web analytics
November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Air Strike in Syria: The Opening Move?

Whatever happens next, last Wednesday's air strikes sends an unmistakable message: That strategic weapons proliferation will not be tolerated, whatever the price.
040820f6911g001

If, as international media reports say, Israel was indeed behind last week’s air strikes in Syria, it can be assumed that the attack was the opening move in a longer-term strategy to contain quickly-developing threats emerging from Syria, as well as the broader Iran-Hezbollah axis.

The ball is now in the court of Syrian president Bashar Assad and his allies in Beirut and Tehran. If they attempt further weapons transfers to Hezbollah, more air strikes can be expected – a development that will result in a wider conflict.

Iran is also releasing threats of serious retaliation against Israel, a threat which, if realized, could easily lead to a regional escalation. Days before the airstrikes, Iran warned that it would view any attack on Syria as an attack on itself.

For months, Israel has said that it would not allow strategic, advanced Syrian weapons – be they game-changing missiles or chemical weapons – to fall into the hands of Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda-affiliated elements.

Israel has remained mum over the strike, and little reliable information has surfaced over what targets were struck, but reports citing Western intelligence officials said a convoy carrying advanced SA-17 Syrian anti-aircraft missiles were the target.

The SA-17 system in Hezbollah’s possession would limit the IAF’s ability to carry out vital sorties over Lebanon, whether for reconnaissance, or to attack Hezbollah targets in a future conflict.

Within days of the air strikes, Syrian state media said the target was a military research center near Damascus that carried out work aimed at “raising the level of resistance and self-defense.”

It is entirely possible that both a “research center” and an arms convoy were struck.

Syria’s vague description of the center fits well with a weapons proliferation organization known as the Scientific Studies and Research Center (better known by its French acronym, CERS).

CERS is a Syrian state organization responsible for developing biological and chemical weapons, missiles, and transferring weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas.

In the past, Israel’s former head of the National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel called on the international community to warn Syria that CERS “will be demolished” if it continues arming terrorist organizations.

According to open source intelligence reports, CERS developed ricin-based chemical weapons. The center was designated as an illegal weapons proliferator by former President George Bush and the U.S. Treasury.

On Saturday, Syrian state TV released footage showing wreckage from the air strikes.

The images appear to have inadvertently verified reports of an arms convoy being the target, as they showed large military trucks that were destroyed in the attack – vehicles that resemble trucks designed to transport anti-aircraft systems.

Since the attack, Iran has led the way in issuing threats to respond. Senior Iranian defense and regime officials have said that the attack will “have consequences for Tel Aviv,” and that a Syrian counterattack will “send Israel into a coma.”

Assad limited himself to condemning Israel as a destabilizer of Syria, and a vague statement saying that Damascus can “confront current threats and aggression against it.”

All parties concerned are aware of the fact that the Assad regime is fighting for its life, and will seek to avoid opening a second front against Israel. Any direct attack on Israel by Syria endangers Assad’s immediate survivability.

On the other hand, Iran’s threats cannot be ignored, and the possibility of retribution was factored in before taking the decision to launch the air strikes.

Iran and Hezbollah could activate terrorist cells abroad to attack overseas Israeli interests. Alternatively, terrorists acting on their behalf could fire missiles at Israel from Syrian or Lebanese territory.

It would be safe to assume that the IDF is on its highest alert for such developments.

Despite the escalated tensions, Jerusalem is projecting a business-as-usual message. Defense Minister Ehud Barak travelled to Germany for an international security conference two days after the air strikes, and IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, landed in Washington on Sunday for talks with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

Whatever happens next, last Wednesday’s air strikes mark a watershed in the gradual breakdown of the Syrian state, and send an unmistakable message: That strategic weapons proliferation will not be tolerated, whatever the price.

About the Author: Yaakov Lappin is a journalist for the Jerusalem Post, where he covers police and national security affairs, and author of the book The Virtual Caliphate. He is also a visiting fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Air Strike in Syria: The Opening Move?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Masked Arabs clash with Israeli security forces  in anti-Israel riot outside the Ofer prison between Jerusalem and  Ramallah.
Israel Law Center Wins Landmark Decision Against PA in NY Court
Latest Indepth Stories
Dalia Lemkos, HY"D Is this the image you think of when you hear the word "settler?"

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Temple_Mount_aerial_from_south_tb_q010703bsr-300x225

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

voting

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.

Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.

The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.

Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.

Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.

In any event, the Constitution gives Congress what is popularly described as the “power of the purse” – that is, the power to raise revenues through taxation and to decide how the money should be sent.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

There was much to learn from Judge Kramer and the examples he set remains a source of inspiration and a resource from which to learn. He was and remains a great role model.

More Articles from Yaakov Lappin
Islamic Jihad blames Israel for breaking the ceasefire because it did not accept terrorists' demands to destroy Israel.

There are also 4,000 or so members of smaller well-armed Gazan terror groups, not just Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

A little girl holds a Hezbollah flag during a rally in Beirut, Lebanon.

One out of every ten homes in Lebanon now has a rocket launcher or Hezbollah weapons stored in it, according to Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Home Front Defense Minister.

Iran might well conclude that the sanctions could disappear in the course of endless rounds of diplomacy.

Jihad will spread outwards to the region, then threaten global security — possibly with biological and chemical weapons.

Near the Sinai peninsula, the Israeli Defense Forces continue on high alert, watching every suspicious movement in the sands near the Egyptian border for signs of the next attack.

As thousands of radical jihadis have moved into Syria and the Sinai, Israel is perfecting its ability to neutralize these targets.

Israel, which is more threatened by Iran’s nuclear program than is the U.S., has less time to make its up mind on how and when to proceed to avert a threat to its existence.

The Russian Yakhont missiles already delivered to Syria threaten Israel Navy ships carrying out vital missions in the Mediterranean.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/air-strike-in-syria-the-opening-move/2013/02/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: