Monday, May 25, 2015


Ghassan Kadi
25 May 2015

 The events of the last few months have been unravelling in a manner that was least revealing. Suddenly however, some developments can be seen, which if connected together, can only lead to one assessment and speculation.

The War on Syria is coming to a head and the real battle for liberating Syria is about to begin.
The stalemate of the months leading up the death of the Saudi King Abdullah were inadvertently related to the fact that he did not want to further engage Saudi Arabia in risky battles that could threaten its own security.

Soon after the incumbent king Salman assumed power, he declared war on the Houthis in Yemen, and in doing this, he declared a proxy war on Iran.

His uncalculated risk was based on the assumptions that Pakistan and Egypt were going to walk the talk and put their boots on his ground, but when push came to shove, they snubbed him leaving him high and dry. The war in Yemen is in its very early stages and its consequences can be far-reaching within Saudi Arabia. As a matter of fact, soon after the commencements of Saudi strikes on Yemen, Iran Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamanei broke his regular rhetoric and all rules of diplomacy when he promised the Saudis that their noses will be rubbed in the dirt.

Similar words were heard from Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah. Ever since the war on Syria started, Hezbollah had been fighting in Syria with one hand and having its other hand tied behind its back in Lebanon. For political reasons and in order to keep calm within Lebanon and prevent it from slumping into another civil war, Hezbollah did not take any serious actions in order to cleanse the Arsal district; an area in Lebanon’s east just a few kilometers from the Syrian Qalamoun district. But delaying this decision has also caused Syria a lot of harm because all forms of supplies reaching the Jiihadis in the Qalamoun has been coming from Lebanon via Arsal.

The stalemate was nudged before it was broken with the rise of ISIS in Mosul and most recently with ISIS reaching Palmyra.

Major and serious decisive moves have to be implemented, and the time is ripe; not only on the Syrian front, but also “assisted” and provoked by the Saudi attack on Yemen and even events as far as the Ukraine.

Just before Kerry’s recent Russian visit, tens of thousands of fresh Jihadi troops entered northern Syria via the Turkish borders. This was the culmination of a newly-formed Qatari-Saudi-Turkish alliance to topple President Assad. All three countries put aside their recent differences and decided to make fresh advances in the government-controlled region all the while ISIS makes its own advances in the eastern front.

Kerry only went to Russia because Western policies failed in the Ukraine. He went to seek terms of settlement, not to impose his own. It is beggars who go knocking at doors; not the other way around.
Little leaked out of the Russo-American talks and their outcome. All logical indicators however point to a scenario in which Kerry went to trade Ukraine for Syria. The Russian reply was clear; Russia is winning the situation in Ukraine and does not need to negotiate it.

Thinking that he was empowered by the new three-party-sponsored assault on Syria, Kerry believed that he had a bargaining chip. The Russians did not relent and told him that Syria will not fall into the hands of ISIS.

Given that there is little room left for diplomacy, given that the whole globe is on the verge of another world war, Russia and its friends realise that Syria is going to be the pilot light that will defuse the situation, and the only way for this to happen would be via a decisive military win that does not provide NATO with any bargaining chips.

Its timing is still for us to know, but the zero hour has been already declared.

Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah now feels that his hand in Lebanon is no longer tied behind his back. Surely, an all-out engagement with the Arsal Jihadis may have consequences that will encompass all of Lebanon and Lebanon might plunge into another civil war, but the risks of not going all the way to Arsal are more dangerous.

For the first time ever, in a speech given yesterday (25th of May) commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of victory in South Lebanon, Nasrallah commented on a call he made two days earlier, a call for general mobilization. He noted that “such a call would not be made had the situation did not warrant it”. He emphasized the level of preparedness of his troops, and that they will count in the tens of thousands on all fronts.

Friends of Syria ought to brace themselves for the mother of all battles. Once the Qalamoun is cleansed, Aleppo will be purified, Palmyra would have already been liberated, and the ISIS fighters will flee like rats. Syrian forces will meet Iraqi forces, shake hands, and call it mission accomplished.

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