Thursday, 31 January 2013

SYRIA: '' The Israeli- Attacks'': Is Israel initiating war against Syria?

The wars in Mali and Syria have followed very different trajectories over the past month. While Syria has become symbolic of international inaction, France’s use of force in Mali has shown that some Western governments are still willing to launch new interventions abroad.

The crises also have very different geopolitical implications. The situation in Mali is the latest in a long series of French operations to stabilize its former colonies, although Paris enjoys an unusual level of African backing in this case. The battle over Syria looks like a replay of the Cold War, as Russia and the West compete for power in the Middle East. Mali may be in the headlines today, but the stakes are still higher in Syria.

Now, Israel is getting intensely impatient with the ongoing Syrian conflict. It is believed that Israel has requested the approval of the U.S and its allies to take the initiative in ending the everlasting Syrian conflict. Israelis top diplomats are trying to convince the West that a ''French Mali initiative style approach'' is required to secure Syrian chemical weapons and subsequently end the conflict. However, this short-sighted approach'' faces strong criticisms from West's top diplomats.

The West argues that the French military intervention initiative was an invitation of Mali's president to pull back Islamists advances. But also, the French intervention is Mali was indeed secured under UNSC resolution, even though precipitated under the circumstances. In Syria, there is no clear UNSC resolutions to suggest such move and Russia-China are mainly standing on the way.

In sign of frustration, possibly as a prelude to a wider military intervention in Syria, Israel carried two separate attacks in Syria.

First, Israel attacked a convoy of sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons en route to Hezbollah near the Lebanon-Syria border on Wednesday, although Hezbollah nor Syrian media would confrim this attack. The Israelis have always been sensitive to any increase in Hezbollah’s anti-aircraft capability.

There are political risks for Syria and Hezbollah should they protest the airstrike too vocally. Hezbollah and Syria may not raise any kind of ruckus about it because it points a bad finger at them if they are engaged in what would be seen as destabilizing activity when the areas is already in crisis

The Israelis basically want to be able to completely dominate the airspace over Lebanon. They don't want any threats to their ability to fly there. The SA-17 is an advanced, capable, mobile, modern anti-aircraft missile system, because the Russian-designed system is fully mobile, the missile launchers are more difficult to attack.

If these missiles were actually being transferred to Hezbollah, which is still somewhat of a question, it would give Hezbollah a boost in its anti-aircraft capabilities. A small shipment of SA-17 missiles would enhance Hezbollah’s air defense capability and complicate Israeli air operations in Lebanese airspace.

If Syria had decided to send such weapons beyond its borders, it would be either to enhance Hezbollah’s capabilities, or perhaps simply because of the risk that the weapons would otherwise fall into the wrong hands or the Syrians are just trying to get these weapons systems out of Syria, worried that they could get compromised, that they would be a lost asset for the Syrian government if they into the hands of the rebels.

Later on, Israel carried a second attack. Israeli fighter jets targeted a military research center near Damascus. The strike caused material damage to the center and a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others.

Hezbollah, the Arab League and Russia rebuked Israel Thursday. The attack is a glaring violation of Syrian’s sovereignty. The U.S and its allies, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the West remain ''muted''. The attack has disrupted Syrian air defense system, and the Syrian government is not currently capable of any kind of organized response to Israeli action.

The pattern of these two separate attacks begs the questions of Israel's motivations behind them. Such unprovoked strikes are usually a first step to greater one.

Israelis officials believe that Bashar al Assad's fall will undoubtedly isolate Iran and Hezbollah, but seem to neglect the simple fact that the Syrian conflict could spread into a regional conflict. That is more than a truism, because Assads' fall could heighten the chaos in the country to the point where neighboring countries will feel compelled to intervene.

If Bashar fall, the Syrian conflict will be far from over. A double escalation looms. It will be about domestic power and the question of who Syria belongs to. The country is too important, too central and too divisive to be left to itself. Israel's primary political interest and security, must be carried out in orderly manner. The two ''unprovoked and barbaric'' attacks are indeed a dangerous game.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Political Analyst/Writer
Investigative Journalist