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Syrian armyEight months of civil war have left Syria with virtually no army. The draft is estimated to decline by 70 to 95%; conscripts are exhausted and demoralized by prolonged fighting against their own people. Sanctions have left Syrians short of fuel, and ammunition. This means that right now Syria would be defenseless against an Israeli strike.

And there are excellent reasons for such a strike. Syria still possesses three nuclear installations that were not bombed along with the reactor. We also know the whereabouts of Syria’s SCUDs and biological and chemical weapons. Destroying them all would be a day’s work for the IAF. We can also use this opportunity to get rid of Syria’s tanks, SAMs, and meager air force. An opportunity such as this one has not arisen for decades, and is unlikely to recur anytime soon.

Moreover, Assad wouldn’t even retaliate against Israel because he would fear a second wave of attacks, bombing of government installations and infrastructure, and an invasion to remove him from power.

Attempting to postpone a decision on Iran, the White House announced through Tom Donilon its determination to oust Assad in order to squeeze the ayatollahs. That’s a very bad idea.

Without Assad, the ayatollahs would need nuclear weapons all the more to recover their regional influence. They would also need ballistic missiles to compensate for the loss of their launch pads in Syria. At the same time, Washington will be embroiled in Syria, where the Muslim Brotherhood, bereft of Assad, would lead the turmoil. To have both Syria and Iran on its hands, as well as an increasingly unstable Libya, would be too much for the United States.

November 2011
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