A leading Israeli expert on the Middle East suggested last week that with all the foreign involvement in the ongoing Syrian civil war, that conflict could be the harbinger of a much wider conflagration.
Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, told those attending a symposium at Tel Aviv University that in the eyes of the Arab world, the final outcome of the Arab Spring hinges on the results of the struggle in Syria.
According to Prof. Rabinovich, the Syrian conflict is a Middle Eastern version of the Spanish Civil War, which was itself a dress rehearsal for World War II.
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According to the Jerusalem Post, the compound is manned by Republican Guards, Special Forces and Airforce Intelligence, and serves as a private airport for the Assad family.
Since the uprising, it has been used as an artillery and rocket base to target Sunni Muslim neighborhoods on the edge of the capital.
The IDF offered no comment on the reports that it was responsible for the strikes.
I’m not buying that Israel did it. I think the rebels did it and just want to suck in Israel.
In this crowded hillside village that straddles Israel’s border with Syria, everyone seems certain that war is on the way. The village, which faces Syria to the northeast and Israel to the southwest, has watched with nervous anticipation as Israel’s military has heightened preparations along the border and Syrian tanks can be seen manoeuvring in the distance. Residents have cleaned out bomb shelters and hospitals have run emergency drills.
“You don’t witness as many wars as we do without getting a sense when one is about to land on your doorstep,” said Maryam al-Din, a 78-year-old resident of Majdal Shams. “Ask anyone in the village, anyone in the villages around, and they will tell you that if you put your ear to the ground, you will clearly hear that war is coming to this place.”
Anwar Sadat was precise in predicting what would force Egypt to go to war again. Way back in 1979, while signing the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the former Egyptian president said, “The only matter that would take Egypt to war again is water.” And water indeed will be for which Egypt will fight its next war. At least three nations in Nile Basin, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, are at loggerheads. The bone of contention among them is water of the Nile. Prospect of a war in the region is increasingly becoming threatening vindicating Mark Twain’s prophecy: “… is for drinking; water is for fighting over.”
President Barack Obama has authorized sending weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time, US officials said, after the White House disclosed that the United States has conclusive evidence President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against opposition forces trying to overthrow him.
Obama has repeatedly said the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” suggesting it would trigger greater US intervention in the two-year crisis that has killed 93,000 people.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to warn that should Russia deliver the system to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the S-300 ”is likely to draw us into a response and could send the region deteriorating into war”.
Israel’s Defence Minister, Moshe Yaalon, and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz have said Israel would not hesitate to destroy the S-300 system rather than see it in Syrian hands.
Most sources on the system say it is designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles within 150 kilometres. But Israeli defence officials insist the actual range is 200 kilometres. Given Israel’s small airspace, the longer range would place most aircraft within range.
There are “clear signs” that terrorist networks first established by Iran in several South American countries in the 1980s and 1990s are still in place, and there are indications that Iran has similar networks in Europe, the Argentinian prosecutor who investigated the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires told The Times of Israel.
In a telephone interview a week after he issued a 500-page report on the bombing and Iran’s wider terrorist infiltration of South America, Alberto Nisman said that Tehran had established its terror networks for the strategic long term, ready to be used “whenever it needs them.”
Lebanese army officials issued a stark warning to the Syrian government Wednesday, stating that any further attack by Syrian forces on sites across the border will be immediately met with a forceful response. The comments came after a Syrian government helicopter fired three missiles on the northern Lebanese border town of Arsal earlier Wednesday.
“Army units deployed in the [Arsal] area took the necessary defensive measures to respond immediately to any similar violations,” read the Lebanese army’s official statement.
It looks like Lebanon has some stability issues. Shiite Muslims (Hezbollah) are helping Syria, and Sunni Muslims are helping the rebels.
An Egyptian official spoke about war with the United States and Israel during a cabinet meeting officiated by President Mohammed Morsi.
Morsi gathered his ministers to discuss a response to Ethiopia’s plan to build a dam on the Nile River.
According to media reports, ministers were unaware the discussion was being aired live on Egyptian television. Later, the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) provided a video of the meeting with English subtitles.
Increased intervention by Iran and Hezbollah threatens to plunge Arab world into sectarian strife
The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi writes that the French government is also holding serious deliberations about funding the Free Syrian Army out of fear that the Syrian civil war “may have reached a tipping point.” In recent weeks, Assad’s military has received reinforcements of over 5,000 troops from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, and unknown numbers of soldiers from the elite Iranian Al-Quds force. These additional forces, combined with expected missile shipments from Russia, could put the Assad government on firm footing in its quest for survival.