Caroline Glick

The threats emanating from Syria have become downright frightening. For the past several days, Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan has been warning repeatedly that it is certain that Israeli population centers will be hit by Syrian ballistic missiles and that we have to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios, including Scud missile-launched chemical weapons attacks on Israel's metropolitan centers.

On Wednesday, Air Force commander Major General Amir Eshel spelled out Israel's concerns from a military perspective. The chance of war breaking out at any time is extremely high. Syria has a massive arsenal that includes advanced anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles and surface- to-surface missiles. Syria also has large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, advanced artillery as well as the other components of a large conventional military force.

Eshel warned, "Syria is collapsing before our eyes. If it collapses tomorrow we could find its vast arsenal dispersed and pointing at us."

In that event, Eshel said the air force will have to operate at 100 percent of its capacity to clear a path for ground forces to operate in Syria and secure the armaments to prevent them from being dispersed, or used against Israel.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned that Israel could easily find itself fighting a three-front war in the near future. Presumably we would be fighting Syria, Lebanon and Iran - whose nuclear program continues to move to completion undaunted by empty U.S. and European threats.

Syria is a mess because there are no good guys in a position to win. Syrian President Bashar Assad is one of the most dangerous leaders in the world. He is a major supporter of terrorist groups. He enabled al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to use Syria as a logistical base in their war against U.S. forces in Iraq. He is a vassal of Iran. He is allied with Hezbollah. He is a mass murderer.

Since the civil war began two years ago, Assad's complete dependence on Iran and Hezbollah - as well as on Russia - has been exposed for all to see. There is little doubt that whatever checks the U.S. was able to exert against him before the civil war began no longer exist. And if he survives in power, he will be completely indifferent to U.S. pressure and so will behave far more violently than he did before the war began.

And yet for all Assad's horrific behavior and the reasonable presumption that his actions will only become more violent and dangerous with each additional day he remains in power, the most telling aspect of the Syrian civil war is that Israel, the U.S. and Europe are incapable of deciding whether he is better or worse than the alternatives.


Caroline Glick

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.

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