Many people in South Africa were shocked by the death of at least 13 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops when rebels overran their base in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Amongst the public and within the media questions soon started arising around the possible reasons why troops were in CAR to begin with. When it emerged that troops were possibly partly deployed to protect businesses in CAR linked to top African National Congress (ANC) officials, there was widespread outrage. The fact that South African troops were involved in protecting the political and economic interests of wealthy people linked to the South African state in CAR, and other African countries, should perhaps, however, not come as a surprise. Throughout its history, whether during apartheid or post apartheid, the South African state – which is controlled by the ruling class and headed up by members of this class – has been most willing to deploy troops in parts of Africa to protect the political, economic and strategic interests of the South African ruling class.
Israeli air force chief warned that a “surprise war” would break out in Syria as tensions are escalating there, saying that the Zionist entity should be prepared for painful and protracted war with Hezbollah and Iran.
“A surprise war could take shape today in many configurations,” Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said at a strategy conference in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv.
Eshel also said Israelis should brace for a protracted and painful conflict should their forces engage in combat with Hezbollah or Iran.
“If Syria collapses tomorrow, we will need to take action to prevent a strategic looting of advanced weaponry,” he told the Fisher Institute for Air & Space Studies.
“We have to be ready for any scenario, at a few hours’ notice,” Eshel said.
He assumed fighting could escalate on to three fronts at once and require the Israeli air force to employ “the full spectrum of its might”.
He noted that Russian S-300 air defense systems were “on their way” to Syria, though Israel asked Russia not to supply the advanced air defense system to Syria.
Tel Aviv has been warily watching the current crisis taking place in Syria since March 2011. It has already carried out three air strikes on Syria.
On May 5, Syria said the Israeli regime had carried out an airstrike targeting aresearch center in a suburb of Damascus, following heavy losses inflicted upon al-Qaeda-affiliated groups by the Syrian army. According to Syrian media reports, the strike hit the Jamraya Research Center. The Jamraya facility had been targeted in another Israeli airstrike in January.
The May 5 Israeli aggression was Tel Aviv’s second strike on Syria in three days.
German foreign intelligence agency said that the Syrian Army is capable of conducting successful operations against foreign-backed militants “at will”.
German news website Spiegel Online reported on Wednesday that the head of Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Gerhard Schindler, told security officials that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is now more stable than it has been in a long time.
Last summer BND predicted that the Syrian government would collapse by early 2013.
Schindler said the Syrian army could regain control of the entire south of the country by the end of 2013 if the conflict continues as it has over the past weeks.
According to the report, the German agency currently believes that the foreign-sponsored militant groups in Syria, which include several al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, are facing extreme difficulties in the battle.
Schindler also told German security officials that different armed groups in Syria were fighting with each other to gain supremacy in certain regions.
There is no functional chain of command between the leaders of the foreign-backed Syrian opposition and its armed elements inside the country, the BND head stated, adding that each new battle weakens the militants further.
According to the BND chief, the Syrian army has managed to cut supply lines for weapons and evacuation routes for wounded militants to neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations said that the Syrian government forces may remain in power for years to come.
“The regime is still in place, strong and not going anywhere,” Julien Barnes-Dacey said in an interview, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.