EXCERPTS: ... travels along the city’s battlefronts in recent days made clear that new lines, psychological as much as geographical, had been crossed.
Near the Qadam railway station last week, many of the government soldiers, their hair and beards untrimmed, wore disheveled or dirty uniforms and smelled as if they had not had showers in a long time. Some soldiers and security officers even appeared drunk, walking unsteadily with their weapons askew — a shocki ng sight in Syria, where regimented security forces and smartly uniformed officers have long been presented as a symbol of national pride.
From the Washington Post:
Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese proxy, are building a network of militias inside Syria to preserve and protect their interests in the event that President Bashar al-Assad’s government falls or is forced to retreat from Damascus, according to U.S. and Middle Eastern officials.
QUESTION: But can the plan succeed?
A planned 50,000 member militia now aiding Assad would stick around to protect Iranian-Hezbollah interests after his fall, enjoying a setup similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon Given the widespread resentment of Iran's deep support for Assad and likely supply problems, that could be tough to pull off.
This proposal would seem to constitute "an act of war" against Syria by both Hezbollah and Iran whose mullah-ruled theocracy is always the first one to scream about "internal interference in other countries, while attempting to destabilize neighbors.
I doubt any new Syrian government would tolerate it. Neither, I suspect, will Syrian jihadis. They are likely to retaliate by targeting the pro-Iranian militia in Syria and by retaliating by introducing their own well-armed militia in Lebanon. Who knows what they might do in Iran?