Leadership: Syria Has a New Plan

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April 17, 2007: Noting the apparent success of Hizbollah in bombarding northern Israel with short range rockets, Syria has reorganized its missile and ground forces. It's unclear exactly what Syria is up to, but they have moved 300 of their SCUD missiles closer to Israel, so that these missiles can cover nearly all of Israel. Other rocket systems have been moved as well, along with the 10,000 troops assigned to the "Rocket Force."

Syria also has some of 10,000 elite infantry, often called commandos. This force is being expanded, and trained to fight Israeli troops in villages along the border, like Hizbollah troops did last Summer. Syrias regular forces (twelve tank and infantry divisions) have not gotten any new equipment or weapons for years, and are becoming more obsolete each month.

What Syria has invested in, is Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. That, and more training for its rocket troops, and its commandos. Thus it appears that Syria is preparing to fight like Hizbollah, in the event of another war with Israel. Fire lots of SCUDs and smaller rockets, use good infantry to fight in border villages, and shoot down Israeli aircraft with modern missile systems. Yeah, that might work.

Syria has, for the last decade, seen a lack of money turn its armed forces to a much less effective force. Israel, meanwhile, added new weapons and equipment. But Israel also had to deal with an upsurge of Palestinian terrorism. The Israelis defeated this in the last two years, but at the cost of losing training for many of its ground troops. Hizbollah took advantage of that, and Syria hopes to as well. Otherwise, Syria fears that the Israelis could quickly overrun them and march right into Damascus. Now, using a Hizbollah strategy, the Syrians see hope. That hope may prove elusive, for the Israelis are fixing the problems they encountered last Summer.

 


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