Tuesday, September 3, 2013

THE POST-AYOUB ERA, WEEK ONE: Ghassan Kadi 15 Oct 2012

By Ghassan Kadi
15 October 2012

It is muscle flexing time and NATO is massing its fleets in the Mediterranean, sending threats to Syria and both overt and covert messages about aiding the militants by way of training, providing hardware and facilitating their entry into Syria.

 Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice will continue to do their bit at the UN and other international forums in order to, among oth...er things, keep the pressure up on Syria and to keep pushing with the psychological warfare.

 But to the sheer surprise of the enemies of Syria, many developments are eventuating in a manner that has not been accounted for.

 1. To begin with, they did not manage to create an uprising in Syria. The very fact that the FSA is highly dependent on the influx of militants coming in from the Lebanese, Jordanian and Turkish borders is a clear cut indication that the FSA is short on Syrians who want to fight alongside it.

 2. The creation of the FSA did not split the Syrian army. The Syrian army is still by-and-large united under its legitimate leadership and president and is scoring victory after victory.

 3. Russia is adamant, at least thus far, not to change its position about international military intervention against Syria. It is Russia’s stand that is preventing such an intervention and irrespective to what extent NATO flexes its muscles and irrespective how much Erdogan huffs and puffs, Syria will not be attacked overtly in an open war for as long as Russia maintains its position.
That said, if we look at the most recent event and benchmarks, the most significant one will have to be “Ayoub”; the Hezbollah drone that was shot down not far from Dimona.
This incident is of such great significance because all of a sudden, Israel will have to answer satisfactorily at least the following questions:

1. Was this the first violation of airspace by Hezbollah drones?
2. How many of those drones does Hezbollah have?
3. What are the rocket-launching capabilities and the accuracy?
4. What is their range?
5. What part can those drones play in a war with Lebanon and/or an all-out war with Syria and Iran?
6. As it is alleged that “Ayoub” had some Israeli technology in it, who leaked out and how much of Israel’s espionage capacity is under the watchful eye of Hezbollah?
But Israel is not alone with her concerns. NATO will have similar ones. NATO would be seriously concerned to answer those questions:
1. Are those drones running espionage missions in the Mediterranean?
2. Are they scanning the positions of their fleets?
3. Are they able to strike the warships?
4. Are they able to inflict serious damage on huge sea-hardware?
5. Are they able to guide missiles to hit the warships?
6. How will this change the formula of contemplating an attack on Iran?
What is obvious is that the Hezbollah drones are not toys built in a backyard shed of some whiz-kid. Let us not underestimate Hezbollah’s technological prowess. Let us keep in mind that back in August 2011, Hezbollah hacked into Israeli drones and was able to download photographs taken by those drones causing Israel a great embarrassment and the cancellation of orders.
Let us also no forget that Iran managed to commandeer an American drone and got it to land in Iran.
The pertinent bottom line here is that ever since its inception, Israel has been fighting unmatched battles with its enemies; state-of-the-art technology versus remnants of a stone-age. And ever since the June 1967 war, to say that Israel has had the upper hand in controlling the skies would be a gross understatement. An accurate statement to make would be to say that Israel has had the exclusivity over the skies. This formula is now changing, and changing for ever.
The spotting and downing of “Ayoub” will be a mark in history and the history of the future will be talking about the pre-Ayoub era and the post-Ayoub era, though not necessarily using those terms.
But this will not be the only change. Ever since the end of the Cold War, the US has also been fighting unmatched battles with its enemies. In its first post-Cold War war, the USA has unleashed its deadly arsenal that was designed to fight other super powers to launch its Desert Storm attack on Iraq in 1992. And since then, the USA has been playing the bully shamelessly brandishing its super might on sitting ducks. This time, if they get into a fight with Syria, Hezbollah and/or Iran, they will be dealing with a foe that is able to strike back, one who is perhaps able to hack into their system, use similar technologies, and perhaps with very far reaching capabilities.
Let be realistic. If Iran has missiles that can reach Western Europe and Western Europe engages troops within NATO to strike Tehran, why would Tehran spare Western European cities from counter attacks?
It seems that every time the USA/Israel alliance contemplates a scenario of attacking Iran and Hezbollah, they find out that a new surprise has been exposed.
It is not by chance that Ayoub has surfaced now. One would even dare argue that it was deliberately sent on a detectable mission after many successful undetectable missions have been completed.
What other elements of surprise do Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have up their sleeves? This is Israel and America’s current nightmare, the post-Ayoub nightmare.

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