied to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and, in turn, have been key sponsors of the Shi’ite militias of Lebanon, in particular, the powerful Hezbollah terrorist group. 

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As the violence in Syria has escalated, and the Assad regime has lost more territory to the rebels, other actors have entered the fray.  Pro-Western Muslim nations in the neighborhood, including Turkey and Jordan, are openly giving sanctuary and aid to the Free Syrian Army rebels.  Saudi Arabia and other rich Gulf States are providing economic and moral support to the rebels as well.  The NATO allies are also providing support for the defense of Turkey and Jordan, while also aiding the rebels.

On the opposite side, Hezbollah is now sending its military forces into Syria to fight for the Assad regime, while Iran supplies the government forces with weapons, training, and financial support.  Some reports claim that Iranian military personnel are also involved in the fighting.  Shi’ite militias from Iraq are also reportedly in Syria helping the regime. 

The 800-pound gorilla, so to speak, in the neighborhood is Israel.  Still technically at war with Syria since the first Arab-Israeli War in 1948, Israel is very worried about the transfer of advanced weapons from Assad to Hezbollah.  In particular, Israel is worried about long-range Iranian and Russian-supplied missile transfers and the potential for Syria’s stock of chemical weapons falling into Hezbollah’s hands.  To this end, Israel has launched at least three air strikes in recent months to prevent such transfers.  All this while also responding to shots and rounds falling into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.  Israel has provided medical assistance to Syrian rebels in the border region, and speculation has arisen as to whether Israeli Special Forces have been inside Syria lately.

With the ongoing tensions between Israel, Turkey, Jordan and the Western Allies on one side, and the Syrian Assad regime, Hezbollah, and Iran on the other (as well as the ongoing tension and terrorism in neighboring Iraq), it is safe to say that General Myers is correct in that the Syrian Civil War has now evolved into a true regional conflict with the potential to erupt into a major Middle East War.

Syrian rebel fighter in Aleppo

Syrian rebel fighter in Aleppo

Israel-Iran War Draws Closer

On August 21, 2010, Iran, with Russian aid, began inserting the fuel rods into the Bushehr reactor. Some analysts believed that Israel would not risk an attack after August 21 for because of the risk of serious nuclear contamination throughout the Gulf region if the reactor were to be destroyed. However, other analysts see evidence of war preparations by Israel, Syria, and Iran. Clues these analysts see include:
–Ongoing publicity and concern in Israel over the Gallant Scandal, which some Arab sources see as a smokescreen to deflect attention away from war preparations by Israel.
–The presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Mohamed Ali Jafari in Damascus, apparantly for discussions on coordinating Syrian, Hezbollah, and Iranian military responses to an Israeli strike.
–Statements made by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas saying that direct peace talks with Israel were not in the likely because “a big military surprise awaits the Middle East.”

See also: http://www.historyguy.com/iranwar.htm

Iran Reactor: Will Israel Attack the Bushehr Reactor?

Russian sources associated with that nation’s assistance program with Iran’s nuclear program announced that by August 21, 2010, the fuel rods necessary to power the Bushehr nuclear reactor will be installed. Some analysts, such as John Bolton, former
U.S. ambassador to the U.N., believe that announcement creates a deadline by which Israel will attack the
Bushehr reactor. According to Bolton, an Israeli strike at the Iranian reactor must come before the nuclear
material is installed, otherwise, an attack could spread radioactive material throughout parts of the Middle East.

Also, in August, 2010, an article was published by The Atlantic magazine which presents facts and opinions on the possibility of an Israeli strike at Iran. The Atlantic article concludes that there is a 50 percent likelihood that Israel will strike the Iranian nuclear program by July, 2011.

See also:  http://www.historyguy.com/iranwar.htm

Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah may be preparing for a summer, 2010 war against Israel

A new article at Debka.com relates concerns that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah may be preparing for a summer, 2010 war against Israel.  See the article at Debka.com’s site: http://www.debka.com/article/8745/

And the History Guy page at http://www.historyguy.com/iranwar.htm

Iran War Creeping Upon Us

The world is slowly creeping toward the long-awaited and long-feared Iran War.  What is this ‘Iran War?”  At some point, Iran will be attacked, most likely by Israel, perhaps less likely by the United States or some coalition of Western powers.  But the ongoing concerns regarding Iran’s continued nuclear weapons development and the collapse of any reasonable diplomatic scenarios will lead Israel’s leadership with the belief that they have no choice but to strike the Islamic Republic of Iran before they can attack Israel with the nuclear weapons Iran is developing.

Two recent developments in particular shows that Israel is growing increasingly concerned.  First, the Israeli cabinet decided to fund a program to provide gas masks to all Israelis.  This is an obvious preparation for the possibility of missile attacks on Israel from Iran and/or Iranian allies Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria.

Second, on January 12, 2010, a leading Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated by a remote-controlled bomb in Tehran.  It is widely assumed that Israel is behind this killing in an apparent attempt to delay the Iranian nuclear program. 

See also: http://www.historyguy.com/iranwar.htm

Iran's Baluchi Rebels Bomb Revolutionary Guard

Iran is far from a homogenous nation. The Islamic Republic has many ethnic and religious minority groups, and many of them chafe under Tehran’s rule. The Baluchis of southeastern Iran (like their ethnic kin across the border in Pakistani Baluchistan), want freedom from the central government, and are conducting a guerrilla/terrorist war to achieve their goals.

Iran’s ethnic and political unrest escalated on October 17, 2009, with a suicide bombing that killed at least five commanders of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The bombings also killed and wounded dozens of others left dead and injured in two the restive Baluchi region of near Iran’s southeastern frontier with Pakistan.

 The coordinated suicide bomb attacks mark an escalation in hostilities between Iran’s leadership and one of the nation’s many restive ethnic and religious minorities, in this case the Baluchis. Many terrorist attacks, mostly directed at the Iranian military and at the Revolutionary Guard have plagued Iran’s southeastern region, Sistan-Baluchistan, and in April the government put the elite but brutal Revolutionary Guards Corps in control of security in the Baluchi region in an effort to stop the escalating violence.

Iran, predictably, has accused its foreign enemies of supporting the insurgents in the past, and repeated that charge the day after the latest attack. By midday, news reports from Iran said that 31 people were killed and at least 28 injured.

 

See also:

http://www.historyguy.com/iran_baluchistan_rebellion_war.htm

http://www.historyguy.com/iranwar.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/19/world/middleeast/19iran.html

Iran War Scenarios Grow

The news out of the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit about the hitherto secret Iranian nuclear facility, coupled with Iranian missile tests near the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday raise the fears of a Western Powers/Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran.

See http://www.historyguy.com/iranwar.htm for more information and links.

 

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