The Damascus Option as I like to title it involves the final use of the strategic weapons cache by the Syrian regime against the nation of Israel. Should the Syrian military begin deploying more weapons, especially mobile artillery, tanks, and rocket launchers closer to the Golan Heights while a battle for Damascus was in doubt, that would certainly be viewed as a dangerous and provocative sign by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF might well be goaded into a pre-emptive strike against the Syrian regime at that point in time but a failure to do so could provide the path to martyrdom that the Alawites and Twelvers revel in. The Syrian regime could launch an attack on multiple Israeli targets using their chemical inventory, possibly killing thousands in large communities like Hebron and Tel Aviv.
Such an act would certainly invite a massive, perhaps nuclear response against Damascus and targets throughout the country. The Syrian military would become an empty shell as the leaders of the elite units like Maher Assad (Bashar’s brother) would certainly join their relatives and political allies of the Alawite persuasion to abandon Syria for a friendlier location such as Tehran as the rebellion “succeeded” in its final days. The destruction of Damascus will be played in the West as a tremendous defeat for the Syrian dictatorship but in reality it might be viewed as the ultimate act of martyrdom for the cause of Islam. The majority of civilians killed in an Israeli WMD strike on Syria would be Sunni, thus aiding those of the Twelver ideology in their quest to purify the Islamic religion of false believers. Israel will be resoundingly despised by hundreds of millions of Muslims and the “brave” warriors of Syria who took a stand against them perceived as martyrs by the Arab street.
While I am in no manner advocating for the retention of the Assad regime, the danger of involving the United States in another foreign entanglement which can only result in a negative outcome regardless of the final result is disconcerting. The problem with a successful attack on Israel and perceived U.S. involvement with the retaliatory strike against Syria will turn the entire Islamic world against the U.S. and its interests. Saudi Arabia would be viewed by the Arab street as a weak kingdom controlled by a corrupt group of old men not wishing to engage in confrontation against Islam’s enemies. The Muslim Brotherhood would no longer have their current preeminent status as the revolutionary leaders and the shame heaped upon them by the average Muslim in the face of Shi’ite glory might well destabilize the region further. Iran would clearly become the winner of such a conflict provided of course Israel backs off eradication of their military capabilities after a Syrian conflict.