According to a new Rand study, getting rid of Assad's CW stockpile will be nigh-impossible without the proverbial "boots on the ground."
The study warns of “substantial” collateral damage if the U.S. attempts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, arguing that locating and striking the relevant facilities would require “very precise and detailed intelligence.” It concludes that the prospects for scrapping Syria’s chemical weapons via air strikes alone “do not appear promising” and “would require ground forces” in order to have a realistic chance at success.
I live not too far from Edgewood, where I understand that 1625 tons of chemical weapons are stored. If an air strike "took out" that facility, what would happen to the environment in my area?
The Rand report makes clear that war in Syria means war
. This isn't going to be like what happened in the former Yugoslavia.
Meanwhile, AIPAC is pushing for American troops to do what Israelis don't want the IDF to do
The word “Israel” appears nowhere in the text of the statement, underscoring by omission the worry pro-Israel groups in the United States have about framing retaliatory strikes in a way that makes it look like Israel is pushing for an attack on Syria for its own interests.
Which is, in fact, precisely what is going on.
“America’s allies and adversaries are closely watching the outcome of this momentous vote. This critical decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capability,” AIPAC wrote.
AIPAC seems more concerned about Iran than about Syria. But, as I've said for a while now, Iran is the real target here.
And when I say that this is really all about Iran, I mean it's really
really all about Hezbollah, funded by Iran. (Oddly, Israel itself unwittingly created Hezbollah when it first invaded Lebanon. Actions have consequences. Invasion creates militarism -- and the threat
of invasion creates military alliances.)
And when I say that this is really all about Hezbollah, I mean that this is really, really, really
all about Lebanon. That's where the Israelis got their asses kicked
by Hezbollah forces during the 2006 invasion. I don't think the Israelis want to go up against Hezbollah again.
And when I say that this is about Lebanon, I'm not really talking about the territory of that country. What this really, really, really, really
comes down to is water.
Israel needs it to survive. But Israel does not have its own reliable supply. Lebanon does.
I explain the situation in this earlier post
Few Americans understand this, because few Americans can imagine living in a region where the demand for water exceeds supply. But this natural resource has long been at the real root of Israeli/Lebanese conflict. As this report notes:
Almost half of the water currently used in Israel is captured, diverted or preempted from its neighbors." This is understandable, given water can be described as "Israel's vulnerable and fragile source of life.
Today, in 2006, Israel lives with increasing water shortages and a rapidly decreasing supply of fresh water. The river Jordan may run dry within the next two years, because of the vast amount of water being drawn from the river by the people living in the area.
(Emphasis added.) From a brief -- yet monumentally important -- 2002 New York Times story:
Senior officials from the United States Embassy in Beirut met Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri to try to defuse a dispute with Israel over Lebanon's plans to use water both countries say they need. Israel has said it takes a "grave view" of Lebanon's plan to pipe water to southern villages from the Wazzani Springs, three miles north of the Israeli border. The springs feed the Hasbani River, a tributary of the Jordan River, which is a major source of Israel's fresh water. Lebanon says that it is within its rights under international law and that it plans to open a pumping station soon.
Few in the West now recalls that in 2002, Uri Saguy -- head of the Israeli water suppply, as well as the former head of Israeli military intelligence -- warned that "war or forceful confrontation" would result if Lebanon continued to access its own water. (This, despite the fact that the Lebanese had already allowed the bully to the south to install pumps at the Springs.) See also this story in the Christian Science Monitor.
I would thus argue that, in a very roundabout way, Israel's upcoming proxy war with Syria (with us as the proxies) may be considered the first of the great water wars. The IDF can't steal Lebanon's water unless the Hezbollah/Iran/Syria alliance has first been broken.
There will be many such wars in the future, all over the globe. There will be all sorts of ginned-up rationales for these conflicts, because no-one will want to come right out and say
that they are going to war in order to grab someone else's water. I don't believe that Israel differs from other countries -- I just happen to have a very cynical view of people and nations in general. So don't go accusing me of anti-Semitism for offering this analysis.
By the way, let's look at another section from that earlier Cannonfire post. This excerpt illustrates the hypocrisy of the current allegations that Assad has used chemical weapons:
Worse still: We have growing indications of Israeli chemical warfare. Bachir Cham, a Belgian/Lebanese doctor who runs a hospital in Lebanon, offers this report:
"The bodies don't look like they normally do. After an explosion there were no traces of blood loss or subcutaneous haemorrhages [bruises]," Cham said via mobile phone direct from Beirut.
"The hair and sometimes the beard and the moustache remained intact. I found no traces of the pressure wave by the explosion. The colour of the skin was black like a shoe, but the skin was not carbonised or burnt."
Let me guess. Cham must be an anti-Semite, right? Here is more information
about Dr. Cham, and here is his YouTube channel
. He seems like a reasonable person to me.
Of course, it's pretty hypocritical for us to criticize Assad for storing chemical weapons. I mentioned Edgewood earlier, didn't I? Although the U.S. has a "no first use"
policy, how long would that policy last if the government faced a threat to its existence?