It Would Take a Miracle to Save the Assad Regime

(Israel Hayom) Eyal Zisser - Last week, Islamic State seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra. The advances Islamic State has made in Iraq are disturbing, but it is doubtful the group is seeking to overrun Baghdad and the Shiite areas in southern Iraq. Essentially, all that is left of sovereign Iraq is the Shiite people, who enjoy the backing of the U.S. and the assistance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. They have come together to fight Islamic State over the Shiite territories in southern Iraq, but have neither the interest nor the ability to defend northern Iraq from the jihadi group. In Syria, however, Islamic State fighters view the regime of Syrian President Assad as easy prey. Assad has virtually no military forces fighting for him. What is left of the Syrian army is a group of exhausted soldiers who are outnumbered and unmotivated. Control of Palmyra affords Islamic State a springboard toward Damascus and Homs. At the same time, Assad must also contend with the Nusra Front, which is backed by Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. In this reality, the assistance Hizbullah lends the Assad regime is a drop in the bucket. Prof. Eyal Zisser is former director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.

2015-05-26 00:00:00

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