Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Israel 'eyes more airstrikes again Syria'
by Staff Writers
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Feb 4, 2013

Israel's Syria strike damaged research site: report
Washington (AFP) Feb 3, 2013 - Israel's air strike on Syria last week may have damaged the country's main research center on biological and chemical weapons, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Wednesday's air strike targeted surface-to-air missiles and an adjacent military complex believed to house chemical agents, a US official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A senior US military official told the Times that any damage to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center was likely "due to the bombs which targeted the vehicles" carrying the anti-aircraft weapons and to "the secondary explosions from the missiles."

The center, located north of Damascus, has been hit by US and other Western sanctions for more than a decade because of its suspected links chemical and biological weapons engineering.

The Israelis had a "small strike package," the official told the Times based on intelligence reports. He was referring to the likelihood of Israel having deployed relatively few fighter aircraft to get past Syria's air defenses.

"They clearly went after the air defense weapons on the transport trucks," the official added.

Earlier, Israel gave its first indirect confirmation of the attack when Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the strike was "another proof that when we say something we mean it."

He told the Munich Security Conference that Israel was loath to see advanced weapon systems fall into the hands of the militant Shiite movement Hezbollah in Lebanon by streaming across neighboring Syria's border after President Bashar al-Assad falls.

Damascus has threatened to retaliate, further fueling fears of a regional spillover of the country's 22-month conflict which the UN says has already left more than 60,000 people dead.

Israel's military, which is dropping hints it was behind last week's airstrike on a Syrian chemical weapons facility, is said to be considering more raids, including targeting an Iranian electronic listening post in the disputed Golan Heights.

This is emerging amid reports that the United States had cleared Wednesday's airstrike against the Syrian facility, 5 miles from the border with Lebanon, and a convoy supposedly moving advanced Russian-built surface-to-air missiles to Lebanon for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

There have been unsubstantiated reports from U.S. sources the Israelis may have mounted two other airstrikes against Syrian targets that Damascus hasn't publicly acknowledged, as it has the attack on the military facility at Jamraya, 15 miles northwest of the Syrian capital.

The Jamraya attack, on which Syria has released a video of the damage caused by Wednesday's strike, was the first serious Israeli intervention in Syria since civil war broke out there March 15, 2011.

That underlined the Jewish state's growing unease that the bloodletting there will soon spill over into neighboring states like Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

But the Israelis are likely most concerned that if the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is toppled, ending a brutal 43-year-old minority dynasty, it will be replaced with a more dangerous and unpredictable regime dominated by Sunni jihadists.

Syria has been one of Israel's most implacable foes since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948 and fought three wars against it.

Yet since Israel defeated Syria in the 1973 Middle East war, their northern border in the Golan, a strategic plateau captured from Syria in 1967, has been the country's quietest.

That's because Damascus understood that after Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, began a peace process with Israel in 1977, Syria didn't have the power to take on the Jewish state alone.

A successor regime of Islamist zealots may not show such pragmatic and self-imposed restraint.

And with Egypt now ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood since the February 2011 fall of President Hosni Mubarak, a staunch advocate of the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, there's a fear of an alliance of convenience between Cairo and a jihadist regime in Damascus.

Since Mubarak's fall, jihadists have been operating in growing strength in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which lies on Israel's southern border.

Israel's main fear is that the Syrian regime will transfer its sizeable arsenal of chemical weapons to Hezbollah, a key Lebanese ally which fought Israel to a standstill in a 2006 war.

The Israelis also want to ensure that Hezbollah, or the jihadists fighting the Damascus regime, don't get their hands on Syria's advanced conventional systems like Russia SA-17 surface-to-air missiles -- provided by Moscow after a 2007 Israeli airstrike that destroyed a half-built nuclear reactor on the Euphrates River -- and C-802 Chinese-designed anti-ship missiles. These would seriously challenge Israel's air and naval superiority in the region, dangerously exposing ground operations.

Israel, which hasn't officially acknowledged Wednesday's airstrike, may have been encouraged by the lack of retaliation by the Syrians, or the Iranians who are Assad's staunchest allies and are reportedly providing weapons and troops to help him stay in power.

Technically, Israel's still in a state of war with Syria. There's no benefit for Israel, faced with increasingly destabilized Arab neighbors, in widening that conflict but it can't allow Syria's arsenals to be seized by unpredictable enemies.

"The fact that ... Assad, who has been steadily losing his grip on the country in the face of a two-year rebellion, should dare defy repeated Israeli warnings about moving anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah ... is in itself alarming," observed Roula Khalaf of the Financial Times.

"So too is Israel's readiness to strike. There might be no immediate conflagration but the stakes have been raised much higher."

There are those who believe, contrary to the conventional wisdom in the region, that the Israelis would shed no tears if Assad were to be overthrown.

"He is a linchpin of the radical Iran-Hezbollah axis and a staunch rival of Israel," retired Israeli Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog noted in a Jan. 31 analysis for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

"His fall would therefore deal a major blow to Tehran, significantly weaken Hezbollah and dismantle the trilateral axis."


Related Links

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Protest against Iraq PM blocks highway to Syria, Jorda
Ramadi, Iraq (AFP) Dec 23, 2012
About 2,000 Iraqi protesters, demanding the ouster of premier Nuri al-Maliki, blocked on Sunday a highway in western Iraq leading to Syria and Jordan, an AFP correspondent reported. The protesters, including local officials, religious and tribal leaders, turned out in Ramadi, the capital of Sunni province of Anbar, to demonstrate against the arrest of nine guards of Finance Minister Rafa al- ... read more

Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Completes GMD Flight Test

NGC Fire Control Play Key Role in Missile Defense Test

Missile defense EEKV shows value

First Patriot missiles 'operational' on Turkey-Syria border

Lockheed Martin Receives US Army Contract for Guided MLRS Rocket Production

India wheels out new long-range missile in annual parade

Raytheon awarded contract for HARM upgrade

Short-range ballistic missile again fired in Syria: NATO

US needs to keep up drone war against Qaeda: Panetta

Northrop Grumman's Next-Gen Fire Scout to Beef Up Avionics Protection

Elbit Systems and Windward Team to Introduce Advanced Maritime Surveillance Solution for India

Elbit Systems to Develop Advanced UAS Features for Israel MoD

TACLANE-1G Encryptor Certified by NSA

Boeing Completes FAB-T Software Qualification Testing For AEHF and Milstar Birds

Smartphone to hold integrated warrior gear

Raytheon offers Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal Soultion

Commander sees women in elite US special forces

Canada receives upgraded LAV III

Marines Get Improved Precision Extended Range Munitions

Raytheon, US Navy demonstrate new dual targeting capability for JSOW C-1

Global firms eye lucrative contracts at India air show

Israel seeks major arms deals with India

Rheinmetall, Cassidian gain orders

Shoigu: Russia seeks army 'modernization'

Two Chinese ships in disputed waters: Japan coastguard

Taiwan opposition chief visits Japan despite islands row

Japan releases Chinese fishermen: Xinhua

Warnings of Okinawa terrorism

A new genre of 'intelligent' micro- and nanomotors

Flat boron by the numbers

Notre Dame studies benefits and threats of nanotechnology research

A nano-gear in a nano-motor inside

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement