Secret War Continues: Israel’s Air Force Hit Targets in Syria Twice More

Israel isn’t officially confirming that its air force has struck targets in Syria — but it did.  Two targets were hit today (Oct.31), and that means that while the civil war is raging in Syria there have been at least five air raids by Israel.

President Assad's Military Moves Includes Transfers Israel Won't Tolerate

President Assad’s Military Moves Include Transfers Israel Won’t Tolerate

Officials in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem say they are not taking sides between President Bashar al-Assad and the rebel groups — still a disparate bunch of organizations, a few apparently pro-Western but many strongly linked with al-Qaeda Islamists.

Israel’s goal in these airstrikes on targets in Syria is a matter of wider — and vital — strategy.

Unofficial (but well informed) Israeli sources say today’s strikes were aimed at stopping attempts by Assad’s regime to transfer anti-aircraft missiles to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah (the Shi’ite Muslim militia and political movement in neighboring Lebanon).

Such transfers are almost certainly coordinated by Iran, which apparently wants to surround Israel with threats. This, for the Iranians also, is a matter of high strategy: preparing for the day that armed hostilities might break out between Israel and Iran, and retaliation against Israel could take the form of tens of thousands of missiles raining down on Israeli territory from Lebanon, from the Gaza Strip, and perhaps even from Syria.

The notion is that if Hezbollah were equipped with the best Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and radar systems, then Israel’s air force would lose its domination of the Middle East skies. Certainly the IAF feels that it can fly freely over Lebanon.

In the words of a senior Israeli official, “Hezbollah getting those missiles that could threaten our air force would be a ‘game changer,’ and we’re not going to tolerate that.”

While this may appear to some as a dangerous intervention in Syrian affairs, amid the red-hot sensitivity of the civil war, it should be noted that the United States is not protesting — not even a little bit — about what the Israeli air force has been doing this year.

October 31, 2013

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