The US seems to be loosing ground in the middle-east, having been thrown out of Egypt, while its insurgency in Syria approaches the verge of defeat.Although the US has just declared the Syrian regime has crossed the red line of using chemical weapons, the US lacks the deployment on the middle-eastern theater which would allow it to slam Syria hard.
It now seems that the US might be interested in escalating its conflict with Syria, in order to be mandated by the UN a mission to either:
1. Topple Assad, a war effort which would turn in to a regional war and perhaps consequently an explicit 3rd world war. Or rather more likely:
2. To impose on Assad’s regime an inspections regime like on Iraq between 1991 and 2003. This scenario shall create the impression the US restrains the Iranian sphere of influence, to which Syria is integral, yet would actually buy Iran quite a few more years in order to advance and mature its nuclear and ICBM weapon programs.
The US could escalate the situation by means of a Tomahawks barrage on Syrian installations, launched from US Navy frigates in the Mediterranean en route to Damascus area. Those Tomahawks would then fly over the Lebanon,cruising low within its steeply mountainous terrain in order to evade the Syrian air defense radars and optics, which are insofar deployed only inside Syria.
This scenario would prompt Syria to deploy many of its air-defense batteries inside the Lebanon. These batteries would be accompanied by mechanized forces
i.e. the Syrian army shall invade the Lebanon, much like it did in 1976, where it remained an occupying force until in summer 1982 the Israeli army kicked its mechanized, armored, artillery and air-defense units out of there, leaving a bit of infantry scattered around the country till date. A Syrian air-defense radar was destroyed in the Lebanon in spring 2001, shortly after it was positioned.
Likewise isolated Syrian mobile SAM trucks have been rumored for the last several years to be secretly roaming the Lebanon.
In summer 1982 it took Israel a full scale invasion with several armored divisions and a very complicated SEAD operation, named Mole Cricket 19, in order to push the Syrian army back out of the Lebanon. Repeating this achievement next summer will require solutions to the new generations of Russian SAM and ATGM, which insofar have never been defeated – not even in disclosed exercises. In 1982 Israel utilized embedded computer systems in order to overcome Analog electronics developed in the USSR in the 1960s, thus enjoyed novel adaptive capabilities vs. quite a fixated opponent. This time round both sides are equipped with modern DSP and Software, suggesting no one side may hold a decisive qualitative upper arm, thus a decisive military victory shall require a large-scale, intense and fierce ground campaign including air support and the heliborne medical evacuation, the kind of which defaulted in the Israeli air-force in summer 2006, due to the modern MANPADs deployed by Hezbollah.
In order to foil any American success, Iran is likely to attempt to turn the international discussion from ‘Syrian atrocities’ to the classic ‘Arab-Israeli’ conflict, by means of tasking Hezbollah, perhaps already on the start of hostilities, to open a war against Israel, deporting all the foreign troops from the Lebanon, opening direct military supply chains to Lebanon from Iran and Tartus,and perhaps even invading Israel. In order to augment the ‘Arab’ motive of that conflict, Hamas may launch from Gaza thousands of heavy rockets at Israeli cities, thus complementing the artillery coverage of Israel in conjunction with the Hezbollah and in conjunction with Sinai Jihadist troop which occasionally rocket Eilat anyhow.
This scenario achieves preemption vs. NATO on both the military and diplomatic aspects of the conflict, before before NATO is given months to ramp up its deployment on the ground, i.e. hauled in to the theater from over seas.
In case Hezbollah starts a war against Israel, Hezbollah can greatly benefit from a Syrian deployment to the Lebanon of air-defenses, likewise of other troops,thus may even postpone the start of its war against Israel till the Syrian deployment to the Lebanon is accomplished.
Insofar Israel seems to remain dormant, i.e. not mobilizing its military, perhaps hoping to leverage on Hezbollah to heavily rocket Israel, in order to gorge more US aid to Israel’s burgeoning business of interception systems against artillery rockets. This business comprises the heavily disputed Iron dome and its upscale sibling Magic Wand.