While everyone stares at the ever shifting, ever blurring Syrian Chemical Weapons red line which is now befuddling the White House, the Syrian civil war continues to wind on and on eventually to determine who will prove supreme, bad or worse. There is no good side to choose in this fight. It now comes down to Assad backed by Iran and Hezballah, the Syrian Free Army which is backed largely by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the al Nusra Front which represents al-Qaeda and even should Bashar Assad be toppled there will still be Hezballah allied with the IRGC guerilla forces attempting to preserve the influence of their Iranian masters. As far as the United States is concerned there is no actual good guy for them to back though President Obama has appeared to have a soft spot for the Muslim Brotherhood in the past.
The one democratic country which is very concerned over the eventual results and intermediate activities in Syria is, of course, Israel. While the Israelis are not particularly fond of any of the players, their previous knowledge of Assad may make him the least troublesome of the evils for Israel. Do not misunderstand that Assad would make Israeli leaders overjoyed as they have fought three conflicts against his forces; one in the Six Day War in 1967, once again when both Syria and Egypt launched the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and their final conflict was an air war over the Bekaa Valley in 1982 where the Israelis knocked sixty Syrian fighters from the skies in two days of dog fights losing absolutely no planes themselves. For the memory of these defeats Bashar al-Assad might be sufficiently gun shy that would make his remaining in power preferable to having to teach a new leader the perils of engaging the IDF from scratch.
Whatever the eventual result of the civil war in Syria the one thing Israel absolutely cannot allow is for Iran or anybody else to funnel new and more dangerous weapon systems to Hezballah in Lebanon. This is what spurred the recent air raids by the Israelis on Damascus and along the Syrian-Lebanon border over the past week. The Israelis were removing transports carrying new weapon systems which would have posed a serious increase in the threat potential of Hezballah. One can only imagine what such systems might have entailed as Hezballah already possesses at a minimum sixty-thousand rockets of various ranges with which to threaten Israel. Despite such a seemingly overwhelming threat potential, Iran has still decided it is worth the possible losses to attempt to further arm Hezballah in order to turn their threat into a certainty that Tel Aviv would be decimated in return for any actions taken against the Iranian nuclear program. Iran has made it very certain that it matters not who attacks their nuclear program, Israel will receive the brunt of the Iranian response through Hezballah and Hamas and Syria providing Syria is still a part of the Iranian Shiite Crescent across the Middle East.
Meanwhile, back in Washington DC President Obama is doing a number of pirouettes on the head of a pin trying to avoid being pinned down to his red line should Syria use chemical weapons threat. Syria has, according to Israeli, French, British and even most United States sources, already deployed Sarin nerve agent against the rebel forces and civilians. There have been reports of multiple usages yet President Obama continues to squirm and wrestle with these facts attempting to twist them into a cloud of doubts in order to back away from the precipice and avoid actually being forced to act. The problem President Obama is facing is that he really miscalculated when making a threat he never expected to have to ever face. Now that reality has not only caught up but has swept past his threat of action crossing over his red line, President Obama must now fudge the facts and blow enough smoke that he can claim that his red line was more flexible and has remained inviolate, but with his red line not only crossed but rather obliterated, President Obama has been left appearing completely toothless in all ways concerning Syrian use of chemical weapons.
There is one huge problem beyond the simple fact that President Obama has been rendered impotent concerning events in Syria; all of his threats and posturing over the Iranian nuclear program are now mute and meaningless. This can only serve to make the Iranian nuclear weapons threat even more potent as it is now obvious that President Obama never actually intended to ever take action in order to prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons. This leaves all of Europe as well as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the other nations within the GCC, and anyone else who Iran may see as an opponent directly in the crosshairs of a potential nuclear Iran. What makes things even more clouded is that now all of the intelligence information which originated with the United States or was heavily influenced by the United States now cannot be considered to be anything other than a ruse to prevent the appearance of a need to act. This is very likely to cause a complete reevaluation of the entire Iranian situation by Israel at the very least. The backing away from his red line by President Obama has resulted in the entire world now realizing that they are on their own when it comes to the Iranian threats. This can only lead to a more dangerous Middle East, like anybody thought such was even possible.
Beyond the Cusp