December 18, 2018

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Excellent analysis of weekend events in Syria by J. E. Dyer

My favorite site for military analysis is the Liberty Unyielding blog by Commander (ret.) J. Dyer, and her article on the events in Israel and Syria on Saturday does not disappoint. Excerpts:

Iran’s probe with the drone is the latest in a growing series of probes and pushes in the region: probes against the postures of others, pushes against the status quo, pushes to establish new “realities on the ground.”

The region itself isn’t in balance anymore, and hasn’t been for some time.  The last chance to certify balance without an extended shoving match first was right around the latter half of 2013, when the Obama administration failed to defend a publicly declared “red line” on Syria, and did nothing to thwart the rise of ISIS.

In default of a “hyperpower” (as France used to call the U.S.) enforcing stasis, the natural state of human affairs is probing and pushing.  We forgot that after nearly 70 years of a Pax Americana.  But since the Arab Spring – and with hints of it even before that – we’ve been reminded of it almost daily.  Eventually it may sink in.

In the Middle East, Iran has been the chief prober and pusher, with ISIS, until last year, close behind.  But additional probes have developed through first- and second-order effects, and they are ongoing almost literally everywhere, from Morocco to the Philippines.

Iran affects, and is affected by, the whole complex mix of these probes.  The situation is especially unstable because the biggest factors for Iran are all changing at the same time.  Internal stability is crumbling.  The mullahs’ chief power projection project – the land bridge through Syria – has bogged down in recent weeks.

And the status quo in the larger region is in significant flux.  Events that Western observers don’t even recognize as related are presenting Iran with the prospect of unmanageable changes to the strategic status quo.

Anything that thwarts the revolutionary regime in Iran can be held to have a salutary effect.  But the more such effects there are, the more Iran will shift tactics and try to create problems where problems are advantageous to Iran.

In order to keep a cost-effective defense posture functional and realistic, Israel has to deter incursions like this one, not just keep responding to them. Hence the counter-strikes: first against the drone command vehicle, and then against the Syrian air defense force, to ensure that Syria pays a price – one that is useful to Israel and does relevant damage to Syria – for letting Syrian territory be used by Iran.

There is far, far more in great detail. Analysis that the media is ill-equipped to perform.

It is worthwhile to read the whole thing.

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