Israel intelligence: Jihadi Attacks from Crumbling Syria
Al-Qaeda-inspired terror organizations cannot be deterred. Once Assad falls, the radical elements can raid Syrian military bases, arm themselves with a range of devastating weapons, and turn their sights to the Israeli border.
As Israel's military watches Syrian sovereignty crumble and scores of militant groups form in the resulting vacuum, it is on alert for jihadi terrorist attacks from Syria.
The working assumption in Israeli defense circles is that sooner or later, Assad will fall, and Israel will have to deal with whatever will replace him.
The topping of Basher Assad will break the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut axis, which has seen Syria act as the critical bridge linking Iran to Hezbollah.
Should Syria's Sunni-majority succeed in putting together a new government, it will accurately view Iran and Hezbollah as aiders and abettors in the massacres perpetuated against tens of thousands of Sunni civilians who tried to overthrow Assad.
A Sunni Syria will, however, in turn take its place in a new radical Sunni bloc of Middle Eastern states, and link up with the Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt, Hamas in Gaza, and Islamist Turkey.
The new Sunni Islamist bloc will be every bit as hostile to Israel as the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis, but also marked, in Syria and Egypt, by instability and power vacuums that will allow Salafi jihadi groups to do as they please.
Whether Syria disintegrates into warring sectarian mini-states, or transforms itself into a Sunni Islamist state, the outlook for regional security is not especially sunny.
An illustration of how edgy the situation is can be found in an incident on the border in recent days: an IDF lookout identified dozens of armed Syrians in civilian clothing approach the Israeli border.
It was not immediately clear who the armed men were – were they rebels engaging the Syrian army (the civil war has gotten so close to the Israeli border that IDF soldiers are saying they can hear mortar shells explode in Syria), or were they militant Islamist forces testing the IDF's response?
Taking no chances, the IDF evacuated the top of the popular Mount Hermon area, which, during the Jewish holiday season, is usually brimming with visitors.
Although the incident has passed, the danger has not; and the IDF's Military Intelligence has predicted that an attempted attack on an Israeli target from one of the growing number of radical forces operating in Syria is only a matter of time.
Combat forces stationed in the IDF's Northern Command, including infantry and armored divisions, have therefore been working closely with Military Intelligence to prepare for a rapidly changing environment.
Military Intelligence has been briefing commanders of Israeli armored vehicle brigades in the north on the new threats.
Gone are the days when the threat was primarily the centralized, hierarchical, Syrian army. Now, the threats are irregular terror militias armed with explosives, shoulder-held grenade launchers, roadside bombs, anti-tank missiles, and a range of firearms.
Once the intelligence is received, commanders on the ground must use the new information to create new contingency plans and new deployment patterns.
As the recent escalation between Turkey and Syria has demonstrated, the IDF must also continue to worry about the possibility of a confrontation with regular Syrian forces,.
With the Assad regime feeling its back to the wall, there is no way to know how the situation might proceed: decisions that now seem self-destructive from Syria's perspective, such as creating provocations with neighbors, or even a misfired shell (as with Turkey), could set off a chain of unpredictable events.
Similarly, suspicious movement of Syria's chemical weapons will spark a crisis.
To ensure that it can quickly mobilize its Artillery Corps to the Syrian front, the IDF held a surprise and vast live-fire exercise on the Golan Heights in recent weeks. During the drill, Artillery Corps soldiers were, without warning, airlifted from their routine security missions in the West Bank to the Golan Heights, where they assumed their positions and began firing at virtual targets.
The IDF is satisfied with the result of the drill: it proved to itself that it can quickly mobilize its heavy firepower and begin to shell targets at a moment's notice.
Standing Arab armies were a bigger threat to Israel's security, but because they were controlled by central governments, Israeli deterrence against that threat proved effective for decades.
Although the same deterrence is now in effect against terror organizations which have seized territory and power – Hamas and Hezbollah – the al-Qaeda-inspired terror organizations cannot be deterred. Once Assad falls, the radical elements can raid Syrian military bases, arm themselves with a range of devastating weapons, and turn their sights to the Israeli border.
So the Arab winter continues to take shape.
Reader comments on this item
|Cannot imagine [73 words]||Farid Ghadry||Oct 8, 2012 09:05|
|↔ Farid's failure of imagination [46 words]||Phil Slepian||Oct 10, 2012 15:47|
|↔ Jihadi actions [257 words]||Farid Ghadry||Oct 11, 2012 12:44|
Comment on this item
by Louis René Beres
Jihadi violence serves not only to advance the terrorist's delusion of immortality, but also to add, however perversely, an apparent and desperately needed erotic satisfaction, using religion as the justification.
Persuasive promises of immortality -- the desperate hope to live forever -- underlie virtually all major religions.
Washington and Jerusalem should finally address what needs to be done in addition to military remediation -- reinforcing efforts to convince these terrorists that their expected martyrdom is ultimately just an elaborate fiction.
by Gill Gillespie and Shabnam Assadollahi
The aim of the current Iranian regime is clearly to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and to retain as much territory in Iraq as possible under Shia Islamist rule, whatever the human cost. Those aims are also the reason Iran's regime is now trying to intervene in Iraq.
Iran will doubtless be demanding that any cooperation with the West be compensated for by "concessions" permitting its nuclear weapons program.
Involving Iran in Iraq at this point will merely alienate any Sunni allies whose assistance is much needed to defeat IS.
Many people inside Iran have alerted the U.S. Administration for over two years about other industrial facilities being secretly built in Iran and not declared to the International Atomic Energy. So far, all intelligence from within Iran has been wilfully ignored by the Obama Administration.
by Burak Bekdil
The Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.
The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its "gray list."
While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and -- and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.
Being NATO's only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO's only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.
by Samuel Westrop
British politicians seem to be trapped in an endless debate over how to curb both violent and non-violent extremism within the Muslim community.
A truly useful measure might be to end the provision of state funding and legitimacy to terror-linked extremist charities.
by Soeren Kern
"My son and I love life with the beheaders." — British jihadist Sally Jones.
Mujahidah Bint Usama published pictures of herself on Twitter holding a severed head while wearing a white doctor's jacket; alongside it, the message: "Dream job, a terrorist doc."
British female jihadists are now in charge of guarding as many as 3,000 non-Muslim Iraqi women and girls held captive as sex slaves.
"The British women are some of the most zealous in imposing the IS laws in the region. I believe that's why at least four of them have been chosen to join the women police force." — British terrorism analyst Melanie Smith.