Assad, the lesser of two evils

Contrary to earlier expectations, Pres. Assad of Syria is surviving.  This is only because he has received strong support from his allies, Russia and Iran and its proxy the Hizbollah terrorist army.  Without them he would have been defeated and removed long ago.

But, who are his opponents?  Part of the insurgent opposition are the democratic forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that opposed his dictatorship as part of the so-called “Arab Spring” that came belatedly to Syria.  But, as time has gone on, the main opposition has become the Islamist forces, namely the Islamic State (IS) and the Front for the Conquest of The Levant (Jabhat Fatah al Sham, that was previously the Al Nusra Front).   In Aleppo which is the current focus of fighting, the Syrian Army and its allies are making headway against the mainly Islamist forces and now control about three quarters of the city.

If faced with a  choice between the two, Assad or the Islamist forces, Israel and the West would certainly choose Assad.  Assad after all is a known commodity.  Alth0ugh both Assads, father and son, were the leaders of the rejectionist Arab forces for many years, they were very careful not to provoke Israel into retaliating against Syria.  They used Lebanon and Hizbollah as their proxy in attacking Israel indirectly.  Also, Assad is currently dependent on Russian air power to support his forces, and it is likely that Russia will act as a brake on Assad from doing anything so adventurous as attacking Israel when his existence is already threatened.

Meanwhile there has been a first, an attack by the IDF against IS forces that were attempting to establish a base in the Golan Heights from which to strike at Israel.  The IAF attacked an abandoned building that was being used to establish an IS base and the IDF fired back at an IS site from which fire was directed at Israel.  In both cases there were direct hits and the sites were destroyed. In general, Israel does not consider the IS to be a significant threat to its security.  Also, yesterday the IAF is reported to have destroyed an arms cache due to be passed to Hizbollah that were being stored at a Damascus air base.  I assume this strike was coordinated with Russia so as not to have them think that this attack was directed against their ally Assad.

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