Monday, May 06, 2013
Israel's Goal in Syria Hit
Preparing for next war -Edmund Sanders & Patrick McDonnell
Israel has inserted itself forcefully into the Arab Spring's most intractable conflict...
The bombings of targets near the Syrian capital — including two strikes in a 48-hour period beginning Friday — represent a risk-laden strategy based on the calculation that retaliatory attacks against Israel by Syria or its allies are unlikely.
But even as some Israeli officials confirmed their military's involvement in Sunday's pre-dawn assault on a reported weapons compound, they insisted their goals in Syria are narrow, and portrayed the engagement as defensive and largely unrelated to the two-year uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Rather than trying to weaken Assad or tilt the scales for either side, Israelis say they have an eye on the prospective next war — against the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is backed by both Iran and Syria.
The aim of the airstrikes, Israeli officials say, is to prevent Syria's advanced weaponry, much of it made in Iran, from being transferred to Lebanon and Hezbollah.
"If we don't take action now, we will be on the receiving end of those missiles," said a senior Israeli government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Israel has not officially confirmed unleashing the attacks.
[Jewish World Review]
A Message for Iran -Blake Hounshell
Taking out Iran's fortified and far-flung nuclear facilities would be vastly more challenging than hitting a few warehouses in nearby Damascus.
But the intended lesson here for Tehran (and Washington) is clear: Israel will defend itself when threatened, and we mean what we say.
Israel Targeted Iranian Missiles
-Anne Barnard, Michael R. Gordon & Jodi Rudoren
The airstrike that Israel carried out in Syria was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hizbullah, American officials said.
Iran and Hizbullah have a powerful interest in expediting the delivery of advanced weapons to Hizbullah. The Iranian missiles were being stored in a warehouse at Damascus International Airport when they were struck, according to an American official. Israel has repeatedly cautioned that it will not allow Hizbullah to receive "game changing" weapons that could threaten the Israeli heartland. "The Israelis are saying, 'O.K., whichever way the civil war is going, we are going to keep our red lines, which are different from Obama's,'" said Ehud Yaari, a fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
An American official said the targeted shipment consisted of Iranian-made Fateh-110s - a mobile, accurate, solid-fueled missile that has the range to strike Tel Aviv. Two prominent Israeli defense analysts said the shipment included Scud Ds with a range long enough to reach Eilat. An American official said the warehouse struck was believed to be under the control of Hizbullah and Iran's Quds Force.
President Obama said, "The Israelis, justifiably, have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hizbullah."
(New York Times)
Israeli Airstrikes Expose Flaws in Syrian Air Defenses, Embolden U.S.
"The Russian-supplied air defense systems are not as good as said," Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) told NBC's "Meet the Press." Leahy said the Israel Defense Forces was using American-made F-16 jets to launch the missiles against Syrian targets. "Keep in mind the Israelis are using weapons supplied by us," Leahy said. "They have enormous prowess with those weapons."
(Los Angeles Times)
Messages from the Israeli Air Strikes in Syria -Tariq Alhomayed
Israel is unconcerned by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's threats.
The Syrian regime is like a dead body waiting to be buried - this is what the Israeli air strikes demonstrated.
Israel Enforcing Red Lines on Syria -Yaakov Lappin
The two aerial strikes on Damascus reportedly carried out by the Israel Air Force are likely the result of intelligence indicating an imminent attempt to transfer strategic weapons from Syria to Hizbullah.
With Hizbullah deploying up to half of its fighting force to Syria to help Assad, it will be seeking reward for its actions. Hizbullah and its patron Iran may have asked Assad to make the advanced weapons available.
Israel is prepared to enforce its red lines on weapons proliferation with Hizbullah and take a calculated risk now, to avoid facing a significantly worse strategic situation later.
Message to Iran -Ron Ben-Yishai
According to foreign sources, the Assad regime already succeeded to transfer a small number of Scud D missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon two-and-a-half years ago. Israel was aware but refrained from acting due to Washington's objection. The Americans feared an Israeli attack would undermine stability in the Middle East, and the Israeli jets, which were already in the air, returned to base.
It is safe to assume that since then the Obama administration has changed its position on the issue.
Washington is making sure to leak to all American media outlets that Israel attacked and what the target was, after Assad's regime tried to "save face" and conceal the blow it had received. The Obama administration, in accordance with its new agreements with Israel, is trying to show Syria and its supporters - Iran, Russia and China - that the U.S. stands by Israel when it protects itself.