As the dew of Hermon—Psalms 133:3
Shooting accurately a mortar is not easy. Its steep ballistic trajectory demands expertise and calculations, especially when more often than not, the operator of the weapon cannot see the target. Yet, it is perfect for mountainous areas, where it can vertically bypass stubborn summits.
Hebrew media quotes IDF sources claiming that these were random shells, “wandering shells which are part of the battles between the rebels and the army of Bashar al-Assad,” claimed Yediot Ahronot. In other words, these were benevolent bombs void of evil intentions.
Two mortar shells were shot over Mt. Hermon. Both hit the same site. It shows not only expertise in the manipulation of a mortar, but also a clear intention. Following the Israeli airstrike on Syria last week, Syrian officials have declared publicly that the event was a declaration of war (to be more accurate, an activation of the state of war already existing between the countries). Today, very precise shots of an imprecise weapon landed in the Hermon Ski Site. The event is unlikely to be anything else but a Syrian retaliation to the Israeli attack.
This event followed two cases of mortar shells hitting the Golan Heights in the last week. In all the events there were no damages. South of the Hermon, on the Golan plateau, the hits could be attributed to “wandering shells;” the high altitude hits are a different story. Oddly supporting this claim, while refuting the IDF one, the same Hebrew newspaper added a short commentary at the end of its report, “Amidst this, Al-Hayat, which is published in London, quoted this morning ‘a knowledgable source’ in Tehran, who said that Iran succeeded to convince Assad to give Hezbollah all the resources of the Syrian Army if Hezbollah will decide to open a front against Israel in the Golan Heights.” This not only explains the event, but announces a new development of strategic dimensions.
Jibril Rajoub, a Fatah Central Committee: “We the Palestinians are the enemies of Israel.”
Did you know? Alawi Republic of Latakia Saves Syria
On the Verge of a Regional War
In another coincidence that is unlikely to be a random one, Jibril Rajoub, a Fatah Central Committee member, said in an interview with Al Mayadeen, “We the Palestinians are the enemies of Israel.” The interview with the Hezbollah affiliated television network is reproduced above this paragraph. The interview was given while Mr. Rajoub was visiting Lebanon, where he had a meeting with Iranian ambassador to Beirut, Ghazanfar Roknabadi. He reported having discussed the subject of Israel’s actions against the holy places of Islam and Christianity, as well as reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas.
This was a surprising statement since he had been Head of the Preventive Security Force; in other words, he had supported the peace process, had been trained by the Israeli secret political police Shin Beth, and had closely cooperated with the Israeli establishment for years. Apparently he thought that this statement wasn’t clear enough, so he declared: “Until now we have not had nuclear weapons, but in the name of Allah, if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them.”
This is a pretty damaging declaration. It wouldn’t have been uttered unless he assesses that the region is on the verge of a major war.
“Why should I read roitov.com?”
The Israeli leadership is obviously worried about the events. The result of a regional war cannot predicted, especially when a chemical duel may take place. Israel may find itself pushed back into the 1950s, with neither industries nor modern infrastructures. A possible answer would be to attack Syria before Hezbollah implements the announced plan. Today, Haaretz published an analysis of the Syrian situation as performed by Dr. Eli Carmon from the Anti-Terror Policy Institute in the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. The picture above shows his analysis of Assad’s options.
The option marked “1” is desertion. Iran, Venezuela, Russia and the Emirates are quoted as possible destinations; for reasons to be mentioned this is unlikely to materialize. According to Option 3, Assad may accept an agreement to be proposed by international powers in which he will remain the Syrian President, but the political power would be transferred to the rebels. Considering that the amount of killed has reached the 80,000 and that many of the rebels are foreign mercenaries, this is unlikely to happen. In Option 4, Assad continues the war to the death. However, the most interesting option is #2. It announces the creation of the Republic of Latakia, in what today is Western Syria.
“This Saturday, June 30, 2012, the UN is hosting an international conference in Geneva in another attempt to find a peaceful solution to what is already defined by all as a fully fledged war in Syria,” were the opening words of my Alawi Republic of Latakia Saves Syria article. The analysis I performed, presented this option as a proper solution to this war, which already back then was presented by Bashar al-Assad as an ethnic conflict between Alawis and Sunnis. Alawi comprise roughly 12% of the population and hold the power, the Assad dynasty is Alawi; yet, 74% of the population is Sunni.
I won’t repeat the arguments presented in that article, which I expected Dr. Carmon had had the decency to quote as per academic practices, just let me present the core issue. Bashar al-Assad may be forced out of power only if he loses the support of the Alawi people. This may happen in three different ways. All Syrian pilots and most senior officers in the army are Alawi; if they turn against him, he’ll have no armed forces left. Then, the Alawi mid-class running the Syrian administration may reject him and bring the country to a standstill. Finally, the Alawi-majority coastal areas may decide to support a different leader. These scenarios are unlikely to happen since the Alawi reasonably fear a Sunni-ruled Syria. This is a clear tie.
Syria has already been sliced in the past. In 1938, Hatay—a small territory on the Mediterranean coast—became independent from the French mandate of Syria as the Republic of Hatay. Following a referendum in 1939, Hatay decided to join Turkey, forming the singular panhandle shape that can be seen on the maps of Turkey. Syria still doesn’t recognize that event as legitimate. An important aspect of that event is that the Alawis are one of two main ethnic groups inhabiting Hatay. Essentially, the breakup of Latakia may be seen by Turkey as a repetition of the past. After a few years, a referendum may be held on the issue of the gathering of the Alawis with their brothers in Turkey, under a single political entity. Latakia will join Turkey, giving the latter better access to the strategic gas-fields. This scenario is so tempting to most players that stopping it may be impossible. One more country-which is keeping silent until now-will profit.
If Syria is split, Zion and its elders will applaud. Israel will cement its illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, and be closer than ever to create a regional empire based on destitution and violence. The survival of a strong and democratic Syria is essential for ensuring regional peace and stability; no region accepting Western occupation has ever known peace. Syria is unlikely to be the exception. The Alawi Republic of Latakia may soon be recreated; my readers knew it first.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.