US and Israel Lobby reel from Hezbollah al-Qusayr victory
Beirut -- Although al-Qusayr may not be the decisive battle for Syria, it is
irrefutably an important turning point in the crisis which has given the regime
much sought military momentum. Plenty of adjectives and some cliches
are being bandied about from Washington to Beirut to describe the al-Qusayr
battle results and significance. Among them are "game-changer," "mother
of all battles," "altered balance of power," critical "turning point in the civil
war," and so on.
It does appear that the victory of the Syrian government forces at al-Qusayr
is a strategic achievement, if also a humanitarian disaster for the civilian
population still waiting for the ICRC and SARCS, (Syrian Arab Red Crescent
Society) emergency help. Al Qusayr is located in Homs province, an area
central to the success of the Syrian government's military strategy. It is
situated just west of the shortest route from Damascus to the coast, at a
juncture where regime forces have struggled to maintain control. Rebel
control of al-Qusayr had disrupted the regime's supply lines from the port of
Tartus and was open for the cross-border movement of Gulf arms to rebels
via Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
Government control of al-Qusayr also provides a ground base for the Assad
government to move to retake control of the north and east of Syria. This
cross-roads city just 6 miles from the Lebanese border has many strategic
ramifications: breaking the opposition's 18 month control of much of Homs
province, facilitating government forces momentum generally across Syria,
and psychological, by raising the morale of exhausted Syrian forces while
energizing the Assad government and its allies to finish the conflict and focus
on long-promised reforms and try to relieve Syria from the nearly 27 months
of hell for its people.
occupiers of Palestine and their currently traumatized US lobby.
From conversations and emails with former colleagues at the Democratic
National Committee (on which this observer served during the Carter
administration) as well as with Congressional insiders, a picture emerges of
nearly debilitating angst among those committed to propping up the
apartheid state in the face of truly historic changes in this region that have
only just begun to re-shape the region.
The reactions from various elements of the pro-Israel lobby range from the
Arabphobic Daniel Pipes' fantasy essay in the Washington Times this week
entitled "Happy Israel" to Netanyahu's increased threats issued from Tel
Aviv about what Israel might do if his three cartoon "red lines" are breached,
to more pressure on the White House by Israel's agents in Congress who are
demanding that Obama act immediately to undo "the major damage done
Several aspects of "the Qusayr rules and results" are being discussed at the
HQ of the racist anti-Defamation League (ADL) which has summoned an
emergency gathering of the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations to craft a solution to the problem. The tentative agenda
reportedly includes for discussion and action the following:
The twin defeats at al-Qusayr and at Burgas, Bulgaria -- the latter, in which
Bulgaria is claiming there is no probative evidence to conclude that
Hezbollah was involved in the attack on Israelis last year -- should not be
underestimated, according to one AIPAC activist who works on the House
Foreign Affairs Committee, given that it substantially knocks out the props
from the lobby's project to get the European Union to list Hezbollah as a
terrorist organization, thus interfering with the Islamist party's fundraising.
The lobby is reacting angrily to Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann and
Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger's statement about that country's
decision to withdraw its 380 peacekeeping troops, more than one-third of the
1000 United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, (UNDOF) contingent,
from the Golan Heights.
The lobby is claiming that this Austrian move constituents an existential threat
to Israel because it opens the Quneitra crossing, the door to the Golan, for the
Syrian civil war to spill over the border into Israel. At the same time it is
being argued that al Qusayr lifts pressure off Hezbollah, Iran and Syria as
well as the Palestinian resistance and gain all more fighters who sense victory
for the current regime and major gains for all in the political dynamics of
The Israel embassy in Washington has chimed in with a statement that the
Austrian withdrawal threatened the role of the UN Security Council in any
future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, while at the same
time encouraging Hezbollah to move into the Golan.
Israel stalwart, Eric Cantor (R-Va) told a "brown bag" lunch gathering in
the House Rayburn Building cafeteria late this week that the "fall of al
Qusayr, will facilitate the Assad regimes advance on areas north of Homs
province and will likely return to Damascus control of important rebel-held
areas in the north and the east. Cantor claims that the Assad regime victory
effectively cuts off an important supply route to the rebels which will leave
the armed opposition even more weakened and scattered. Israel is
demanding an immediate US supported counter-offensive consistent with
the demands made by US Senators John McClain and Lindsay Graham.
The apartheid state also is demanding that the White House scrap Geneva II,
claiming that Assad is now too strong for the US/Israel to benefit from such
a dialogue. "If the international community is serious about seeking to enforce
a negotiated settlement, they will first have to do something to decisively
change the balance of power on the ground ahead of any serious negotiations,"
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