Monday, February 25, 2013

Middle East follies

The situation in Syria is in a kind of stalemate, with both sides inflicting the maximum destruction on the other. The result is a mounting casualty count, with neither side actually winning.  But, the insurrection is gradually gaining ground, although they have insufficient fire power to bring a knock out blow to bear on the Assad regime.  However, it is impossible that Assad can regain all the territory in Syria that he previously held.
I predict a two-stage downward spiral in Syria. First will be the gradual wearing down of the pro-Shia regime, as the insurrectionists gain ground, as long as the Sunni Muslim states, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue to supply them with arms.  Then there wil be a reckoning between the so-called moderate Sunni forces and the forces of the jihadists, who want to make Syria a part of their future Caliphate.  During this process, that will last for several years, Israel can sit back and watch as Syria slides further into total destruction and chaos.  Not only will this sever the link between Iran and Hizbollah, but the dreaded outcome of a unified anti-western Sunni Islamist state in Syria will be at least delayed if not prevented, but at great cost. 
Secty of State Kerry will be making a quick tour around the Arab/Muslim world in order to establish American credibility. Then Pres. Obama is going to visit Israel in April.   But, there is no other place in the Middle East that he can in fact visit without fear of assassination.  He certainly cannot visit Syria, he can't go to Egypt that is constantly in a state of conflict. He can visit Jordan, but if he does he may trigger a negative anti-American reaction from the strong party of Islamists and Palestinians there.  He can visit Turkey and Saudi Arabia, that are supposedly American allies.  So he'll visit Israel and try to resuscitate the so-called peace process.  But, as things are right now, with riots and demonstrations going on all the time in the PA, the only way Obama could visit there is if he pressures Israel to make concessions to the PA on the release of prisoners and other issues.  So the PA are preparing the ground for Obama to pressure Israel to be able to visit the PA. 
Meanwhile Iran has announced that they are installing 200 more advanced centrifuges to improve their ability to enrich uranium.  The only conceivable reason for doing this is to obtain highly enriched uranium that can only be used for a nuclear weapon.  The UN and the IAEA agrees with this analysis. As PM Netanyahu keeps warning, we are rapidly apporoaching his red line, when Iran is about to develop a nuclear weapon.  The meeting being held in Khazakstan between the Five plus One countries and Iran will undoubtedly end in stalemate as before. I hope that when Obama does come to Israel he will see the Israeli data and realize that he has no choice but to act against Iran.  Such is the inconceivable mess currently fomenting in the Muslim Middle East.


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