Syria-Lebanon: According to a Beirut newspaper, the Syrian opposition group affiliated with al Qaida, the Al-Nusrah Front, has distributed a statement announcing that it will commence military operations in Lebanon.
The statement said, “If Hizballah is not deterred from killing our mujahideen brethren in Syria, and if its members do not withdraw from the Syrian areas of Al-Qusayr in three days, we will harshly respond in the different Lebanese territories, particularly in the border areas, Al-Biqa, and Beirut’s Southern Suburb, where the rejectionist members of Hizballah are spreading. We will target markets, schools, public institutions, and parks.”
Comment: The term rejectionist is a derogatory description of the Shiites, Hizballah. Syrian opposition sources claim fierce fighting is occurring in al Qusayr, Syria, which is close to the northeastern Lebanon border. Hizballah is fighting in support of the Syrian army forces.
The significance of the statement is that it means al Qaida could have a franchise operating in Lebanon by next week. The Al-Nusrah Front has the capability to carry out this threat and spread the Syrian fighting deeper into Lebanon.
Phi Beta Iota: The USA has never good at nuances or longer-term thinking and acting. With the Russian fleet parked off Cyprus, and probably at least one Chinese submarine and/or Chinese aircraft equipped with electro-magnetic pulse capabilities for dropping NATO aircraft over the Mediterranean, this is shaping up very badly for the USA and NATO, both of which lack a) reliable intelligence on Russian and Chinese capabilities arrayed against them; and b) reliable intelligence, particularly human intelligence at the tribal level and strategic analytics at the regional level. This is also shaping up badly for the Gulf states, downwind at they are of any toxic brew that results from attacks on Israel, Syria, or Iran. Can the USA depose Assad if NATO nations agree to wage an unrestricted warfare campaign? Yes. Can the USA extract any tangible benefit commensurate to the trillions it has spent on the region it has destroyed in the past decade? No. The US Navy and US Air Force are not up to this challenge, and the US Army and Marine Corps, while they will obey orders to the last man, cannot win this fight as they are trained, equpped, organized, and led. Tactical will cannot overcome strategic incompetence so grave as to suggest the need for impeachment of those responsible. This would be a good time for NATO to break away from the USA, partner with EU, and invite the BRICS, African Union, and Gulf States into a deep dialog that seeks to create and respect ethical evidence-based decision support that is holistic and focused on sustainable multinational consensus and long-term stabilization & reconstruction.