In two previous articles at Allvoices; “The Arab Spring: Gloom and Doom and lots of it” on Mar 18, 2012 and “Ding Dong the Big Bad !@#$%^&* is Dead!” on May 03, 2011; I presented two rather pessimistic and bleak views of the Arab Spring and its likely future.
I must however admit that events are now occurring at such a rapid pace, that the doom and gloom of which I had so consistently forecast and prognosticated, appear to becoming closer to actuality than I originally thought. Surely the pace of these events has escalated and ratcheted dangerously upward.
Moreover, to be totally honest, I must also confess that I gave much too little credence, importance and significance to the Arab/Israeli role in these matters. Which is truly significant, and which has now changed my outlook dramatically.
i. The Big Squeeze
As I see it there are are two nascent, simultaneous issues on the Arab/Israeli front. The first, of course, deals with Iran’s efforts to secure nuclear weaponry and Israel‘ attempts to thwart those efforts, namely, through a massive pre-emptive strike. This is the first front and it appears to be dire, and to be quickly and dangerously closing in upon all concerned.
The second front consists of an Iranian “squeeze play” on Israel, which is slowly taking place under the radar screen, so-to-speak. In fact this process has been quite gradual and extremely furtive and clandestine. But something of this nature and growing magnitude is just too damn big and obvious to go without detection.
Furthermore, in order for Iran to counter the threat of a pre-emptive strike by Israel on its nuclear sites; Iran has been gradually and quietly aiding its many allies and proxies in the region. There are essentially three:in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and Syria.
Not only has Iran been supplying its proxies (Hezbollah and Hamas) with upgraded rockets and recently, with increasingly more sophisticated anti-aircraft rockets; but it has also sent both trainers and advisers there too. With special operatives, with boots on the ground so too speak.
This also appears to be the case in Syria, but only on a higher and much more massive scale where they together with the Russians have been supplying the Syrians with munitions, sophisticated equipment, especially anti-aircraft batteries of guns, rockets and missiles, and advanced radar and communications systems.
The implications of this are twofold; first and foremost, is to bolster and support the Syrian regime and keep it from collapsing. In this regard there is growing evidence that Iranian operatives are not only acting as advisers and trainers, but that many of their commandos of their Revolutionary Guard are also actively participating in putting down the rebel revolt with its literal massacre of Syrian civilians. And the second implication is a clear and unmistakable warning to Israel.
ii. A Spanish Civil War Redux
This turn of events has all the earmarks and is quite reminiscent of the Spanish Civil War (of 1936-1939). You may recall that the Spanish Ciivl War preceded World War II by only a few months and up until that point in time was the bloodiest conflict of its sort in the region (Europe), in which perhaps as many as a million people perished.
It was indeed, a deadly precursor and an incipient skirmish for World War II, in fact a deadly trial run so to speak; in which tens of thousands of foreign troops and volunteers fought and died on both sides.
On the Republican side were mostly socialists and communists, and foreign volunteers also mostly of a far-leftist tinge. In fact the Soviets, of whom the troop count was quite low (3,500), were the largest provider of aid to the Republicans, in equipment, aircraft, tanks and artillery which was truly massive - by far, greater than any other foreign interloper.
On the Nationalist (or Loyalist) side were mostly fascists who were supported by mostly Germany and Italy, as well as a small contingency of foreign volunteers from other nations. Herein, the Nazi numbers were small while the Italian numbers were quite substantial. However both supplied an inordinate amount of arms, of aircraft, tanks and artillery pieces to the Spanish Nationalists.
Indeed, the Germans used this as a training ground and trial run for the development of both their military equipment and their formidable warfare tactics - especially of their air power and their highly mechanized and mobile Blitzkrieg tactics.
Ironically, of the tens of thousands of foreign volunteers who fought on the Republican side, there were 2, 800 Americans of whom 900 were killed.
iii The Likely Possible, Geopolitical Fallout
As I currently view it, most of the geopolitical considerations are many and dire, and are truly dangerous and parlous - this place truly has very little room for either error or optimism.
The first earthshaking tremor will come between Israel and Iran. It won’t be a question of “if” - but of “when.” And when it occurs, after Israel will have launched its pre-emptive strike against Iran; Iran will retaliate but not in kind, rather the Iranians will retaliate asymmetrically.
Again, Iran will not retaliate directly and in kind, but instead will initiate a reign of terror of rockets upon Israel from both its Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon and its Hamas proxies in Gaza. Israeli retaliation will be swift, certain and massive. And it will very quickly draw in a Muslim Brotherhood led Egypt into this maelstrom.
Incredibly so too will Syria as unlikely as that may appear, since Syria is already seemingly bogged down in a rather vicious, combined rebellion and ciil war. But that’s where both Iran and Russia play a crucial role. Israel should be able to crush Hamas and the Egyptian military fairly easily, or at the very least effectively neutralize them.
On the other hand, while Syria, Iran and the Russians seem to be themselves bogged down in Syria; that combination of troops, special operatives, trainers and advisors, and probable foreign volunteers in the thousands; will either crush the Syrian uprising altogether, or at the very least, degrade it to a nonlethal threat, albeit, it still might remain at a bothersome nuisance level. Nevertheless, that will allow the former to concentrate in defending Hezbollah from extinction, and also will then allow them to confront Israel directly.
It all depends upon the Russians. Backing Syria diplomatically and aiding them through massive arms shipments is one thing; but by sending actual ground troops to Syria is another matter entirely different.
The Russians are clearly sending a message and it reads “we will not allow Syria to fall, so watch out, and if you still persist in making the attempt, we will make you pay dearly for it.”
I tend to believe this presidential administration will simply back down rather pusillanimously, as in roll over and play dead, and allow Iran and Russia to walk all over it. And that Israel will be literally thrown under the bus and sold down the river. But so too, the Arab Spring will likewise be crushed.
And the result of this will be the PanIslamic War which I have so consistently predicted. It will then begin to explode in earnest; with one Moslem, one sect, one faction, one nation all slaughtering one another in unprecedented “killing fields” - all sad monuments to death and genocide.
Copyrighgt © 2012 by Irvin F. Cohen