1987-2008 SERIES    

< This Picture was taken during military drills and maneuvers of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) in Shizafon, close to Eilat City, in 2007. (IDF picture) 

Does this picture look familiar to you? Is this picture not close to the ones taken during the October 1973 Yom Kippur war in the Golan Heights?

Viewing this picture taken by IDF in The Jerusalem Post impressed me, by the similitude and closeness with the pictures of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. HE

 For years, the joint military drills had the main objective in achieving success in a military operation against a Palestinian held position, town or areas. But this time, the main objective, just in paper and "ground", was a Syrian town and military positions.



THE GOLAN HEIGHTS: 1973 vs. 2007

I just ended writing a book on the Yom Kippur War, named “Codename: Capital”. To me this situation on the Northern Border, it’s seams a repetition of the same Yom Kippur scenario, only this time some other players are factored in: the Hezbollah with her short range missiles arsenal, Gaza, with the ongoing conflict with the terrorist Hamas an emboldened Iran, just in the brink of becoming a nuclear power and a weak Syrian Government, looking for legitimization at home and abroad.

 Some are old actors in the arena’s sands: the Russians, under a different name and new management (the URSS is no more), are back again, with money from the oil boom; the Americans, bogged down with their finest military machines in a civil war in Iraq; Israel, again, alone, as the French song, “seule avec ma solitude”. Iran is aggressive under a new political-religious leadership.

Some other important actors are out, like Iraq, Jordan and Egypt.

 The military technology has changed since 1973 and the modernism factor is paramount.  This time the equation is more complicated, but the result is simple: just strike first, like in the Six days War, 40 years ago, and abort all pretensions and Syrians ambitions. A simple, well prepared, preemptive strike, will send a good message across the board, to many people, many bad people in the Middle East, from Syrians to Iranians.

 As in 1967, 1973, 1996, the tensions in 2006-2007 are high in the Northern border with Syria. Terrorist activities against Israel are in a rise, and threatening our security. For how long will Israel accept this humiliation with a friendly smile?

 The Al-Qaeda mythology is no reason to let Assad's regime to embark in risky business. Islamists will never be able to fight a real war conventional war, but they can only successfully massacre civilians which in the end will turn against them. The terrorist need a country to do the war for them. Assad needs to chose peace, social and economic development.

 The tactical dimensions of the Golan are not the same as the Sinai. The thinks here are more complicated. There is no “espace de maneuver”, in the Golan, as the French name it.  The distance, by ground and air down the Jordan Valley and into Jerusalem is such that a strong and successful Syrian attack can take the City in two to three days. Israel has no effective answer also if Syria launches properly every missile its own. Two-three days later, Assad would be The Arab Hero, as the Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, Syria, Palestine & more. Saladin, an orthodox Sunni, is the one who ended the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Christian rule in Middle East: he has a very nice and symbolic statue in Damascus, where he died in 1193.

 As again, the war will by certainly very bloody, with a lot of civilian casualties on both Israeli & Syrian sides. Assad wants to repeat the Sadat limited tactical situation of the 1973, in hopes of getting back “his land”. This worked for Sadat, but the Sinai was expendable. The Golan was only yours for 40 years. It’s less expendable for many social, economic and military reasons.

 One of the solutions is making a deal or arrangement with Syria, for peace but don't cede any territory. The Syrians minds have to change and accept the situation on the ground. As well, Israel can draw a simple conclusion: not always giving back ground is a way to a long lasting peace (define peace in the actual Middles East?!), especially in a so volatile and war torn area. Look back at the history of this area for the last 3000+ years.


Israel has a border with a state that sponsor international terrorism since 1945, and close ties with Iran, a young regional power, but with a long history of wars. Syrians need a war in order to unite their people and maybe some other muslin in the area. They think the time is right, but in reality is not so quite right. The “International War on Terror” is changing the minds of many political leaders in the Western and Eastern world.


The Syrians have to learn that they expose mare important and valuable targets to an all-powerfully Israeli air attack, than the deeply entrenched small contingent of Hezbollah fighters in the villages of Southern Lebanon.


To draw a lesson from Lebanon War II that will be valid for Syria, will be a mistake. The Scud-D missiles it received in 2001-2002 and some other 100+ ballistic missile launchers will not be sufficient to silence Israel, but will only assure that Syrian military and civil targets destruction will be total.

In the Golan Heights, the Syrian military units has been building up its new bunkers and renovating old positions (the Yom Kippur strong points) along the border. Assad & Military has also held exercises for the first time in years, as defensive exercises. But this tactics, as the Yom Kippur war demonstrated, could be turned from defensive to offensive in a number of hours.


The volatile fuel for a military confrontation is there, in the ground, air and in the minds of civilians, military and politicians. Anybody and anything can ignite the conflict: "Miscalculation" is now the term used.  A terror attack along the Lebanese border, with Katyusha or mortar fire by Hezbollah, an IDF bombardment of southern Lebanon or the Syrian border, a terror (read disguised military operation) attack along the Israeli-Syrian border, anything can be viewed as an excuse to open a second front in the Golan Heights.


The consensus in the IDF is in favor of talks with Syria. While every politician in Israel and U.S. recognize that Assad's peace overtures are insincere, a political maneuver to buy time and only a smoke screen and sand in the eyes, the IDF is preparing for a total war.


The war is not necessary, but all of the parties want a big show and example, because the urban-guerilla type war of the terrorist (as seen in Iraq, Britain, Spain, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan) is difficult to win with conventional force.

This is not going to be just a side show and somehow inconclusive as the Lebanon War II. If secret channels and diplomatic contacts can diffuse “the complex Syrian Bomb*”, all this will be welcomed. But they (the Syrians & co.) will always live with the idea of a military revenge and that “maybe” that they just have to try another time to win a war with the Israelis.


* The Syrian involvement in support of the terrorist’s movements, involvement in Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and association with Iran.






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