## Tuesday, August 27, 2013 ... /////

### Getting ready for a war against Syria

...robust Czechoslovak weapons unlikely to resist for too long...

The civil war in Syria sucks, like most civil wars. The rebels aren't saints (and Russia accused them of using sarin gas a month ago) but it's the Syrian government that may be expected to behave more responsibly. Given the strong indications that chemical weapons have been used, it's not surprising that the U.S. forces and allies are thinking about an attack that may begin as early as on Thursday.

Photo from syrianhistory.com

Such a reaction of the West is understandable but needless to say, the West may be playing with fire. And with Czechoslovak weapons, too.

An attack against the regime of Assad Jr is likely to be actively led by the U.S., somewhat emotionally supported by France, the next most hawkish Western nation, perhaps by the U.K., and more passively approved by pretty much every Western country (our new president Zeman, an outspoken critic of the Muslim world, immediately reported he wants to send troops to the Golan Heights i.e. to Israel's border region near Syria, in order to secure the superpower status of the Czech Republic and to speed up the incorporation of Assyria into Naphtali's Realm). In contrast with the peace rallies before the second war in Iraq, a decade ago, the peace activists don't seem too excited about protests because a war is raging in Syria, anyway.

The middle tenor, Erdogano (it's the guy who actually sings for everyone), won't support his two tenor comrades on the sides this time. Well, the left chap has been replaced by Rouhani. Music: Funiculi Funicula [CZ] (which surprisingly means "Funicular cable car in Naples is going up, funicular cable car in Naples is going down" – English is less efficient than Neapolitan [and Italian]).

Russia and China oppose the attack but these countries are hopefully not terribly involved in the situation because things could get really messy at the global level. (Saudis are offering oil incentives to Russia if it abandons Syria.) Meanwhile, most countries in the region, including Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are likely to happily support the attack on Syria (Israel needs to pretend lots of reticence that is probably fake). Libya is slightly against the attack but it won't actively defend Syria.

The most important regional supporter of Assad is obviously Iran and every responsible planner must be ready for the option that the expected American war on Syria will quickly grow into a war against Iran.

This is a Czech blog so I can't resist to semi-proudly ;-) mention a specific dirty role that my homeland – well, mainly its historical predecessor – would be playing in the war.

It just happens that no one else than Syria under Hafez al-Assad (the current leader's dad who was at the top between 1963 and 2000) was Czechoslovakia's most important non-European business partner during much of the 1970s and 1980s. Assad was a clear left-winger of his own sort and Czechoslovakia was his nation's favorite exporter.

The 1975 picture at the top shows the last communist Czechoslovak president, Gustáv Husák (left), teaching al-Assad how to blow the traditional Bohemian glass, at least a simplified version of it. Al-Assad must have been a good student. He also visited Prague in 1985. The reverse visit by Husák to Damascus occurred in 1979.

You may ask what was the most important category of industrial products that Czechoslovakia was sending to Syria. Well, yes, you shouldn't be surprised. Czechoslovakia has always been a great power in weaponry – and yes, my hometown used to play a very important role in that sector as well, but especially 100 years ago – and the answer is therefore weapons. To mention particular products, Syria has bought numerous T-55 tanks (shown on the picture above, during the martial law in Poland; also produced in USSR and Poland) and Aero L-29 Dolphin/Maya jet training aircraft (below; purely Czechoslovak).