Israel preparing to attack Syria after Assad falls: Israeli analyst

May 10, 2015

10-05-2015: In preparation for the post-Assad scenario in Syria, Israeli sources have confirmed that the Israeli military is set to launch attacks on “jihadist organisations” operating in Syria after the fall of the Assad regime.

Military affairs commentator Alon Ben-David confirmed that the Israeli army and air force are currently working on preparations for a strategy to defeat a range of jihadist organisations on the assumption that these organisations will turn their weapons on Israel after the fall of the Assad regime.

In an article published by Israel’s ‘Maariv’ newspaper today (Sunday May 10th 2015), Ben-David said that the Israeli Air Force is gathering intelligence information to build a comprehensive data bank of information on prospective targets in Syria on the basis of the belief that Israel will be forced to deal with these jihadist organisations sooner or later.

In this context, Ben-David noted that all the evidence confirms that plans for attack devised by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards which were supposedly to be carried out by Hezbollah and regime forces in southern Syria, particularly in the occupied Golan region and Daraa, had failed.

Ben-David said that Hezbollah and regime forces had turned themselves into easy targets for Syrian opposition forces, driving them to switch from attack mode to defensive mode.

He also wrote that based on estimates in Israeli intelligence reports, Hezbollah has suffered heavy losses in Syria, with Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s enthusiasm for public appearances largely an attempt to bolster flagging domestic confidence in Hezbollah’s and the Assad regime army’s capabilities in the current fighting against Syrian opposition forces in Qalamoun.

Ben-David said that the fact that the Damascus neighbourhoods where the political and military elite of Assad’s regime live have turned into targets for bombing has clearly dented the morale of the regime elite.

He added that there is increasing evidence of continuing large-scale migration of Alawites from Damascus towards the Syrian coast, pointing out that the fact that the powerful Makhlouf family of Assad’s mother has already left Syria is another sign of the lack of confidence in the future of the upper echelons of the regime.

Ben-David further noted that the general opinion prevailing in Israeli political and military circles is that Hezbollah’s and Iran’s ability to maintain the Assad regime in power has shrunk to near zero.

In the same context Professor Eyal Zisser, a leading Israeli expert on Syrian affairs, wrote that only a “miracle” can prevent the fall of the Assad regime in light of the precipitous decline in the performance of the regime forces and those of Assad’s allies in Hezbollah.

In an article also published today in ‘Israel Hayoum’, Zisser, a confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote that the increasing probability of the fall of the Assad regime is a result of the opposition’s depletion of regime forces, draining the regime’s energy and severely reducing its ability to successfully endure.
Zisser stressed that the steady erosion of morale among the Assads’ Alawite sect means that there is little motivation for young Alawites to volunteer to fight for the regime, with this problem adding to the already significant lack of manpower among regime forces, which is impacting the regime army’s ability to keep fighting.

The continuing refusal of the Syrian Sunni majority to fight for the regime means that Assad’s army is now wholly dependent on Alawite officers and soldiers, although Alawites represent less than 10 percent of the Syrian population, Zisser explained, adding that this means that even if all the members of the Alawite sect were to mobilise to defend Assad, their likelihood of success would be highly improbable given their minority status. All these factors, he said, have greatly reduced the regime’s ability to survive.

Zisser added that despite the intervention of thousands of Hezbollah and tens of thousands of other members of foreign Shiite militias backed by Tehran, the Assad regime is incapable of changing its downwards trajectory.

The Israeli analyst asserted that the Syrian opposition forces give every indication that they represent the best alternative to the Assad regime’s rule, despite the West’s dissatisfaction with some of the factions within these forces, adding that the successive military victories of the armed opposition over regime and affiliated forces in southern and northern Syria have increased pressure on the coastal area where most of Syria’s Alawite population is based.

Zisser further stated that the one factor that could delay the fall of the Assad regime is the US administration’s clearly evident support for it, asserting that Washington is providing the regime with air support and working directly against all the forces opposing it.

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