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MENAFN - Arab News - 28/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has finally threatened that he will initiate an attack against Israel and bombard it with thousands of "Alfajr" bombs.

While this is an empty threat, I hope that he does in fact follow through and clash with the Israelis. As the saying goes, pottery breaks pottery when they clash. If Nasrallah were to attack Israel, Israel would attack back and the Lebanese would finally be free of his militias, which he uses to threaten them in every crisis.

Benjamin Netanyahu would emerge from his slumber and learn that a military solution is not a guarantee to Israel's security. But what about Hezbollah's true intentions of diverting the attention of the Arabs and the world away from bringing down Assad's regime? Will he succeed in stalling the Syrian revolution?

There recently have been two major crises: The war in Gaza and an earthquake in Egypt on Thursday as a result of the announcement by Muhammed Mursi of his takeover of authorities in Egypt. These two events have really taken the world's attention away from the developments on the ground in Syria, namely the fact that the Syrian rebels have been able to progress into new territory and surround the regime.

If they are able to maintain this same pace, we will be sure to see Assad surrounded in his palace within the next three months. The regime's forces have lost the areas of rural Damascus after a year and a half of hit-and-run tactics - besides the districts of Aleppo, which it already lost to the rebels - and the forces have lost full control of the airspace after the rebels gained new missiles that brought down a number of the regime's jet aircraft and helicopters.

Moreover, the developments along the Turkish border indicate Turkey's preparedness to intervene during the final chapter of the war, especially after using NATO troops and weapons and deploying defensive missiles on the border, a move that angered the Iranians who have been betting on an idle Turkish front and the superiority of Assad's military and, in particular, air capabilities.

If the regime is able to withstand itself and sustain fighting beyond the coming three months, as well as manage to escape the winter, then the subsequent Syrian Spring will undoubtedly be political in nature. With the rapid success and developments on the ground, there will be a quicker collapse of the regime. These will also be difficult weeks for the Syrian revolution because they will signify the first test for control over the land and the preservation of territorial integrity, as well as will reveal a unified military system and civilian relief effort working in harmony - a task that will not be easy for everyone as they face it in the coming decisive hours.

Attempts by Iran and others to open new fronts to distract the Syrians from their war will not succeed, even if the media is preoccupied with the new war on Israel as per the threats of Nasrallah. Iran and Assad hope that the world can be further distracted by other major events as they believe it would scare the West and provide cover to the regime's army to commit greater crimes. However, even if Hezbollah's weapons are launched on Elat, all the way at the other side of Israel, this would not stop the Syrian rebels from marching and the party would not succeed in gaining sympathy from anyone.

I would be happy if Hezbollah were to clash with Israel because it would lose its stock of weapons and its force would become without nail in the face of the new Syrian regime. Israel also would reduce Hezbollah's forces, which are a threat to the Lebanese forces. Moreover, if Hezbollah were to carry out this threat it would move the Palestinian issue forward as the great powers tend to revive the peace initiative after every battle that raises clamor and controversy with government of Israel.

The war in Syria appears to be out of control and attempts to distract will not succeed. Nor will methods of expanding fronts, or side agreements and negotiations, neither of which are beneficial today so long as the rebels are practically at the gates of Damascus, and are holding the country side of the capital.


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