Anniversary of the October War and the Syrian Fort
by Ghaleb Kandil on 12 Oct 2012 0 Comment

The October 1973 anniversary has arrived while the region has witnessed numerous developments, coups and transformations during the last forty years. Nonetheless, a series of factors require us to look at the occasion which constitutes a historical turning point in Arab-Israeli conflict and Arab reality.



Firstly, regardless of what is said about the October War, its results and backdrops, what was crucial about it was the will and ability to wage war against the Zionist entity to liberate the occupied territories, and consequently undermine the climate of defeat which followed the June 1967 war. In this context, the events which ensued revealed that President Hafez al-Assad prepared and waged this war on the military and political levels, using its outcome to establish a deterring regional power which embraced the resistance forces in Lebanon and Palestine. He went from the strategic level to making new equations that followed a winding course of events, wars, crises, confrontations and negotiations, reaching the great victory achieved by the Lebanese resistance in 2000, ousting the Israeli occupation from Lebanon, owing to Syrian and Iranian support. 


Secondly, the Egyptian course on the other hand led to the Camp David Accord, while Anwar al-Sadat and Henry Kissinger exploited the fueling of the combat fronts to inaugurate rounds of negotiations which started off with disengagement and ended with a comprehensive deal. This deal distanced Egypt from the equations of the Arab-Israeli conflict and paved the way for the taming of its political will to transform it into an ally of Israel under American tutelage. The Egyptian turn started the day the political leadership in Cairo let the Syrian Arab Army fight alone. This allowed the Israeli army to move units of its fighting troops from the Egyptian front to the Syrian front, to prevent the progress of the Syrian Arab forces that had entered northern Palestine. This parting was clearly seen following the triggering of the Lebanese war and in all crucial political and military developments witnessed in the region following the October war, especially at the level of the position towards the Iranian revolution, the Iraqi war on the Islamic Republic of Iran, and subsequent unilateral agreements along the Jordanian and Palestinian courses.       


Thirdly, any reading into these events and developments leads us to conclude that Syria – the only Arab state that decided to fight in October to ensure liberation and accumulated arms and defense systems – built its strategies on the fact that there can be no independence, prosperity or minimum level of stability as long as Israeli aggression is undeterred. In the bleakest circumstances, Hafez al-Assad used all Syrian capabilities to serve the central pan-Arab cause, and opened up early on to the revolution in Iran and embraced the resistance forces in Lebanon and Palestine.


Even when he negotiated, he managed the negotiations with stringency and intelligence, without offering any concessions. Hafez al-Assad lived and died while being treated unfairly by many who waged campaigns against him, subjected him to fabrications and questioned his pan-Arab intentions. However, he was able to see first-hand the materialization of one of his historical accomplishments, with Lebanese resistance fighters raising the victory sign in the South following the retreat of the Zionist invaders and the collaborating militias. This is the scene he had hoped to live to see.


If there is one thing to be said on the anniversary of the October War, it should do justice to Syria, its people and army who are nowadays being subjected to the most devious and decadent conspiracy, aiming at destroying Syria’s strength, and the long series of major national battles which were always governed by the Palestinian priority and Arab identity of the Syrian people.


One should also salute the martyrs of this war and their families, at a time when the Syrian army and people are offering their best sons to defend Syria against the colonial NATO-led aggression via gangs of terrorism.




Erdogan fails to implicate NATO


Developments on the Turkish-Syrian border are the main object of interest of international and regional circles. Erdogan’s government first threatened war but recanted the threats later and alleviated its tone, while continuously confirming it did not want war with Syria.   


Firstly, the Turkish escalation – that was extremely confused in determining the source of the shell which was said to have exploded inside the Turkish territories – surfaced right after the emergence of signs pointing to the bankruptcy of the armed gangs in Aleppo. About two weeks ago, Turkish leaders thought these gangs will be able to address a lethal blow to the Syrian state, but the Syrian Arab Army was able to contain their terrorist activities and regain control over the situation on all fronts inside Syria.


As to the suicide operations in the city of Aleppo, they constituted a desperate blow staged by a failed plan, and were not part of a military move on the field. Indeed, according to information, the armed terrorist gangs are witnessing increasing divisions and defections, while the armed Syrian elements are fleeing to their towns and villages and even addressing families to arrange their surrender and disarmament to benefit from the pardon opportunity. As for foreign fighters, many of whom were killed, their remnants are spreading throughout Syria to prepare a long-term war of terror against the state, people and army.   


Secondly, the Turkish threats aimed at lifting the collapsed morale of the terrorist gangs but failed as the Syrian people rallied around their national state. The popular factions influenced by opposition propaganda a year and a half ago are now turning towards the state and rallying around the army and leadership of President Bashar al-Assad. Even the so-called revolution coordination committees which led the rebellion have started to rebel in most regions and call for disarmament to respond to the dialogue calls as the only way to solve the crisis. Some of them are in direct negotiations with security sides to arrange the status of the armed men and ensure the surrendering of their weapons to the official state apparatuses.


Because this Syrian transformation is real, Erdogan could not end it with an aggression that led to completely opposite results. Indeed, the Turkish attack fueled Syrian patriotism in the face of a hostile foreign harassment.


Thirdly, Erdogan’s attempt to lure NATO into war on Syria through direct military invasion failed. And just as happened following the downing of a Turkish plane, a statement issued by NATO called for calm and wise handling of the border skirmishes, and did not humor the Turkish threat to wage war. In the meantime, the strongest blow to Erdogan’s illusions came from the Security Council which was forced to issue a statement condemning the terrorist attacks in Aleppo and naming Al-Qaeda network by name, which supported the Syrian viewpoint and weakened the momentum of the hostile campaigns against Syria.


Erdogan perceives European dispatch of diplomatic missions to Syria with great suspicion as he knows the West is suffering defeat and seeking safety rafts, without being concerned about those whom it implicated in costly choices and positions. Erdogan is detecting that reality in the ongoing Turkish debate surrounding the cost of Syria on economic, political and security levels.  


Syria is ready to deter any attack and its allies are not idle, especially following the regional transformation which resulted from the Iraqi-Iranian pacts. As for the allies of the government of Ottoman illusion inside NATO, they wish to distance themselves from any new venture which might have dire consequences, while its Qatari and Saudi allies have no armies and only enjoy some funds allocated to destroy Syrian strength. For their part, the Muslim Brotherhood organizations that are in power in Gaza, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are useless. They are cheering Erdogan and encouraging him to become involved at a time when they are afraid of the results and repercussions on their domestic arenas in case they were to engage in the alliance of aggression against Syria. This situation might continue for a long time on the Syrian-Turkish border, but what is certain is that the adventure will be extremely costly for Erdogan. His American and NATO masters on the other hand are seeking an exit strategy from the impossible Syrian predicament.        


The author is a journalist

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