The gambit

The gambit

A Story by Haim Kadman

An imaginative story


Two small groups of men were gathered in a cellar under the Presidential Palace on Mount Mezzeh North of the Mezzeh district in Damascus.

There were a half  dozen plain clothes men, three Russian officers, the Embassy third secretary (an SVR senior agent in fact), and an interpreter led by a Major General known just by his alias as Anton, or Al Antawi to the locals; the head of the military delegation to Syria, which was usually based at Tartos and its harbor; but due to the intensification of the battle on Dmascus this small group of military advisors had to find refuge in the shelter of the Russian Embassy in Tishrine st. not far from the Presidential Palace. Thus riding in two armored vehicles at the early morning hours to the Palace was not a too risky task.

The second group consisted of the President's most loyal senior officers led by his brother General Maher Al Assad, just a handful of them.

The daily urgent briefing did not start before the SVR agent checked with the Embassy through his laptop the security classification of each of the Syrian senior officers, excluding the President brother of course. This security process did insult at its beginning the Syrian senior officers, but with the situation's worsening and the many defections among their ranks, caused this loyal group to realize the importance of this unpleasant process.

At the end of this formal process major general Vassily Antonovich Andreieve stepped forward and stood before the huge map of Southern Syria stuck on the cellar's wall in front of the small crowd of VIPs that faced him, and the interpreter followed him and stood by his side before the huge map.

The general a tall heavy set man with a bald crown used to treat the locals with haughtiness two years ago, before the beginning of the civil demonstrations against the President and the situation's deterioration. His contacts' with the locals were with the President's entourage alone. He used to fly back to his family in Moscow twice a year, and enjoyed visiting the country side, and Syria's many archeological sites. But the situation has changed drastically, and he hasn't seen his dear ones an entire year already, he missed them terribly and his own safety worried him, but he has to obey orders, and he has a critical task to achieve against all odds. If worst comes to worst he knew that he would be evacuated with his small staff and the rest of the Embassy's members, by the Red Cross and an implemented cease fire by the UN, as confirmed by the Russian foreign office. He knew very well how precarious the current situation was, but there was no other choice but hold on… To the bitter end or up to some unexpected  miracle, that would be invented by the mutual efforts of the Russian Foreign Office, the SVR and the Russian delegation to the UN. These were the thoughts that flashed in his mind, a second before he started the briefing.

He took a deep breath of air to his lungs and holding a billiard cue that was confiscated from the next cellar that served to entertain the President's family; he watched every face in the small crowd that expected to hear his briefing, and started to talk without any ceremonial preliminaries, there was no time to waste.

'The retreat of the third and forth divisions from the Israeli border to the southern outskirts of the Capital was an unavoidable move.' He made a short pause after every sentence to let the interpreter a Kazakh interpret his words into Arabic. 'This move isn't risky and doesn't endanger the Southern border, neither Israel nor Jordan have any plans to attack, or take advantage in some way of our critical situation.' He turned round and pointed the Israeli border with the billiard cue.

'The rumors of a combined Israeli-Jordanian force led by American command, is just talk, psychological warfare nothing more. Now then,' he said facing his little audience again. 'There's about a thirty five kilometers wide void between the southern defense line of the third of fourth divisions and the Israeli border. Why I don't mention the Jordanians I'll explain later.' He declared and made another short pause.  

'Some few hundred terrorists sneaked into the very southern part of this void, it shouldn't alarm us on the contrary! We've to widen that void from the Lebanese border up east to the mutual border between Jordan and Iraq.'

While the interpreter was interpreting his last sentence, the General watched the locals' awestruck faces with certain amusement, which did not change his stern features of course.

'There's a surge of thousands of Sunni terrorists from Iraq towards the Capital, they'll be repulsed and pushed towards the southern void…'

'But how,' some of the locals dared to wonder aloud?

'By a small amount of chemical weapons if needed, we'll accuse the Al Qaeda adherents among them in having laid their hands on a chemical weapons dump. We'll spread this item through the UN and all over the international media.' A short silence ensued but not a word was uttered by the loacal. His little audience after all consisted of wise men, the General thought very encouraged.

'Now then our Foreign Office and our diplomatic corpus all over Europe will spread the intelligence false reports on Al Qaeda factions that have infested the border with Israel equipped with chemical weapons and short range missiles. We'll of course warn the West from a regional war…'

'The Israelis shall have to intervene…' The president's brother remarked.

'Of course,' the General answered, 'and they'll serve our goal! Any questions gentlemen?' The General asked.

As no one among the locals had anything to say, the groups boarded the lift and ascended to the Palace reception hall. The General with the SVR agent and the President brother went to meet the President.


 Haim Kadman March the 9th 2013 " all rights reserved.

© 2013 Haim Kadman

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Added on March 9, 2013
Last Updated on March 9, 2013
Tags: gambit, briefing, palace, presidne, combat, fighting, war


Haim Kadman
Haim Kadman

Petach-Tikva, Israel

Profile: A few words about myself: being a native of a small country whose waist is seventeen kilometers wide in a certain area; and in seven to eight hours drive one can cross its length, I was amaze.. more..

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