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.