Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 14, 2012

The Recent "Preferred Plan" And It's Weak point

The U.S. and the UK's plan for Syria has been revealed:

Part of the "preferred plan" reads: "In order to facilitate the action of liberative forces, reduce the capabilities of the Syrian regime to organise and direct its military actions, to hold losses and destruction to a minimum, and to bring about desired results in the shortest possible time, a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. Their removal should be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention and in the light of circumstances existing at the time."

Just like in that plan a deliberate killing campaign against persons of values for the Syrian state is ongoing. Besides the high profile bombing of the security center in Damascus there is a campaign to kill doctors, professors, media people and high ranking administrators. These assassinations are usually not reported in the "western" media.

The "preferred plan"adds: "Once a political decision is reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and MI6 will attempt, to mount minor sabotage and coup de main incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals.

"The two services should consult, as appropriate, to avoid any overlapping or interference with each other's activities... Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus; the operation should not be overdone; and to the extent possible care should be taken to avoid causing key leaders of the Syrian regime to take additional personal protection measures."
The plan called for funding of a "Free Syria Committee", and the arming of "political factions with paramilitary or other actionist capabilities" within Syria. The CIA and MI6 would instigate internal uprisings, for instance by the Druze in the south, help to free political prisoners held in the Mezze prison, and stir up the Muslim Brotherhood in Damascus.

That "preferred plan for Syria" was from 1957 and was not enacted at that time. But we see that the methods mentioned in it are just the same than the ones used today.

But there are two important difference from the old plan to the recent one. The first one is the extensive use of foreign mercenary fighters. Reports of their existence were downplayed by the media. At least a year after their first occurrence in Syria Reuters only now has an "exclusive" about Libyan fighters in Syria.

Those foreigner fighters are mostly responsible for those gruesome killing of "suspicious" Syrians by beheading them or throwing them off buildings.

These fighters can not win their war against the Syrian government but that is not important as it isn't their real purpose. Therein lies the second and more important difference between the plans of 1957 and the plans of today. The aim in 1957 was to replace the Syrian government with a new "friendly" one. While that would still be a convenient outcome today it is no longer a necessity.  

The US, Israel and the Gulf countries who pay, train and command the foreign fighters today have a different objective. They want the current war in Syria, which they see as just an aspect of their war on Iran, to continue as long as possible:

The much more unpleasant strategic reality is that, whether foreign forces intervene or not, the U.S. receives little reward from hastening Assad’s downfall. An embattled Assad imposes just the same limitations on Syrian and Iranian threats to U.S. interests. Resources will have to be diverted from the proxies Iran supports through Syria to Syria itself as Iran tries to maintain its host’s viability. The loss of Assad’s regime would mean a rapid retrenchment in Iranian support, for sure, but this would likely be replaced by a proxy campaign against Syria’s new government and its foreign backers, or a redeployment of IRGC/QF assets to other theaters, probably against the U.S (if not both). Given that rapidly overthrowing Assad without major overt military action from a broad coalition of forces is a pipe dream anyway, the United States should consider contingency plans in which it works through, rather than against, the specter of protracted civil war. To be able to bleed Iran in Syria would, relative to the risks involved, be a far more significant strategic opportunity against Iranian power relative to the investment and risk than would be a major overt campaign to overthrow Assad outright. The more blood and treasure Iran loses in Syria – even if Assad stays in power longer – the weaker Iran will be.

Only with that strategy in mind can one understand why the CIA is blocking weapons from reaching the insurgents:

"Not one bullet enters Syria without US approval,” one official claimed in Istanbul. “The Americans want the [rebellion] to continue, but they are not allowing enough supplies in to make the Damascus regime fall.
Over the past 10 months, a Syrian opposition official told The Sunday Times, the CIA has blocked shipments of heavy anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, which rebel units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have long described as vital to their efforts to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Even the sanctions against Syria seem designed to hinder the opposition.

While keeping Syria in chaos and thereby weaken it is the preference for the U.S. and Israel, a prolonged fight in their neighbor country is a danger for Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. It is there where the strategy of a prolonged fight in Syria might fail due to internal unrest and other spill over effects.

The Turkish government, knowing well that a prolonged conflict will bring more PKK attacks and more refugees and wounded fighters, has been urging for more outright intervention and is again holding drills next to the Syrian border.

Erdogan and his sidekick Davutoğlu need the war to end before it erodes their political positions. But when Hillery Clinton visited Turkey last week, she did not offer the backing for an intervention but only agreed to a working group for planning further action against Syria. That is code for "let's sit down and do nothing". Today Defense Secretary Panetta said that a no-fly zone is not on the front burner.

While the U.S. does not risk anything by keeping the war on Syria boiling its allies in the region do feel the heat of the cooking fire.  Their internal problems are the weak points of the current "preferred plan".  It is there where any strategy against the plan must push for effect.

Posted by b on August 14, 2012 at 18:19 UTC | Permalink


time to talk peace

Iran tensions push up oil price

Posted by: somebody | Aug 14 2012 19:28 utc | 1

Also posted in RFI

Beside all usual arguments for a need and a preferred overt military attack on Syria by US and or her Arab/ western like-minded coalition to change the regional balance of power and weaken Iran’s influence in the region, still after a year and half US and her allies have not been able to accomplish a declared overt military attack on Syrian government, obviously this is not due to lack of military capability on the side of US and her allies, but rather its now obvious this setback is due to a continued lack of political capabilities by the westerners and their political partners.

A direct illegal US military attack for a Libyan style regime change in Syria, will expedite the process of regime change and if its outcome matches the goals it will change the balance of power in eastern Mediterranean region to the betterment of US position. But that all is possible and depends on a worldly political price that US has not yet been ready to pay. As it seems due to various past mistakes, especially since the Iraq war and the case of Libya at UNSC, and a dire western economic situation which after all is reducing US’s political capital in the world arena, US’s capability to force the world to adopt her usual double standard politics is less possible and is diminishing rapidly.

So if the US and her allies are not or were not capable or willing to pay and spend their international political capital to achieve their goals in Syria, one would think if the Syrian situation was to drag out say another one or two more years like it did back in Lebanon, considering the regional developments and balance of forces on the ground three years into this Syrian situation, would there still be a strategic need to change the regional balance of power in the same way US is trying now.

I would argue time would work against US’s goals besides US no longer can afford to spend any more of her diminishing international political capital, that is what seems to be the new quagmire which US and her allies have created and are now in due to their desire to preserve if not change the balance of power in the western part of the region after the loss of Iraq.

Posted by: kooshy | Aug 14 2012 19:56 utc | 2


excellent analysis, fully agree with what your saying. This goes along with much of what you've been saying in previous posts.

Originally, the US was hoping for a quick collapse of the regime and for the Army to "step in" (they hoped for this for many years in Saddam's Iraq).

This was under the assumption, more like a long-shot, that the Syrian regime was just a brittle as Qaddafi's regime in Libya. As it turned out, the sectarian tack followed by the US proxies in the region was a major stumbling block as many Syrians balked at the possibility of an "Islamist" take-over. This is despite the fact that many would have been happy to see a transformation to a truly representative government.

I think "plan B" is as you described, but it should be clear that the US is probably working furiously on multiple scenarios, but I am sure the long game is as you describe.

It is definitely the case that taking Syria into the fold of the "moderates" is the stronger card when your always taking the view that Iran represents the source of all ills faced by the US in the region.

That said, the long game poses some risks for the US freedom of action in the Middle East, as it gives time for Iran and the resistance front to open other fronts on the US and its local satraps. Look for increasing painful exit from Afghanistan. Look for Iran to operate a soft media campaign against the "moderate" US allies with the Palestinian issue. Look for increased unrest in the Gulf/Jordan/Morocco, as Local pro-democracy/rights activists press for some US pressure on those regimes in their own countries. The double standard is glaring, and this poses a risk to US success, especially as the weaker kingdoms of Morocco and Jordan.

Posted by: Osama | Aug 14 2012 20:11 utc | 3

Somebody needs to explain to me why the US Mil should care what things cost? They'll just take what they want. Who's to stop them?

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 14 2012 20:11 utc | 4

Seems like the U.S. had a plan for Syria at least by 1949:

Recent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the first military coup in Syrian postwar history indicates that CIA agents Miles Copeland and Stephen Meade, who acted as U.S. military attache in Damascus, were directly involved in the coup in which Syrian colonel Husni Za'im seized power. According to then former CIA agent Wilbur Eveland, the coup was carried out in order to obtain Syrian ratification of TAPLINE.14 Douglas Little writes that "Meade and Zaim completed planning for the coup in early 1949. On March 14, Zaim 'requested U.S. agents [to] provoke and abet internal disturbances which [are] essential for coup d'etat' or that U.S. funds be given him [for] this purpose as soon as possible."15 Assistant Secretary of State McGhee, according to the same source, put in an appearance in Damascus at a critical moment in the course of these events, "possibly to authorize U.S. support for Zaim" in addition to discussing settlement of Palestinian refugees in Syria.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 14 2012 20:13 utc | 5

Well, there are new players today

Iran forming pro-regime militia in Syria: Panetta

Panetta's moral indignation is quite funny, actually. I am pretty sure, by the way, the militia has quite a few sunni members, Iran is not stupid.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 14 2012 20:31 utc | 6

Let's dispense with some of the disinformation/bullshit, shall we?

1. Bullshit that the CIA is blocking weapons. Thierry Meyssan and the Syrian government (I believe) reported they had anti tank weapons back during the first main battle in Homs. What was that, almost a year ago? The Syrian government showed huge caches of weapons they found containing anti tank weapons, I believe. Also, didn't some insurgents claim to have shot down a plane last week?

If the U.S. is conducting a clandestine attack they of course will lie about this stuff. You have to be a big sucker to take this information (leaked, or otherwise) at face value. They have probably been funneling the best sophisticated weapons from the very beginning with not letup.

2. The geopolitical analysis re Iran. Everyone seems to forget that Iran and Syria have a Mutual Defense Treaty. Has any "journalist" asked these two countries if they intend to treat an attack on one as an attack on the other? You know, like the U.S. would treat an attack on Turkey? Are we talking total war with Iran for attacking Syria? One would think even the lackey "journalists" like Anderson Cooper would be able to report this old-fashioned news (pretend you're reporting the beginning of WWII dipstick and learn what an alliance is).

I would also like to know why Syria hasn't declared war against these countries attacking it. Syria has a right to defend itself and I don't see why it isn't counter attacking. I would think they need to attempt something drastic if they want to save themselves. After all, a number of countries, including the U.S., are committing acts of war against it.

3. How do we know it's the "foreign fighters" who are responsible for the beheadings and gruesome behavior? Al Qaeda is a bogeyman so I'm not impressed when people blame them. Seems like a scapegoat. These actions seem to follow U.S./NATO invasions so I think it's more likely they brought this terrorism and are calling it Al Qaeda or Libyan or whatever as a cover. Wasn't that the first scapegoat? The Libyan fighters? Maybe this was based on fact, I don't know, but now I'm very skeptical of these alleged Muslim fighters. Seems like the U.S/NATO are committing terrorism in Syria.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 14 2012 20:39 utc | 7

Another interesting fact that is Obama's alleged grandparents and mother may have lived in Lebanon in the early 1950s:

There is a photographic clue that the Dunhams may have been assigned by the CIA to Beirut, Lebanon in the early 1950s. A photograph of Obama’s mother and grandparents has emerged that shows Stanley Ann Dunham wearing what may be a school uniform with the insignia of “NdJ,” which stands for the College Notre-Dame de Jamhour, a private Jesuit Catholic French language school in Beirut, Lebanon. Graduates of the school include three former presidents of Lebanon, Amine Gemayel, Bashir Gemayel, and Charles Helou, all of whom maintained close relations with Washington.

Of course Obama's grandpa was a furniture salesman or something who met African students sponsored by the CIA at the airport as they were arriving in country. To sell them furniture, I'm sure.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 14 2012 20:52 utc | 8


Would it be possible to get your perspective on why the urban fighting in Damascus and Aleppo and Hama, never lasted the expected "months" urban campaigns are historically known for?

I am thinking along the lines of the likes of Grozny/Fallujah.... where a patently superior force spent months clearing the cities.

Posted by: Osama | Aug 14 2012 21:18 utc | 9

stupid arab jihadis working for great satan and little satan to cause chaos in the arab world...

Posted by: brian | Aug 14 2012 21:44 utc | 10

WWM @ 8: Thanks for the link, quite a read. All in the family indeed!

Posted by: ben | Aug 14 2012 22:01 utc | 11


A new hezbollah will be created in SYria?

Posted by: Nikon | Aug 14 2012 22:30 utc | 12

@brian - stupid MoA commenters who think everyone should share their worldview, values and priorities

Posted by: claudio | Aug 14 2012 22:45 utc | 13

@Osama #9 - Grozny and Fallujah were "enemy cities", the whole population hated the "invaders"; Syrian rebels found themselves unwelcome in large parts of Aleppo

Posted by: claudio | Aug 14 2012 22:53 utc | 14

@b - the cost for supporting a fundamentally stable regime against foreign destabilizing strategies is quite different than the cost of invading and occupying a foreign country; no way that the costs on Iran for supporting Syria will be comparable to the costs on the Us for occupying Afghanistan, for example;

the thesis of the author you link to is a case of making virtue of necessity; there isn't, presently, a strategy for ousting Assad, backing down isn't in the vocabulary of the Us uebermensch, so the too-smart strategy of Daniel Trombly (destabilize through terrorism) is simply the only possibility until a better idea comes along;

as far as sanction are concerned: who should the sophisticated weapons have been given to? radical islamists, ready to use them against the "regime-without-Assad" the Us and Turkey were hoping for?

I think after Aleppo the Us has stopped pushing Turkey for military intervention, but I agree that now it's Turkey that's beginning to feel it's running out of time; it might even try to stage some provocation against Syria that will force NATO to intervene in its "defense"

Posted by: claudio | Aug 14 2012 23:12 utc | 15

@all - strike "MoA" from my answer to brian (post #13); it makes it sound like the bad habit of a single poster is shared by many here, which fortunately is not the case; sorry, b;

Posted by: claudio | Aug 14 2012 23:51 utc | 16

Reading b's post made me feel sick to my stomach for being part of the support of my own government (I have to pay taxes or face unpleasant circumstances, for one thing).

Caused that insula reaction mentioned in this NYTimes op-ed, This Is Your Brain on Metaphors.

... So where did this facility with symbolism come from? It strikes me that the human brain has evolved a necessary shortcut for doing so, and with some major implications.

Consider an animal (including a human) that has started eating some rotten, fetid, disgusting food. As a result, neurons in an area of the brain called the insula will activate. Gustatory disgust. Smell the same awful food, and the insula activates as well. Think about what might count as a disgusting food (say, taking a bite out of a struggling cockroach). Same thing.

Now read in the newspaper about a saintly old widow who had her home foreclosed by a sleazy mortgage company, her medical insurance canceled on flimsy grounds, and got a lousy, exploitative offer at the pawn shop where she tried to hock her kidney dialysis machine. You sit there thinking, those bastards, those people are scum, they’re worse than maggots, they make me want to puke … and your insula activates. Think about something shameful and rotten that you once did … same thing. Not only does the insula “do” sensory disgust; it does moral disgust as well. Because the two are so viscerally similar. When we evolved the capacity to be disgusted by moral failures, we didn’t evolve a new brain region to handle it. Instead, the insula expanded its portfolio.

(Yes, an oldie, but so intersting.)

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 15 2012 2:58 utc | 17


Posted by: rcky | Aug 15 2012 6:03 utc | 18

sORRY READ DeBK *vrycrflly, tks agn

Posted by: rcky | Aug 15 2012 6:08 utc | 19

Syrian counter-insurgency forces found a cache of
sophisticated weapons in a tunnel in Old Damascus.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Aug 15 2012 6:13 utc | 20

German InfoRadion just told its audience that the U.S. and Jordan are considering the establishment of humanitarian zones, the protection of which might need no-fly zones automatically.

@Osama: My take on it: Falluja was one big town to be flattened and cleansed. The Syrian and international "rebels" seized only small parts of some suburbs of Aleppo. While the Americans prevented the male population between 15 and 65 from leaving Falluja, the bulk of the Syrian population of the above-mentioned areas escaped successfully.

Posted by: m_s | Aug 15 2012 6:20 utc | 21

kooshy, that actually is an interesting point, to be an empire you need cultural attractiveness, so that people in the empire actually prefer dealing with you, it comes cheap and you would not be able to enforce an empire on a completely hostile country most of the time. The US / Muslim Brotherhood, Iranian/US love hate relationship is quite interesting in that respect, same as the attempt made by Obama's Cairo speech to bring liberal values to the Muslim Brotherhood. Same as Hillary's quite hilarious insistence in Africa that they are the good guys compared to China.
However, China does not do regime change.
Any elite, given a chance will prefer a patron that does not do regime change and keeps out of internal affairs.
I think the US lost most of Latin America for good because of their techniques, they lost Africa (I do not believe the Gallup poll on Libya, presumably they asked the presently ruling group), they will lose the Middle East.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 6:48 utc | 22

Some debate going on in Congress

Interesting links posted too including this shocking video alleging use of chemical weapons by terrorists against
Syrian army. What do you make of this?

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 7:08 utc | 23

Hague should face jail for terrorist support
'The UN security council is clear that member states must "refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or person involved in or associated with terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups."

Hague argued though that "it is the right thing to do." Supposing another country decided it was the "right thing to do" to finance and support a foreign terrorist organisation in Britain, which drove people from their communities, killed opponents and desecrated churches? What outrage there would be!'

Posted by: brian | Aug 15 2012 8:17 utc | 24

somebody are two people now :-))

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 8:52 utc | 25

one somebody thinks youtube videos only of propagandistic value ...

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 8:52 utc | 26

Syria is Only a Pretext

Re-engineering of the global balance of power.

By Thierry Meyssan

August 14, 2012 "Information Clearing House" -- Over the past few weeks, the international diplomatic scene has been again taken over by the Syrian crisis. A double veto occurred in the U.N. Security Council, the General Assembly voted on a resolution and the special envoy of the Secretary General resigned. All this activity, counterproductive in diplomatic terms, harmonizes with other objectives than those of the pursuit of peace.

The Western powers had no diplomatic reason to have their resolution carried to a vote since the Russians had made clear that again they would not allow it to pass. They also had no reason to push through another resolution in the General Assembly given that it had previously adopted a nearly identical one. Finally, Kofi Annan had no objective reason to resign

Posted by: brian | Aug 15 2012 12:25 utc | 27

#Russia - Bogdanov: The Audio Recording Aired by the Saudi al-Watan Website Is Fake

#Russia - Bogdanov: The Audio Recording Aired by the Saudi al-Watan Website Is Fake

and so it goes...lies fraud deceit deception propaganda...the FSA and their supporters seem to need use every dishonest method to buttress their cause

Posted by: brian | Aug 15 2012 12:35 utc | 28

A Week or two ago there was alot of talk about Saudi King Abdullah inviting President Ahmadinejad to an emergency meeting in Riyadh as part of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Alot thought this was a sign that the Saudis were willing to do a deal or at least feeling some pressure. Well the news is in:

Foreign ministers at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) agreed on Monday to suspend Syria from the international body, an OIC source said, further isolating President Bashar al-Assad.

Source: Al Akhbar

Asia Times Kaveh Afrasiabi spoke to some Iranian sources on the reaction:

According to a Tehran University political science professor who spoke to the author on the condition of anonymity, the Iranian delegation to the OIC meeting "may feel cheated a little bit because [Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz] personally invited Ahmadinejad and assured Iran the goal was to promote Ummah (Islamic) unity, not to score foreign policy success against Iran and Syria."

Source: Asia Times Online

At the time I wrote "never expect anything for the Saudi monarchy and you will never be disappointed". But even for their low standards this is a new depth. Here they invite Iran's President to Saudi Arabia under a pretext of unity and dialogue only to have him present at the conferance when they put forward a proposal to expel Syria for the Islamic organisation. Ahmadinejad should have not even bothered meeting this trash and should have stayed home to visit the Earthquake survivors.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 15 2012 12:37 utc | 29

congratutlations b. confirmation on US strategy

blowback for Saudi Arabia - somehow this tweet of a publisher close to the Russian government tells me they have decided to confront Saudi Arabia head on

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP

Tackling terrorism requires getting to the roots of it. And those lie in Saudi Arabia, the leading exporter of religious extremism.

Colm O' Toole, I have been wondering how many abstentions and no votes there will be, for some reason the Arab League meeting got cancelled ...

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 13:13 utc | 30

somebody, that's not a confirmation, it's just another blogger that agrees with the first blogger; and it's just a rationalization of the failure to obtain regime change in Syria

Posted by: claudio | Aug 15 2012 13:50 utc | 31

ok, you are right, claudio, though I take it as confirmation if I am not the only one saying something ... :-))

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 13:57 utc | 32

there is a BBC audio on the situation in Aleppo city plus province"

I assume they are sure now that there will be no no-fly zone

Syrian regime seems not only in control of the battle but also in control of communications - hardly anything gets out

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 14:46 utc | 33

Off topic (sort of) but Richard Silverstein has published a scoop on Israel's plan for attacking Iran. If genuine and not psy-ops it would be big.

Note: Its notable since Richard Silverstein's "Repairing the World" blog has had a large number of accurate scoops before on Israeli national security. It was the first to break the Shin Bet/Mossad gag order that a Palestinian activist was spying on Hezbollah. It also broke the news that Tamir Pardo would replace Meir Dagan as Mossad head.

In the past few days, I received an Israeli briefing document outlining Israel’s war plans against Iran. The document was passed to me by a high-level Israeli source who received it from an IDF officer. My source, in fact, wrote to me that normally he would not leak this sort of document, but "These are not normal times. I’m afraid Bibi and Barak are dead serious."

The Briefing Document:

The Israeli attack will open with a coordinated strike, including an unprecedented cyber-attack which will totally paralyze the Iranian regime and its ability to know what is happening within its borders. The internet, telephones, radio and television, communications satellites, and fiber optic cables leading to and from critical installations—including underground missile bases at Khorramabad and Isfahan—will be taken out of action. The electrical grid throughout Iran will be paralyzed and transformer stations will absorb severe damage from carbon fiber munitions which are finer than a human hair, causing electrical short circuits whose repair requires their complete removal. This would be a Sisyphean task in light of cluster munitions which would be dropped, some time-delayed and some remote-activated through the use of a satellite signal.

A barrage of tens of ballistic missiles would be launched from Israel toward Iran. 300km ballistic missiles [R.S.-this might be a reference to the Popeye Turbo] would be launched from Israeli submarines in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf. The missiles would not be armed with unconventional warheads [WMD], but rather with high-explosive ordnance equipped with reinforced tips designed specially to penetrate hardened targets.

The missiles will strike their targets—some exploding above ground like those striking the nuclear reactor at Arak–which is intended to produce plutonium and tritium—and the nearby heavy water production facility; the nuclear fuel production facilities at Isfahan and facilities for enriching uranium-hexaflouride. Others would explode under-ground, as at the Fordo facility.

A barrage of hundreds of cruise missiles will pound command and control systems, research and development facilities, and the residences of senior personnel in the nuclear and missile development apparatus. Intelligence gathered over years will be utilized to completely decapitate Iran’s professional and command ranks in these fields.

After the first wave of attacks, which will be timed to the second, the “Blue and White” radar satellite, whose systems enable us to perform an evaluation of the level of damage done to the various targets, will pass over Iran. Only after rapidly decrypting the satellite’s data, will the information be transferred directly to war planes making their way covertly toward Iran. These IAF planes will be armed with electronic warfare gear previously unknown to the wider public, not even revealed to our U.S. ally. This equipment will render Israeli aircraft invisible. Those Israeli war planes which participate in the attack will damage a short-list of targets which require further assault.

Among the targets approved for attack—Shihab 3 and Sejil ballistic missile silos, storage tanks for chemical components of rocket fuel, industrial facilities for producing missile control systems, centrifuge production plants and more.

Source: Richard Silverstein Tikun Olam Blog

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 15 2012 15:09 utc | 34

@Colm O' Toole - I'm no expert, but it's obvious that if they could have done it, they would have done it already

they couldn't even take out Hezbollah's rockets, or intercept their communications ...

Posted by: claudio | Aug 15 2012 15:17 utc | 35

Dozens of ballistics missiles are pointless and just give early warning for the attack. Israel doesn't have the capability to launch 'hundreds' of cruise missiles. They just have half a dozen subs. Even the US would have to devote a lot of resources to launch a hundreds of cruise missiles in a single attack. And there it goes the 'surprise'. Invisible war planes? I guess they also have some magical technology from Solomon Kingdom that will bring all air defenses powerless just in time.

Is that the script for a new science fiction movie or game?

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 15 2012 15:32 utc | 36

somebody @ 30 --This essay on US proxy war in Syria fits nicely with the Drezner piece you linked to first. In brief, since the US can't afford to go whole hog with military invasion of Syria, it should just bleed it dry by supporting irregular forces, giving them experience to take on Iran.

Riiiight. Sounds like replays of replays.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 15 2012 15:47 utc | 37

@ Claudio @ ThePaper

I agree. Think this is up there with the neo-con fantasies that the war in iraq would be over in weeks and that Iraq's oil would pay for the war. Posted it because I think it is an interesting scoop not because I think it will succeed. Maybe this is the reason so much Israeli military officials think NetanYahoo is crazy. If this is a part of Israeli military briefing, it shows just how much they have gone into fantasy territory.

But if they were to attack it would probably be the best timing available. Syria is in chaos. Hezbollah are more concerned about Syria spilling into Lebanon than about Israel. Iran is feeling a bite of the sanctions and a US election is coming up. They probably won't get another optimum mix of events like that again. Even if the plan is crazy and won't work. After all fantasy didn't stop the neo-cons attacking Iraq.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Aug 15 2012 16:01 utc | 38

Well, Lebanon is gone now. Shiite family kidnaps Syrian FSA members, Syrian opposition financer and Turkish nationals. Threatens Lebanese politicians supporting FSA. Saudi Arabia calls for its nationals to leave Lebanon ...

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 16:12 utc | 39

Who ever advised the FSA to start messing and kidnapping Lebanese (to play the Hizbullah bogey man) had no clue. After decades of civil war they know how to react to such actions. And there are plenty of FSA and pro-FSA sitting in Lebanon thinking they are 'safe'.

Starting a civil war in Lebanon won't precisely help the anti-Syrian side whatever their fantasies are.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 15 2012 16:55 utc | 40

@Colm O' Toole - Richard Silverstein has this "secret source" which is just spreading Netanyahoo propaganda to him even as he believes he is not.

I have discussed that here before. Look into the archives for some background.

Posted by: b | Aug 15 2012 17:19 utc | 41

While the Turks want to finish off Syria the U.S. is saying no: U.S. envoy says obstacles to Syria buffer zone: papers

There are serious legal and practical obstacles to setting up a buffer zone or a no-fly zone in Syria, Turkish newspapers on Wednesday quoted the U.S. ambassador to Ankara as saying, after the two countries discussed the issue at the weekend.
U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone said in a briefing with local newspapers that issues such as setting up a no-fly zone or a buffer zone in Syria were easy to discuss but hard to realize.

"Of course we should evaluate these issues. However, our discussions of these issues with Turkey should not suggest we are making commitments to set up these zones," Ricciardone was reported as saying by the daily Taraf.

"There are serious legal and practical obstacles on this issue," he was quoted as saying. An official transcript of his comments, which were published by several papers in Turkish, was not immediately available.

"We will work on the subjects of a transition phase and buffer zone within the U.N. Security Council in line with international law," he was reported as saying.

Ricciardone had a serious spat with Erdogan who bashed him after Ricciardone said something about the freedom of the press. This after Erdogan put some leftist journalists into jail claiming they were planning a rightwing coup.

Syria would be well advised to put more pressure on Erdogan. He is the one who can shut down the main logistics for the FSA.

Posted by: b | Aug 15 2012 17:33 utc | 42

they do not need to, b, they are shutting them down themselves

somewhere I found the reference to William Tecumseh Sherman, well that is what they are doing now - scorched earth, they are absolutely sure now there will be no no-fly zone.

the UN human rights report came out with recommendations - they blame Houla on the Syrian regime, but blame the opposition for war crimes, too (smaller scale, recommendations are reconciliation and restructure of government institutions dealing with demonstrations, political dissent etc.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 17:47 utc | 43

There have been rumors for a while that the Syrian army will mobilize its reserves tomorrow.

That is possible and it should allow the army to double strength. It would likely take two or three weeks or so for the reserves to become effective in the fight.

Interesting how that somehow coincidents with the action in Lebanon.

Some weeks ago the FSA kidnapped some 20 Lebanese who were coming back from pilgrimage in Iran. On eof the kidnapped was from an important Shia family tribe in Lebanon. That family has now started revenge kidnappings of FSA fighters in Lebanon. They have some 30 or so so far. These include some Turks and Saudis.

The Saudis and the UAE have given alarm and asked all of their people to leave Lebanon immediately. There goes the Lebanese tourism industry ...

The kidnapping of FSA fighters in Lebanon will make it nearly impossible to continue to use it as a base. As Jordan seems to keep some taps on fighter infiltration it will soon be only Turkey that allows for free movement. This lets me expect some more trouble there.

This thing is far from over and I now expect further escalation in the immediate area but without any major U.S. involvement.

Posted by: b | Aug 15 2012 18:59 utc | 44

reserves would mean they are in real trouble, these people are usually needed to run the country, would increase the defections too, bad move.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 19:16 utc | 45

Calling the reserves and mobilizing their supporters is what they should have done as soon as the US-Turkey-Qatar-Saudi sponsored 'rebels' started to 'surge'. You can't win this kind of civil war while your supposed bases, if they even exist, are just standing on the side. That was also one of the main reasons Gaddafi's regime fell. It takes more than 'a few' air raids and a few thousand mercenaries to bring down a nation than is committed to resist. Of course Sirte was different, and there NATO had to use all their firepower, but when Tripoli, where most of remaining Libyan population lived, didn't even attempted a token resistance it signified that the regime was done.

This is a war. Not a security problem. The sooner they stop that no-sense of pretending 'normalcy' the better for the chances of the anti-islamist forces to regroup and counter-attack.

The US government will be risk averse up to November. Remember that even 'Junior' delayed the attack on Fallujah until after the November elections. All the politicians in the US remember the 'Carter' effect and don't want to fall for it. So the US will try to play along and not commit to anything risky until at least November 4th.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 15 2012 20:00 utc | 46

This thing is far from over and I now expect further escalation in the immediate area but without any major U.S. involvement.

Ramadan ends this Friday or Saturday and then it is 3 days of Eid ul-Fitr festivities. Expect things to escalate by Thursday.

Posted by: hans | Aug 15 2012 20:03 utc | 47

well it could be the "rebels" self destruct

I do wonder who came up with this sexy strategy

to cover up for this ridiculous sex video

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2012 20:20 utc | 48

Doubting FSA combat videos authencity

Both through Youtube directly or via this site
I have been watching FSA "success videos" almost on a daily basis.

Assuming that the day of the videos upload is (more or less) the day of its occurence some points make me suspicious of the authencity and credibility of the displayed content:

1. If true, Assad is losing an average of 2-3 tanks every day, not to mention APCs or other troop carriers. This would mean almost 100 tanks. It is not to imagine how an army leadership could afford such losses, especially given that the opponent is a Guerilla force and not a regular army that could deploy aircraft.

2. In many videos it appears the rebel "camera man" and those around him exactly know what is going to happen, as if there is a script or "choreography" of events. They do not seem to fear getting killed as though they had some assurance to not be detected and not be fired on.

3. In some videos it seems that the firing is only one-directional: from a group of rebels shooting and launching RPGs. There seems to be no firing back by their object of attack. Then the dust fades and those rebels approach a burnt out or damaged tank. In few occasions the crew is shown from a distance surrendering or burnt corpses are shown close to the tank.

4. Other videos don´t make sense at all: Rebels seize totally intact tanks without showing a defecting or surrendering crew (which could explain the undamaged status of the tank): So what happened?

5. Often, especially in the country side the "movie" starts showing a tank (or two) entering the scene at slow pace over an uphill road going between a kind of village residential are. You hear the rebels expressing religious remarks, but no hectic or tension which could be exceptable in such a situation. Then either an RPG is fired, or the tank goes over a mine or a remote-controlled bomb is activated. Again nothing "logical" happens on the side of the attacked party: No firing back of the second tank (or of the first one which still looks intact and moves forward), not to mention that - apparently - no airforce or other support is called in.
If the syrian army is really sending their aged tanks into such blatant traps without infantry support or a helicopter gunship in the vicinity then it is really like bringing sheep to the slaughterhouse.

For all these inconsistencies I think at least a third of these videos are either staged or repetitions from one and the same successfull attack from different angles and with different "actors", one day calling it Aleppo countryside and the other day Homs area.

What do you think?

Posted by: KerKaraje | Aug 15 2012 21:59 utc | 49

Whoever thought it was good idea to make the fsa go into the kidnapping business will regret it..The fsa have proven how stupid they are by adding more enemies to their already long list. They(fsa) can't play the fool in Lebanon as the odds are highly stacked against them. The Christians, Armenian, Alawite, Shiites etc.. are all aligned against them. And they're in the majority with with heavy backing from the Syrian government and other regional powers.

Rumours going around is that two Turkish citizens were also abducted along with the 20 fsa members..They've threatened to kidnap more if the fsa doesn't release their hostages.

Turkey is also playing a very weak hand.Arabs and Turks are not natural allies..the marriage of convenience between Erdogan's Turkey with Salafi Jihadis in the Arab world will end up destroying Turkey itself..Look at Pakistan - almost a failed state now.

When the fsa kidnapped the Iranian/Lebanese pilgrims a couple of weeks ago, the Iranian foreign minister went to Turkey and ask him to tell his fsa buddies to release them..Seems the mad Turks preferred the forceful approach..This conflict is already expanding and Lebanon has now become another front. My hunch is that this Syria conflict will end up in Saudi Arabia itself.

Posted by: Zico | Aug 15 2012 22:26 utc | 50

Where is the wreckage of the Mig-23 the FSA (claimed to have) downed?
Why don´t they (FSA) upload an "Allahu Akbar" Video proving their point?

Posted by: KerKaraje | Aug 15 2012 22:43 utc | 51

KerKaraje @ 51

The fsa are proven liars..But this has been encouraged by their western sponsors, who also use blatant lies to manipulate their own people..

Frankly speaking, I just don't see how they're going to win this war..The enemies stacked up against them are huge and they stupidly keep making more enemies by kidnapping civilians..This to me shows they're reached a dead end and have nothing more to offer other than killing and destructions.

But who knows? This could be the plan for all we know..

Posted by: Zico | Aug 15 2012 22:55 utc | 52

b @ 41, But, b, using the knowledge that Richard's source is a Nutty Yahoo tool, doesn't that infer that the Plan is the real deal, and, Bibi wants to describe the lethality...? Jez asking...! As I'm situated way out here in the middle of the Pacific...! ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Aug 16 2012 1:25 utc | 53

KerKaraje, I think too many video cameras have been distributed and too many "rebels" told to film everything without warning them what turns liberal western audiences off
1) there are quite a few professionals in the fight we never see, Hezbollah could destroy Israeli tanks without owning planes, so everybody with the know how can do it
2) Syrian army is fighting with planes now and they are losing a lot of soldiers every day this is acknowledged by official sources. If you assume the numbers of approx 200.000 fighting soldiers (uncounted potential armed citizen groups, police and security personnel not counted) and 20.000 fighting rebels given by German secret service correct, attrition will get them nowhere
3. Syrian secret service is filming too
4. Part of the videos probably are promotion videos asking for support and money
5. My indicator of the success of the "rebels" is where Western reporters embedded with them film from. Last video with Ben Wedeman was pitiful.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 16 2012 5:45 utc | 54

I wondered how long Ahmadinejad would make it to keep up proposing peaceful initiatives at the Conference of Islamic countries - you do not send a natural provocateur for that ...

turns out he did not make it for very long

Referring to the recent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Ahmadinejad said “I was surprised in this summit [to see] that the kings of some countries were speaking against Syria while the majority of their own people do not want them [to rule].”

The Iranian president made the comment in a Wednesday meeting with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the OIC emergency meeting in Saudi Arabia.

During their meeting, Ahmadinejad underlined the inevitability of reforms but added, “I am of course waiting to see when these reforms will reach the other countries in the region.”

Killings and war cannot be employed to acheive reforms, the Iranian president pointed out.

Noting that all nations desire justice, freedom and respect, he emphasized that “no one can win by force,” and a government that comes to power by force cannot remain independent.

Russia seems to be ganging up on Saudi Arabia as well

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP

Israel, for example, has long warned of the malignant influence of Saudi Arabia, which goes back to the Soviet-Afghan conflict.

Yep, peaceful times for Saudi Arabia are over.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 16 2012 9:01 utc | 55

here it is : the video too risque for Youtube!

Posted by: brian | Aug 16 2012 10:36 utc | 56

@CTuttle @53 -b @ 41, But, b, using the knowledge that Richard's source is a Nutty Yahoo tool, doesn't that infer that the Plan is the real deal, and, Bibi wants to describe the lethality...? Jez asking...! As I'm situated way out here in the middle of the Pacific...! ;-)

That is not a real plan. It is propaganda bullshit. Richard is used to propagate it.

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2012 11:10 utc | 57

syrian journalists freed by syrian army
has english CC button on youtube video

Posted by: brian | Aug 16 2012 12:10 utc | 58

RIYADH | Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:06pm EDT

"Aug 16 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) said its computer systems had been shut down by a virus late on Wednesday, but it added that production had not been affected."

I am now waiting for the outrage.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 16 2012 12:21 utc | 59

I totally agree with this from ThePaper #46 about Syria:

Calling the reserves and mobilizing their supporters is what they should have done as soon as the US-Turkey-Qatar-Saudi sponsored 'rebels' started to 'surge'. You can't win this kind of civil war while your supposed bases, if they even exist, are just standing on the side.... This is a war. Not a security problem. The sooner they stop that no-sense of pretending 'normalcy' the better.

@ KerKaraje #49: More than half of those videos you've seen -- where the rebels have disabled tanks or captured fully functioning tanks -- more than half are for real. That's the main point to take. What percentage of the remainder are staged or repetitions? That's beside the main point and what the percentage is, is relatively inconsequential I think.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 16 2012 16:14 utc | 60

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an international body composed of 57 sovereign nations. It is the world's second-largest organization of sovereign nations (the United Nations being largest). Today 16 Aug 2012 OIC officially approved the suspension of Syria's membership in OIC. An Algerian foreign ministry spokesman said: "Only one country expressed formally reservations on this decision [that was Iran] and a second one renewed the position of principle it is demonstrating since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, which is that it is not concerned by the decisions taken in relation with the Syrian question [that was Lebanon]." The foreign ministry of Algeria denied that Algeria was opposed to this OIC resolution. ,

The following is an item about Syria and the OIC dated 11 months ago. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC Member States issued the following communique about Syria after their regular annual meeting held on 23 Sep 2011:

"The Meeting condemned the decisions of the United States Administration to impose unilateral economic sanctions against Syria; it expressed its rejection of the so-called “Syria Accountability Act” and considered it null and void, and constituting a flagrant violation of the principles of international law, the resolutions of the United Nations and its Charter, as well as the resolutions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and blatantly taking the side of Israel. The Meeting expressed its solidarity with the Syrian Arab Republic and appreciated the Syrian position that calls to favor dialogue and diplomacy in the international relations in order to solve all disputes; it requested the United States of America to revisit its position with regards to this Act as soon as possible and to abolish all decisions related to this matter."

On 24 Sep 2011, the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Yerzhan Kazykhanov, who was the chairman of the OIC Foreign Ministers Meeting on 23 Sep 2011, stressed that Kazakhstan and the OIC are against any foreign political or economic interference in the Syrian internal affairs.

What has caused such a flip-flop by the OIC member countries? I'm mystified. Why have the OIC member countries decided to suspend Syria's membership? I'm mystified. The suspension didn't come with a statement explaining the reasons for the suspension. I can find nothing at the OIC website at the moment. In any case, one has to take the OIC's decision as a significant development.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Aug 16 2012 16:37 utc | 61

Parviziyi, I guess it is because the OIC is "clear and transparent" :-))

Posted by: somebody | Aug 16 2012 18:08 utc | 62

@61 - maybe because its not Islamic enough by been run by the fsa?!!!

Its an irrelevant organisation anywat.

Posted by: Irshad | Aug 16 2012 18:26 utc | 63

Authors and Producers Behind the Blueprint for the Syrian Drama

Posted by: brian | Aug 18 2012 4:10 utc | 64

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