Waiting for Assad’s Fall

ANALYSIS

The Al Safira military camp located in northern Syria looks like a youth group’s summer camp. In the center is the base, surrounded by gates and guards, and in the outer circles dozens, if not hundreds, of tents and huts that have recently been put up by Hizbullah and al-Qaida operatives who know that Assad’s end is near. They have been dispatched to ensure that when the time comes, they will be able to get their hands on certain resources, which, if they don’t grab, will fall into other hands. These resources are worth billions.

All those who had the sense to sit and wait around the army bases in Libya when it was clear that Muammar Gadhafi was in his final days hit it rich, in a major way. Anyone who didn’t get in on the Libyan windfall has now come to try again in Syria.

Hundreds of people have set up camp around Syrian bases, especially those where advanced weaponry and chemical weapons are stored. Some of them belong to Hizbullah and al-Qaida, while others are just simple individuals who know that they will not be able to handle heavy weaponry and will suffice with taking the tables and chairs used by the officers. As soon as the collapse occurs, they all want to be the first to get their hands on the loot.

Israel was calm in regard to the danger of chemical weapons falling into hostile hands after Russia promised Yerushalayim and Washington that it is responsible, through its personnel in Syria, for making sure that Assad will not misuse the chemical materials or allow anyone else to put their hands on them.

Indeed, the Russians guarded the site. But this week, when the Russians abandoned Syria in a panic, those fears have returned in Israel and the United States.

If those unconventional weapons fall into the hands of Hizbullah, it will not be the same as if they fall into the hands of al-Qaida. These are both fundamentalist Islamist groups, but they are not on the same path. They even compete with one another, and it’s safe to assume that they will even open fire on each other as soon as they hear that something has happened to Assad and the gates of the bases they are camped around burst open.

Hizbullah is one of the primary enemies of Israel and the Jewish nation. Regarding al-Qaida, the state of Israel does not top its list of enemies. Al-Qaida is much busier targeting Americans or Arab nations that lean towards Iran. Should chemical weapons fall into al-Qaida’s hands, they will quickly be used against Americans and Europeans, less so against Israel.

By contrast, if they reach Hizbullah, the danger to Israel will be much greater.

So what is the solution? That these weapons don’t fall into the hands of either group.

How exactly can that be assured? That is what the intensive discussions that took place among Israel, the Americans and the Europeans last week were about.

The race that will begin inside Syria among those surrounding the camps will be won by whoever gets there first. The winners will also be those who can prevent the arrival of others if they are able to damage and destroy these weapons, or even get hold of them before others get there.