Observers have been struggling to find an historical comparison for the War on Syria since it first broke out over 8 years ago, and while the conflict is veritably a unique one in its own right, the best comparison that can be made to its current phase over the past couple of years is Laos because of how “Israel’s” ongoing secret war on the Mideast country in the New Cold War somewhat mirrors the former campaign that the US waged on the Southeast Asian state in the Old Cold War.
The “Worst-Kept Secret” In The Mideast
Netanyahu just acknowledged that “Israel” was responsible for the latest bombing attack on Syria earlier this week when his armed forces shelled a hill, observation post, and hospital near the occupied Golan Heights in response to what he said was “Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region”, specifically reminding the world that “Israel’s” forces literally “operate every day” on this front. His remarkable chutzpah confirms what the former “IDF” chief revealed last month about how “Israel” “struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit” on a “near-daily” basis, which was already more or less known to the world as the Mideast’s “worst-kept secret” after the Russian Ministry of Defense practically said as much after the tragic mid-September downing of its spy plane in Syria.
RT reported at the time that the Ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that “[Israel’s] jets carried out more than 200 strikes against targets located in Syria over the past 18 months alone”, which would conservatively average out to at least one attack every two and a half days or so. Interestingly enough, Iranian Foreign Minster Zarif told the world about this well over half a year before Russia did when he accused “Israel” in February 2018 of “mass reprisals against its neighbours and daily incursions into Syria, Lebanon”, which the author admittedly thought was a gross exaggeration for perception management purposes but now humbly accepts that it was the closest public representation of the truth at the time. The question therefore arises of why neither Russia nor Syria touched upon this before then, but the answers might be “politically inconvenient” for most of the Alt-Media Community.
Explaining The Silence
Regarding Russia, it and “Israel” are practically allies at this point as a result of the many publicly acknowledged instances of high-level strategic and military cooperation between the two in Syria extensively cited in the author’s recent piece about how “I’m A Pro-Putin Anti-‘Putinist’ And It’s About Time That Alt-Media Acknowledges That We Exist”. Follow-up evidence of this objective observation can be seen from the fact that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov felt the need to deny that Russia and Iran are “allies” in Syria while simultaneously emphasizing that his country “in no way underestimates the importance of measures that would ensure the very strong security of the State of Israel” (from 1:20-1:40 of his interview with CNN), which preceded the meeting that Presidential Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev recently had with the head of the Mossad.
Concerning Syria, the self-professed “beating heart of Arabism” is now the “broken heart of the Resistance” after having the ignoble distinction of being the country that’s been bombed by “Israel” many more times than any other. The Arab Republic is simply unable to defend itself from its neighbor’s regular onslaught against the Iranian and Hezbollah forces that it legally welcomed into the country to assist with its War on Terror, and the much-touted S-300s still haven’t passed into Syria’s full and independent control (and may never will if Russia strikes a deal with “Israel” to that effect to “ensure its very strong security”). Simply put, Syria is embarrassed to have turned into the “IAF’s” bombing range and therefore sees no need to publicize each and every time that its sovereignty is violated.
Different War, Same “Secrecy”
For all intents and purposes, “Israel” is waging a so-called “secret war” on Syria in the New Cold War that’s somewhat similar to the one that the US waged on Laos in the Old Cold War, seeing as how the entire world knew about both but didn’t say anything for their own reasons. Just like the US dropped more bombs on Laos than it did during the entirety of World War II, so too did “Israel” bomb Syria many more times than it bombed any of its other enemies, although the scale of its carnage is incomparable in a physical sense to America’s. Nevertheless, the historic comparison is accurate in a structural and strategic sense, but that’s where the similarities end.
Back then, the USSR actively opposed the US’ “secret war” on Laos, but nowadays Russia “passively facilitates” “Israel’s” secret war” on Syria as part of its grand strategic policy of “balancing” that tacitly aims at ensuring Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from the Arab Republic. In addition, no American aircraft were every downed by its allies in Laos to the best of the author’s knowledge, though “Israel’s” reckless mid-air tactical maneuver in September resulted in a Syrian-fired S-200 tragically hitting one of Russia’s own spy planes, but this importantly didn’t end the alliance between the two and Netanyahu’s upcoming summit with President Putin next week is expected to publicly confirm the two sides’ reconciliation with one another since then.
Continuing with the mental exercise of comparing and contrasting the US’ “secret war” on Laos to “Israel’s” “secret war” on Syria, it can provocatively be predicted that the latest one’s outcome might be the opposite of its predecessor’s. Whereas the US failed to dislodge the Pathet Lao from the country and the communist revolutionary movement ultimately ended up taking over the state, “Israel” will probably have much more success in keeping Syria’s Iranian and Hezbollah partners away from the occupied Golan frontier and ultimately preventing them from entrenching their influence all throughout the country. The reason for this is that “Israel’s” predominant ally in Syria (Russia) is much more powerful than America’s was in Laos (the Royal Lao Government), and Moscow can exert diplomatic “mediating” influence over Damascus that Vientiane was incapable of exerting over the Pathet Lao.
Accepting this observation as accurate, it can be prognosticated that the end result of “Israel’s” “secret war” on Syria will probably be the perpetuation of the unofficial Russian-enforced “buffer zone” that Moscow created within 140 kilometers from the occupied Golan Heights and even its possible expansion if it can “convince” Damascus to “roll back” its Iranian ally’s influence in that part of the country. Unlike in Laos where the US had no chance of brokering international deals for the country’s post-war reconstruction (largely owing to its military-strategic failure there and eventual withdrawal from the region), Russia is in an excellent position to broker Syria’s post-war reconstruction with the Gulf Kingdoms and even “Israel’s” Western European allies in the event that Damascus does what’s “requested” of it by taking steps to ensure Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from the country.
Historical comparisons can provide creative and insightful ways of reevaluating contemporary conflicts and forecasting their possible solutions, but their accuracy is never absolute and the resultant models shouldn’t ever be assumed to be the be-all and end-all for understanding the object of study. Such is the case of Syria and Laos’ “secret wars”, which are remarkably similar in many senses but also really different in others. Both target states found themselves in the center of Cold War competition between the most important powers of the day, but the outcome of the current “shadow conflict” will probably be the opposite of the previous one due to the pivotal “balancing” role that Russia is playing in it, which astronomically improves “Israel’s” odds of at least partially achieving the success of its strategic objectives in Syria in a manner that the US never had a chance to do in Laos.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.