ANALYSIS: When Will the Attack Begin And How Long Will it Last?

Israelis carry boxes with gas masks at a distribution center in Tel Aviv on August 28, 2013. As talks of an international attack on Syria heightened, the demand for gas masks in Israel rose. (Roni Schutzer/Flash90)
Israelis carry boxes with gas masks at a distribution center in Tel Aviv on August 28, 2013. As talks of an international attack on Syria heightened, the demand for gas masks in Israel rose. (Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

Hamodia’s military correspondent tries to estimate, based on preparations being made and global diplomatic developments, when it is likely that the Americans will launch their attack and by when they want it to be behind them.

The military echelons in Israel will undoubtedly know when exactly the Americans will begin their attack, or at least that’s what the senior army brass in America has promised their Israeli counterparts. Even with the advance notice, it would not be enough time to prepare for a retaliation in the event of an attack on Israel by Syria, Iran, Hizbullah or all the other jihadists. That is why they are so busy trying to analyze the question of all questions: When exactly will the attack begin and how long is it expected to last?

Based on assessments drawn from the facts at hand, such as the approach of American warships, the landing of aircraft at the Incerlik base in Turkey and the Mifrak base in Jordan, and global diplomatic developments, it’s safe to assume that the Americans will take action some time between Thursday night and Sunday morning.

Why then? Because the Americans are waiting for the U.N. team to leave Syria so that they are not harmed. They are waiting for an improvement in the weather in the attack areas, and to finalize coordination with the other armies that will take part in the operation. Above all, they are trying to collect last-minute intelligence about the intended targets.

The Americans estimate that they will need three days and nights to complete the mission. If everything goes according to plan, they might be able to shorten that time. In any case, by Tuesday night next week, they want the whole thing to be behind them, as on Wednesday, President Barack Obama has a summit scheduled with the Russians which he does not want to cancel.

When you take the earliest time that the U.N. inspectors can be out of Syria and the final time they want to be completely done with it, next Tuesday night, we are left with a window of between Thursday and Motzoei Shabbos or Sunday morning to begin the operation. That is how it can end by Tuesday.

The Syrians also believe that is the approximate time frame, indicated by reports from reporters in Damascus, who are reporting that the Syrian army has decided to evacuate most of the army bases they fear will be attacked by Thursday afternoon.

If the Americans want to have an element of surprise, they can shorten the operation target to 48 hours, and some say they can even suffice with a concentrated 24 hour effort. But they will not be able to begin before the U.N. inspectors leave the region, and also do not want to finish after next Wednesday.

As far as Israel is concerned, this means it has to be ready by Thursday. The cabinet that convened for an emergency meeting yesterday received promises from the IDF and the defense echelons that indeed, everything will be ready by the projected time the operation will be launched.