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Israel - Syria - Iran - Russia - Palestine

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    As quoted by Dutch in another post yesterday: Anyway the latest on this "thread" Israel bombed a convoy inside Syria; the convoy had plenty of Russian made anti aircraft missiles; they were afraid they would fall in the hands of Hezbolla. Thus slowly but surely more of the region gets involved; in Egypt the mess is getting bigger as well; Isreal is sqeezed between Palestine, Egypt and Syria so I guess this situation may get out of hand, I wonder what's next.

    From the NY Times today:
    Syria’s Confirmation of Strike May Add to Tension With Israel

    JERUSALEM — Israeli officials remained silent on Thursday about their airstrike in Syrian territory the day before, a tactic that experts said was part of a longstanding strategy to give targeted countries face-saving opportunities to avoid conflict escalation. But Syria’s own confirmation of the attack, followed by harsh condemnation not only by Israel’s enemies Iran and Hezbollah but also by Russia, may have undercut that effort, analysts said, increasing the likelihood of a cycle of retaliation.


    “From the moment they chose to say Israel did something, it means someone has to do something after that,” said Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council and a longtime military leader. “Contrary to what I could hope and believe yesterday, that this round of events would end soon, now I am much less confident.”
    The Iranian deputy foreign minister warned Thursday that Israel’s strike would lead to “grave consequences for Tel Aviv,” while the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the strike “blatantly violates the United Nations Charter and is unacceptable and unjustified, whatever its motives.”
    American officials said Israel hit a convoy before dawn on Wednesday that was ferrying sophisticated antiaircraft missiles called SA-17s to Lebanon. The Syrians and their allies said the target was actually a scientific research facility in the Damascus suburbs. It remained unclear Thursday whether there was one strike or two, and what involvement the research outpost might have had in weapons production or storage for Syria or Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese Shiite organization that has long battled with Israel.
    Most experts agree that Syria, Hezbollah and Israel each have strong reasons to avoid a new active conflict right now: the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is fighting for his survival in a violent and chaotic civil war; Hezbollah is struggling for political legitimacy at home and battling its label as a terrorist organization internationally; and Israel is trying to keep its head down in an increasingly volatile region.
    But it is equally clear that Hezbollah — backed by Syria and Iran — wants desperately to upgrade its arsenal in hopes of changing the parameters for any future engagement with the powerful Israeli military, and that Israel is determined to stop it. And Hezbollah is perhaps even more anxious to gird itself for future challenges to its primacy in Lebanon, especially if a Sunni-led revolution triumphs next door in Syria.
    Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and his deputies said loud and clear in the days leading up to the strike that they saw any transfer of Syria’s extensive cache of chemical weapons, or of sophisticated conventional weapons systems, as a “red line” that would prompt action. Now that Israel has followed through on that threat, even without admitting it, analysts expect the country — perhaps backed by its Western allies — to similarly target any future convoys attempting the same feat.
    “Once this red line has been crossed, it’s definitely going to be crossed time and again from now on, especially as the situation of the Assad regime will deteriorate,” said Boaz Ganor, head of the International Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. “They will do the utmost to gain control of those weapons. In that case, I don’t see why Israel wouldn’t have the same type of calculation that Israel had two days ago into the future.”
    Mr. Ganor said the United States and Europe should be as concerned as Israel, because Syria’s chemical weapons could end up in the hands not just of Hezbollah but of jihadist organizations like Al Qaeda or its proxies. “If one organization will put their hands on this arsenal, then it will change hands in no time and we’ll see it all over the world,” he said. “We, the international community, are marching into a new era of terrorism.”
    Eyal Zisser, a historian at Tel Aviv University who specializes in Syria and Lebanon, said that if there was no retaliation to Wednesday’s airstrike, “Why not repeat it? For Israel it’s going to be the practice.” The question, Professor Zisser said, “is what they will try to do next, Syria and Hezbollah, if there is another Israeli attack, whether they will avoid any retaliation the next time as well.”
    Israel’s steadfast silence on the airstrike was reminiscent of its posture after it destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 — an attack it has never acknowledged, though many officials discuss it with winks and nods. But in that case, President Assad bought into the de-escalation strategy by saying the attack had hit an unused — and implicitly unimportant — military building, relieving the pressure for a response.
    Syria and Israel are technically at war, though there has long been a wary calm along the decades-old armistice line. Though Wednesday’s strike was on Syrian soil, analysts said its actual goal was to send a strong signal to Hezbollah — something the Lebanese organization tried to deflect in its own statement after the attack, which expressed “solidarity with Syria’s leadership, army and people.”
    “Israel has tried very hard not to take part in all of what happens in Syria, and I don’t think we will start to be involved now,” said Dan Harel, a former deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. “Israel is trying to stay within its own borders, look outside, not be involved — just trying not to let what happens in Syria change the equation vis-à-vis Lebanon.”
    The use of either chemical weapons or complex conventional ones like the Russian-made SA-17s would be a game changer in what most here see as an inevitable next war with Hezbollah. Since Israel’s bloody war with Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah is believed to have increased its missile stash to more than 50,000 from perhaps 15,000, including some long-range missiles that can hit any part of Israel. But Israel is well-prepared to defend against even an intense barrage of such rockets. On the other hand, if Hezbollah gained the ability to curtail Israel’s relatively free rein in Lebanese airspace, that would truly alter the landscape.
    “If they manage to bring down an Israeli plane, it would have two pilots — for them it’s as if they won the war,” Yoram Schweitzer, a senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said of Hezbollah. “They have the ability to blackmail Israel, to torture the Israeli public opinion. They won’t be able to cope with the Israeli Air Force, but just to be able to reduce the free-of-charge Israeli airstrikes, that’s the logic.”
    As experts debated the likelihood of retaliation by Syria, Hezbollah or Iran on Israeli radio and television, residents in the north rushed to get gas masks as municipal workers checked bomb shelters’ electricity and security and reviewed emergency procedures. Mayor Nissim Malka of Kiryat Shmona, a town of about 23,000 near the Lebanon border that withstood more than 1,000 rocket attacks in 2006, said his office had been flooded with calls about whether children should go to school, businesses should close and weddings should proceed.
    “Every door slamming made people jump,” said Mayor Malka, 60. “People are on edge and keep asking if we know anything about what may develop.”
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Mcclellan I don't know why anyone would say Israel will have an inevitable next war with Hezbollah. The way I see it they never stop warring. They only pause to reload and restock their weapons temporarily. Then the start blowing each other up and it's a vivious cycle and how much time and money has the USA spent trying to get middle east peace. There is no such thing and probably never will be.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    jamesn Wrote: Mcclellan I don't know why anyone would say Israel will have an inevitable next war with Hezbollah. The way I see it they never stop warring. They only pause to reload and restock their weapons temporarily. Then the start blowing each other up and it's a vivious cycle and how much time and money has the USA spent trying to get middle east peace. There is no such thing and probably never will be.
    I agree with you! Maybe if Israel stopped building new settlements, gave back some of the land that they stole, and allowed the Palestinians to exists in their own country (yet to be established) with access to Jerusalem, maybe everyone could agree to get along. Maybe then the rest of Arab nations wouldn't all hate Israel. Just a thought.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    I do not believe Israel nor the Arab nations will ever seriously try to get along. Too much hatred for too long and too many leaders in fear of losing their power if they actually tried to make peace with the other side. Sadat made peace and look what happened.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    "McLellan" thanks; I wrote my piece in the light of the whole of the middle east development; my feeling is that things are getting very delicate, also if I see the developments at home; it is clear that the "hawks" who torpedoed Hagel today want more wars in order to satisfy their lobbyists. I hope that Obama realizes what game these Repub. senators are playing. Hagel always had the right inclination, it is a shame for this country that senators like a McCain can sit there till they die and obstruct real progress in this country related to getting a more peacefull world.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    I hope Hagel will make it through and it's important that he served in the military and even saw combat. Why shouldn't it be a requirement that ALL Sec Defense have military service in their background? That gives them a perspective that others can never understand and is just common sense.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    Right you are Dutch, McCain is so war hungry (when will he ever get enough?) that he will stop at nothing to block Hagel and Obama. He believes their view on "war being the last resort" is almost a crime against the U.S. war machine and all its related businesses. They (McCain and the Republicans) just don't believe world peace is possible, and it is their intent to make sure it doesn't happen.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    McCain will never get over losing to Obama anymore that Romney will. McCain has a lot of serious reality problems and certainly doesn't have it together enough to be a US Senator! After all, he approved Sarah Palin to be his running mate ;(
  • Democrat
    Lawrence, MA
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    C.S. Blumel was a psychiatrist who analyzed many politicians in the 1930's. In the 40's he wrote a book titled , War, Politics and Insanity, in which he concluded that the piursuit of political power is a psychotic endeavor. When you stop to think about it , what is a candidate for Federal office really saying when he/she decides to run for the position. Despite the "isues" what they are saying in effect is that.....I am capable of making life and death decisions for 300 million people. I think many might agree that a truly sane person, if asked to run for such an office, would fall on their knees and beg to be excused.....( Not to be a wise guy, but I don't think you'll find many of these in the country at this time ) Of course, many of these candidates don't see the issue in this light, and the fiction we're given is that they are "public servants " Then again, some are more psychotic than others. To me, John McCain, God bless him, is not a person to be trusted near a pile of munitions. I think the nation shouild give thanks profusely that he did not get elected to the Presidency.......In an ideal world these candidates would be given mental stability tests before being allowed to run for office.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Leftofcenter Wrote: C.S. Blumel was a psychiatrist who analyzed many politicians in the 1930's. In the 40's he wrote a book titled , War, Politics and Insanity, in which he concluded that the piursuit of political power is a psychotic endeavor. When you stop to think about it , what is a candidate for Federal office really saying when he/she decides to run for the position. Despite the "isues" what they are saying in effect is that.....I am capable of making life and death decisions for 300 million people. I think many might agree that a truly sane person, if asked to run for such an office, would fall on their knees and beg to be excused.....( Not to be a wise guy, but I don't think you'll find many of these in the country at this time ) Of course, many of these candidates don't see the issue in this light, and the fiction we're given is that they are "public servants " Then again, some are more psychotic than others. To me, John McCain, God bless him, is not a person to be trusted near a pile of munitions. I think the nation shouild give thanks profusely that he did not get elected to the Presidency.......In an ideal world these candidates would be given mental stability tests before being allowed to run for office.
    "left" I guess you got it wrong! "not to be trusted near a pile of munitions" no, he would sell it to the highest bidder even to Mohammed, so you can trust him to profit from it !! To be serious "term limits" should be the solution.