Hez'ballah declares 'victory' in Syria
The Lebanese terrorist group Hez'ballah has declared victory in the Syrian civil war. While this confident assessment of the battlefield situation may seem premature, it is, in fact, entirely accurate.
The rebels are no longer a threat to Syrian President Bashar Assad. With significant aid from the Russian air force and Hez'ballah ground forces, the government has won back about 80% of the territory lost to the rebels in the previous 5 years and is in the process of crushing Islamic State - with the help of the US and its allies.
Ceasefires brokered by Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United States in remaining rebel-held areas of western Syria have freed up manpower on the government side, helping its advance east into the oil-rich province of Deir al-Zor.
The eastward march to Deir al-Zor, unthinkable two years ago when Assad seemed in danger, has underlined his ever more confident position and the dilemma facing Western governments that still want him to leave power in a negotiated transition.
Government forces last week reached Deir al-Zor city, the provincial capital on the Euphrates River, breaking an Islamic State siege of a government-held enclave and a nearby air base.
In a televised speech last month, Assad said there were signs of victory in the war, but that the battle continued.
U.S.-backed militia fighting under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have in recent days launched a separate offensive against Islamic State in Deir al-Zor province.
The SDF, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, is also waging a campaign to capture Raqqa city from Islamic State. It has avoided conflict with the Syrian government.
One of the most brutal and bloody civil wars in history is slowly winding down. That President Assad will be in power until the day he dies is a given. With Russia's guarantee of the regime's survival, Assad will be free to contiunue his brutalization of the Syrian people and oppression of the Kurds and Sunnis.
President Obama's empty words that "Assad must go" along with his disappearing "red line" only hint at how seriously he botched the US response to the Syrian civil war. His naivete and stupidity is directly responsible for the carnage wrought by Assad's forces and especially, by the Russian air force, whose indiscriminate bombing of rebel held cities and towns led to tens of thousands of civilian casualties. Nary a peep was heard from the UN and especially those who are glad to take the stage and berate America whenever civilians are harmed during US military action. Assad's use of poison gas has gotten some attention, but he has never been punished nor will he likely have to face an international court to answer for his crimes against humanity.
With very little cost to the US, this war could have been won by the rebels in 2012. This was before the Saudis and other gulf states began to arm radical Islamist militias, before ISIS became a force, before Hezb'allah and Russia intervened. But the Obama administration decided that the Free Syrian Army wasn't worthy of US support and the result is what we see today.
Hezb'allah's stock in the Middle East has skyrocketed. War with Israel now becomes almost inevitable. The terrorists will almost certainly finish off the secular Sunni and Christian opposition in Lebanon, making that tiny country a terrorist haven.
In short, the result of a Russian, Hezb'allah, and Assad victory will carry consequences far into the future.