|FOR QUEEN (OF ZION)ELIZABETH,
WE WILL WAGE WAR
A better insight is needed on the activities and relationships of Al-Qa’ida and other Syrian and international Salafist jihadists that are now entering the country in increasing numbers. The floodgates are likely to open even further as international jihadists are emboldened by signs of significant opposition progress against the regime. Such elements have the support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and would undoubtedly have a role in Syria following the collapse of Assad. The scope of their involvement would need to be factored into intervention planning.
What military, political and security challenges would they then present in the country, to the region and to the West? Issues include the possibility of an Islamist-dominated or influenced regime inheriting sophisticated weaponry, including anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile systems and chemical and biological weapons that could be transferred into the hands of international terrorists. At the tactical level, intelligence would be needed to identify the most effective groups, and how best to support them. It would also be essential to know how they operate, and whether support might assist them to massacre rivals or carry out indiscriminate attacks against civilians, something we have already witnessed among Syrian opposition groups.
Military Options and Actions: Towards a “Soft Invasion”?
The top-of-the-range option, destruction of the Syrian armed forces through an Iraq-style ‘shock and awe’ invasion, could undoubtedly be achieved by a US-led coalition. As with all other forms of intervention, however, handling the aftermath would be far less predictable, and could draw coalition forces into a long-running and bloody quagmire. At present that option can be excluded as a realistic possibility. There is no doubt that the substantial neutralisation of Syria’s air defence infrastructure could be achieved by a US-led air operation. But it would require a major, sustained and extremely costly campaign including Special Forces deployed on the ground to assist targeting.The remaining intervention options fall broadly into three sometimes overlapping categories. The first category is military enforcement action to reduce or end the violence in Syria, to prevent Assad’s forces from attacking the civilian population by direct action. The second is seeking to bring about regime change by a combination of support for opposition forces and direct military action. The second category might apply in the aftermath of regime collapse. The objective would be to support a post-Assad government by helping to stabilise the country and protect the population against inter-factional violence and retribution. A stabilisation force would be deployed at the request of the new government. In any intervention scenario there might be a need to either destroy or secure Syria’s chemical weapons, if they were about to be used, transferred or otherwise made insecure. This would require such specialised and potentially substantial combat forces, it is likely to be a mission that only the US could execute. The third category is humanitarian relief: bringing in supplies and medical aid to besieged populations. This form of intervention, which would most likely be conducted under the auspices of the UN, would require aid agencies such as the International Red Crescent as well as armed military forces including air power, again perhaps based on a NATO coalition. Humanitarian relief might be needed before or after a change of regime.
Concrete US-NATO Military Actions
The Role of Special Forces
Advisers working alongside rebel commanders, perhaps accompanied by small units of Special Forces troops, could be tactically and strategically decisive, as it proved in both Afghanistan in 2001 and in Libya in 2011.
The Influx of Mercenary Jihadist Fighters
British and French Special Forces have been actively training members of the FSA, from a base in Turkey. Some reports indicate that training is also taking place in locations in Libya and Northern Lebanon. British MI6 operatives and UKSF (SAS/SBS) personnel have reportedly been training the rebels in urban warfare as well as supplying them with arms and equipment. US CIA operatives and special forces are believed to be providing communications assistance to the rebels.
More than 300 rebels have passed through a base just inside the Iraq border, while a command course is run in Saudi Arabia. Groups of 50 rebels at a time are being trained by two private security firms employing former Special Forces personnel.A former SAS member said: “Our role is purely instructional teaching tactics, techniques and procedures. If we can teach them how to take cover, to shoot and avoid being spotted by snipers it will hopefully help.”
The Role of Turkey and Israel
Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria.
Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border.
Confrontation with Russia
- A naval deployment in the Eastern Mediterranean, the military objective of which has not been clearly defined by allied forces:
- A greater influx of foreign fighters and death squads into Syria and the conduct of of carefully targeted terrorist attacks in coordination with US-NATO;
- An escalation in the deployment of allied special forces, including mercenaries from private security companies on contract to Western intelligence.
We have a warning for the Russian forces: if they will send any more weapons that kill our families and the Syrian people we will hit them hard inside Syria. Informers inside the regime are telling that us that there is a big weapons shipment arriving at Tartous in the next two weeks. We don’t want to attack the port, we are not terrorists, but if they keep acting like this we will have no choice.
Many of our men used to work in the port of Tartous and they know it well. We are watching very closely the movements of the Russians. We can easily destroy the port. If we hit the weapons stores with anti-tank missiles or another weapon it would trigger a devastating explosion. Or we can attack the ships directly.
Anticipating Russian action and counter action would have to be a major factor in any Western intervention plan. The Russians are certainly capable of bold and unexpected moves.