Expat Yank notices that a news item mentions a Syrian T-55 tank near the Lebanese border and writes
I’m no expert, but I have to believe that if THIS T-55 is one of Syria’s mainstay battle tanks — a tank first produced by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and 1960s, and was obsolescent by 1991, when Saddam fielded them in the FIRST Gulf War — Syria is in even worse shape than we had imagined. About what it’s best for by now is indeed intimidating crowds of unarmed democracy-demanding Lebanese young women and men.
Indeed. According to Global Security, Syria has about 4,700 tanks. 2,000 of them are T-55s, 1,000 of them are the newer but still obsolete T-62s, and about 1,700 much more capable T-72s.
Not that the T-72 is a match for the current American (or British or Israeli) main battle tanks.
But the sheer numbers would require a campaign into Syria to include more armor and be more methodical than the race to Baghdad was in the spring of 2003. Though badly outdated, the Syrian military is probably in far better shape than Saddam’s was when we toppled him. And if they haven’t been upping their training time in the past two years, they’ve not been paying attention.
Military action against Syria would afford us the opportunity to invade from Iraq in the east and from the Mediterranean in the west. Sort of like invading Iraq from Kuwait AND Turkey, except that we decide if we get permission.
Funny how we just happen to have acquired a base in the Middle East from which we can launch (or threaten to launch) military action against pretty much any belligerents left standing. It’s almost like there’s a plan or something…