" Syrian rebels backed by radical Islamists captured a northern regimental command center of President Bashar al-Assad's army, activists said on Sunday, as Russia dismissed speculation that it is preparing for its ally's possible exit from power." Reuters
I recently spoke to a friend who is an Israeli consultant to the IDF General Staff. He says that Israel's policy with regard to the fate of the Assad government is "paralysed."
IMO, it is in this position because Israel's interests conflict in the matter.On the one hand, Israel has pushed for many years for the removal of Bashar Assad on the general principle that he is what they call "a near enemy." On that basis they encouraged the Bush and Obama administrations to have nothing to do with him in spite of his repeated efforts to start negotiations with Washington over improved relations. On the other hand, the rebel forces in Syria are increasingly dominated by jihadists. This is true both of the foreign AQ associated groups who do much of the fighting, and the supposedly secular FSA. In the case of the FSA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and private Islamists "funnel" money to the FSA through people farther down the chain of command than the uniformed "colonels" who appear in Western media. Israel understands that in a post-Assad Syria the fiercest will prevail in the struggle for political control.
On FNS today the Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, declined to endorse, Mike Wallace's suggestion that Assad has been preparing to use chemical weaponry in the civil war. He said "we are not sure about the truth of these reports" or something to that effect. Instead he stated that what worries Israel is the possibility that Assad's government might lose control of chemical weapons and they could end up in jihadi or Hizbullah hands.
Wallace looked crestfallen and surprised. It seemed that Wallace actually believes the manufactured meme about Assad and chemical warfare. pl