“The weapons given to Hezbollah will change the balance of power,” he said.
“We have in recent days done extensive operations for reconnaissance on Israel’s central and sensitive military and infrastructural installations in different areas and also on Israel’s commando posts and peacekeeping forces in the Golan Heights,” he said, “to prepare for the coming battle with the occupying regime.”
The commander revealed some of the weapons given by Syria to Hezbollah, including Pantsir (SA-22 Greyhound) surface-to-air missiles, SAM 5 surface-to-air missiles and the Russian anti-tank Kornet missiles. However, the commander also hinted that soon Hezbollah will receive the advanced and dreaded ship-killer Yakhont missiles from Assad.
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The question is – what will happen next time? Assad has apparently not given up on his plan to supply Hezbollah with “deterrence diminishing” weapons as a reward for the Shiite group’s assistance in his regime’s battle for survival. Assad also wants Hezbollah to safeguard his strategic weapons systems so they will not fall into rebel hands.
This is why the West estimates Israel will apparently be forced to attack – perhaps in the near future – additional arms shipments making their way from Iran to Hezbollah via Syria. It is also estimated that Assad would have to respond, despite the fact that he has almost no effective retaliation options. The Syrian army, in its current state, cannot attack us on the ground, and if it fires missiles toward Israel’s home front, Israel will destroy most of the Assad regime’s military assets, and other assets, which are crucial for its continued survival.
Those are the facts. Now for the questions. Immediately after Netanyahu’s visit, the Russians announced publicly that they finally intend to supply Assad with those S-300 missiles. Will Israel attack and destroy the missiles while they are being transferred, or will it wait until they have arrived but before they become operational? If so, what will be Assad’s response? How will Hezbollah respond? What will Iran do? And then there is the most interesting question of all. Such an attack would not only be considered a declaration of war against Syria and its allies, but also an assault on Russia.
In other words, is the Middle East teetering on the verge of a massive conflagration, which will draw Iran into the fighting, and will this situation be exploited by Israel, the US or both of them together to deal the long-awaited military blow against Iran’s nuclear program? One thing is certain. Anyone who wants to stay alive in this region and its immediate environs should hope that it does not.
The situation is more dangerous than ever, mainly because everyone involved — and there are plenty of people involved — is caught up in a kind of “Catch-22” situation. …
And so, everyone is applying pressure on everyone else in their most sensitive areas. Everything is about to blow up, diagonal red lines slash across the contested land from one end to the other, and the stench of gunpowder makes it difficult to breathe. This is a portrait of the Middle East today, in mid-2013. …
Maj.-Gen (ret.) Amos Yadlin, a one-time fighter pilot, ex-head of IDF Military Intelligence and former Israeli military attaché to the US who now heads a prestigious Tel Aviv think tank, warned that Syria’s embattled president might well retaliate were Israel to again strike at weapons convoys in Syria, as it has done twice this month already.
Remember the Cold War?And the crises focused on Berlin and missiles in Cuba?Could we be on the cusp of a comparable crisis focused on Syria?Among the unanswered questions is the relative weight of Israel in the thinking and threatening being done by the US and Russia.This, too, is not new. Israel figured in American and Russian thinking about the other great power in 1956 and 1973.Both Israel and the US have urged Russia not to supply advanced weapons to Syria.
U.S. officials tell The Wall Street Journal: Another round of Israeli airstrikes could target a new Russian transfer of Yakhont advanced anti-ship missiles in the near future • Russia moving more quickly than previously thought to deliver S-300 surface-to-air defense systems to Syria • CIA Director John Brennan in Israel to coordinate policy.
Russia has sent a dozen or more warships to patrol waters near its naval base in Syria, a buildup that U.S. and European officials see as a newly aggressive stance meant partly to warn the West and Israel not to intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war.
Russia’s expanded presence in the eastern Mediterranean, which began attracting U.S. officials’ notice three months ago, represents one of its largest sustained naval deployments since the Cold War. While Western officials say they don’t fear an impending conflict with Russia’s aged fleet, the presence adds a new source of potential danger for miscalculation in an increasingly combustible region.
“It is a show of force. It’s muscle flexing,” a senior U.S. defense official said of the Russian deployments. “It is about demonstrating their commitment to their interests.”
PM says sophisticated S-300 system has no relevance for Syrian regime’s civil-war battles, but that its delivery by Moscow could prompt an Israeli response, Channel 2 reports
He said that if acquired by Assad, the S-300 — a state-of-the-art system that can intercept fighter jets and cruise missiles — “is likely to draw us into a response, and could send the region deteriorating into war,” the Channel 2 report said.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah is established training camps near the Syrian capital of Damascus to prepare for possible guerrilla warfare targeting Israel’s northern Golan Heights, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
The officials said the camps are training Palestinian groups as well as special units connected to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath party for operations against Israel if such actions are green-lighted by Assad in the near future.
A senior Israeli official signaled on Wednesday that Israel was considering further military strikes on Syria to stop the transfer of advanced weapons to Islamic militants, and he warned the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, that his government would face crippling consequences if it retaliated against Israel.
“If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies,” the official said, “he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate.”
If the Arab Spring was more or less the start of a forest fire, then its spreading to Israel will be a game-changer. Now it will involve two different civilizations each backed by one or more major powers. This is how great-power wars are started.
I suspect that the next Israeli attack will bring on a major response from Syria and its allies.