Follow @TheZakoJeffrey White, the former American veteran senior intelligence officer and the current defense fellow at The Washington Institute, wrote yesterday about the importance of the indirect intervention in Syria in his point of view. He wrote a couple of month ago as well on the subject, assessing the different options available for intervention available, concluding that something must be done.
In his piece yesterday, he said two main weakness (among others) of the Syrian regime were along the sectarian fault lines, and the vulnerability of lines of communication. So he formulated some recommendations that could accelerate the fall of the regime. More or less, these things are happening now on a lower level, but he suggested organising them by providing help and support: building effective combat force, supporting a campaign of political warfare, building more effective civil (unarmed) resistance, and building enhanced capabilities for sabotage operations.
The last one drew my attention, and probably some readers will raise their eyebrows. It’s a bit strange to read an academic explanation for sabotage, which shows that the struggle is heading to where the Syrian regime always alleged it was:
Such operations would be directed against important regime capabilities, including military, security, and economic targets, as well as the personal assets of regime supporters (businesses, homes, vehicles). The beginnings of a sabotage campaign already exist. “How to” instructions have been posted on Syrian social media sites for blocking roads, attacking logistics vehicles — including tank transporters and fuel trucks — cutting coaxial communications cables servicing airfields, and destroying telecommunications towers, sabotaging engines of combat and other vehicles used by government forces (by “sugaring” the fuel tank), and attacking railways and pipelines.
And evidence suggests that these instructions are being carried out. Sabotage actions could be made more effective through better planning, coordination, explosive devices, targeting, and techniques. Assistance in each of these areas could be provided by any number of intelligence services and Special Forces units. Sabotage inflicts damage on the regime, hampering its ability to rule and forcing it to further stretch its forces. […and] the undermining of loyalties to the regime through financial or personal security inducements (e.g., exemption from prosecution, visas, and offers of asylum).
These technique are not new to popular resistances through out history, although it took the French a while to discover that unbolting the railway tracks was easier, quicker and more effective than detonating them with explosives. I am not an expert on this, but copying previous typical warfare might not be the solution in this case. For example, assassinations is a likely method being used now by the opposition in Syria, but this is one of the most socially and physically damaging method of war, especially with the regime having the upper hand in inflecting damage – and tried and tested with failure in Lebanon.
I think Syrians need to be careful of not using the regime tactics, and alienating the fence-sitters, with the fact that economic sanctions are biting now, economy is shrinking, and unemployment is increasing. The main strengths of the Syrian regime are the cohesion of its inner family circle, and the apparent support within minorities communities. These factors will make or break, and this is where the focus should be. Else, sadly, parts of Syria will be taken down while bringing down this entrenched evil regime.
Photo credit: Crudeoildaily.com