28 August 2013
The Syrians and their Iranian and Hezbollah allies know that this is a fight to the death for all of them. That they will either win this battle or be destroyed in it. They also know that 'the clock is ticking' on the use of their strategic military assets. That SAS and USMC long-range recon troops, and others, are in-country now to ID hidden Syrian missiles and other key hardware. That they have to 'use it or lose it' within a relatively short time ... days at best. This will be a major driver in the escalation/counter-escalation scenarios in the first day/days of the war.
So what happens when they hit the British Sovereign base in Cyprus with a punishing missile attack, and the US Air Base in Turkey and multiple Israeli high value targets? What happens when Iran announces that the Straight of Hormuz is closed? What happens when the Israels cross the Lebanese and Syrian frontiers? What happens when several US warships are sunk with great loss of life?
What happens when things really begin to get out of hand ... which could be Day 2 or Day 3 or so of the war??? When nuclear weapons are clearly being used? What happens when chemical and radiological weapons are used in return? Does the line continue to be crossed in ever expanding worse levels of a nightmare right out of Hell? What happens when Israel sees itself in risk of total destruction ... or Iran??? Does Israel use the Samson Option? Does Iran use its doomsday advanced biological warfare option?
The trouble is, 21st Century warfare and the massive deaths from WMD and the short timelines involved tend to compel a rapid and beyond horrific cycle of response and counter-response and counter-counter-response. The central national command authority may be so degraded as to be incapable of stopping the madness, once it has quickly reached a certain point. What is that point? We simply do not know because no one has ever used these levels of death dealing technologies in combat before.
There is a line in the old movie 'Wargames', where the 'thinking computer' that is about to blow up the entire world finally realizes that "the only winning move is not to play". Sadly Colin Powell's advice that America needs to "back away from Syria" seems to have fallen on deaf ears. We will soon be trapped in events that might be described as Hellish and then it will be too late.
Tim Earl of Stirling
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