The Syrian government has announced that it will retaliate should Israel continue to conduct airstrikes on Syrian territory.
Any further airstrikes on Syrian territory will be met with deadly force and retaliation strikes deep within Israeli soil, they said.
According to the message, delivered via Russian mediators, attacks on Syrian military objects will be met with Scud missiles launched at Israeli military bases. If Israel attacks civilian infrastructure, Syrian missiles will be fired at Israel’s Haifa port and petrochemical plant. The missiles will be launched without any prior notice, the statement said.
The notice follows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s March 20 statement that protecting its borders is the right and obligation of every nation.
“Syria’s forceful response to the Israeli attacks changed the rules of the game,” said Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari. He added that the threatened response is “appropriate and in line with Israel’s terrorist operation,” and that Israel “will now think a million times [before striking again].”
On March 17, Israeli military reported several airstrikes on Syrian territory; they were followed by several anti-aircraft missiles launched at Israeli warplanes flying over Syrian territory. One of the missiles was reportedly intercepted by Israel’s Arrow missile defense system. However, Syrian authorities claim they successfully downed an Israeli plane not far from Damascus.
Following the incidents, Israel threatened to conduct strikes specifically to destroy Syrian anti-air batteries.
According to Israeli leadership, the airstrikes are aimed at fighting advanced weapons smuggling to Hezbollah in Lebanon across Syrian territory.
“Our politics is very consistent,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the wake of the airstrikes. “When we know about an attempt to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah, we do whatever we can to prevent this from happening, provided we have sufficient information and capabilities to react.”
According to media reports, during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu vowed to continue fighting attempts to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah through Syria. Netanyahu denied reports that he was told to cease military operations in Syria.
Israel and Syria have not engaged in any kind of serious military confrontation since civil war broke out in Syria six years ago. The sporadic, over-the-border fire is dismissed by Israeli authorities. There are about 800 Soviet-made Scud missiles, capable of delivering half a ton of explosives, located in Syria.
WASHINGTON – The United States has imposed sanctions against eight Russian companies in connection with the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA), US State Department representative told Sputnik on Saturday.
“Penalties are being applied to eight Russian entities as a result of a regular, periodic review of specific activities as required by the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act,” the representative said.
The representative also stressed that these sanctions “are separate from the broader economic sanctions that have been in place since 2014” in connection with the Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The United States imposed sanctions on 150th Aircraft Repair Plant, Aviaexport, Bazalt, Kolomna Design Bureau of Machine-Building (KBM), Rosoboronexport (ROE), Ulyanovsk Higher Aviation Academy of Civil Aviation (UVAUGA), Ural Training Center for Civil Aviation (UUTsCA), Zhukovskiy and Gagarin Academy (Z&G Academy).
One year to the day after the Brussels terrorist attacks, a terrorist drove a car into Westminster parliament buildings killing four people and wounding several others. The British public are in shock. Westminster is considered to be a monument to British ‘democracy’. The date 3/22 will be remembered among those who mourn over the skulls and bones of loved ones lost to terrorism.
Today, many of those mourners are in Syria. Just a few hours earlier, 50 destitute families staying at the al Badiya Dakhilya school in the village of Mansoura on the outskirts of Raqqa, were blown to pieces after an air strike by the ‘international coalition’. The Pentagon said it would “investigate” the atrocity. The British Government and its Western partners were silent. Thirty-three people were murdered. The United Nations – the international arm of US imperialism- was mute. The Syrian government asked them why. No answer was given.
On the same day, Al Nosra terrorists entered the village of Majdal, Northwest of Hama. Several women and children were reportedly killed. There are not enough reporters in Syria to cover all the atrocities committed almost every day by psychopathic killers the Western media calls ‘moderate rebels’.
Britain’s ‘jihad’ in Syria
In 2009, former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas attended a meeting in London with British government officials. They told him they were planning to send Jihadi terrorists into Syria to take over the country. It was part of Britain’s contribution to the Greater Israel project.
Israel’s quest for Middle East supremacy was outlined in a policy paper written by Israeli official Oded Yinon in 1982. The Yinon Plan involved fomenting civil war in Arab and Muslim countries in order to establish Israeli suzerainty over all its hostile neighbours. Like its partners in France and the United States, the British government is a whore of Israel.
Westminster was finalising a grand strategy for the Middle East which would combine people-power uprisings and covert snipers, followed by Takfiri terrorism. The US grand strategy for the Middle East was announced by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005 in her speech before the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), where she proudly proclaimed that President George W. Bush had a “new policy” for the Middle East and North Africa.
The US launched an “unprecedented international venue for reform”, by training activists in social media and regime change tactics. The Centre for Non-Violent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS), Albert Einstein Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, Freedom House, Facebook, and many other CIA-affiliated US agencies brought about what came to be known as the “Arab Spring”. The American/Israeli plan for a New Middle East was fully backed by most sou-disant ‘anti-imperialists’, who couldn’t resist the romance and fantasy of revolution and ‘Marxists’ waxed lyrical with “the masses make history”.
The consensus among the anti-war left that the Arab Spring was “spontaneous” and “popular” meant that NATO was able to carpet bomb Libya for 8 months, making the bombing look like a humanitarian intervention. Hundreds of thousands of civilians would perish. When Libya was destroyed, Syria was next on NATO’s target list. For 6 years this month, the Syrian Arab Republic has been fighting a war of national liberation from the international horde of Takfiri terrorists that British government officials were training in 2009 for deployment to the country.
The attacks on Westminster come at a time when Britain is set to “get tough” on immigration. Though Brexit holds out the possibility of economic and democratic progress in Britain – and immigration needs to be controlled and planned – reactionary forces and news outlets are increasingly pointing the finger at Muslims and Islam as the root of Britain’s problems. A similar process is taking hold in the United States and throughout the European Union.
Since the Zionist false flag bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on the 22nd of July 1946, the Lavon Affair of 1954, the 911 attacks, the Brevik Massacre, and many others, Zionism has boldly carried out terrorist attacks and blamed them on Muslims or far right groups. The war on terror is a Zionist construct which is designed to goad the Western public into supporting foreign wars on behalf of Israeli interests, where recruits from Israel’s Gulf State partners are used as pawns and patsies in the infernal narrative of the “clash of civilisations”.
Today the terrorism or its simulacrum has struck Westminster. The script is typed on a well-worn palimpsest with exotic Arab names parroted in the non-stop media hysteria. Not until the public realises that the terrorists are, and always have been, inside the corridors of Westminster – an edifice that attests to the dictatorship of a decadent oligarchy over the toiling masses – will the reign of terror come to an end.
Israel is likely to try to retain the existing status quo in Syria since it has benefited from the ongoing conflict in the war-torn neighboring nation, political analyst Sergei Balmasov asserted, saying that Tel Aviv’s combat missions are not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad, but are rather meant to prevent the crisis from being resolved.
“Israel is deeply interested in the ongoing standoff between the Sunnis and the Shia. Tel Aviv wants them to continue killing each other. Nothing presents a threat to Israel as long as this war is ongoing. The Israeli Air Force launches airstrikes against Shia militias in Syria, tipping the balance. This evens out the chances and the war drags on,” he told RT.
Balmasov, an expert at the Middle East Institute at the Russian International Affairs Council, also suggested that Israel could use a border incident to move its forces into southern Syria.
“One could not rule out that Israel does not deploy its troops to the southern buffer zone which borders the Golan Heights to create a territorial entity on the basis of Druze settlements using some kind of an incident as a pretext,” he said.
Israel has largely refrained from taking an active part in the devastating Syrian conflict, but has occasionally sent its warplanes to launch airstrikes on Hezbollah in a bid to eliminate its leaders and destroy its weapons. Several such missions are reported to have taken place in recent days in what marks the most serious incident between Tel Aviv and Damascus since the 2011 foreign-sponsored insurgency in Syria morphed into a large-scale war.
It started on Friday, with the Israeli Air Force launching airstrikes on several Hezbollah targets near the Syrian city of Palmyra, close to an area where Russian experts have been engaged in demining efforts following the successful campaign to push Daesh out of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The operation prompted the Syrian Arab Army to launch three anti-aircraft missiles at the departing Israeli planes, with Israel’s Arrow missile defense system intercepting one of the projectiles.
The incident sparked a war of words among high-ranking officials on both sides. On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pledged that Tel Aviv would destroy all Syrian air defense systems “without thinking twice” should a similar situation occur in the future. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Tel Aviv would continue to carry out airstrikes on convoys suspected of transferring advanced weapons to Hezbollah.President Bashar al-Assad reiterated that it was Damascus’ right and duty to defend Syrian borders.
“Why has Israel squared off against the Syrian Arab Army? Israel views the SAA’s links to Hezbollah as unacceptable. Tel Aviv is concerned that the group could become stronger,” Irina Zvyagelskaya, a senior research fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, told RT.
Israel considers Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization and views the Lebanon-based Shia movement, one of Assad’s key allies in Damascus’s war against Daesh, to be one of the top security threats.
The civil war in Washington between President Donald Trump and his detractors shows no signs of abating. Every day becomes a fresh start in the fighting. The latest salvo has been Monday’s hearing at the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee where the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey acknowledged the existence of an on-going investigation by his agency over suspected Russian interference in the US presidential election with hacking to help the then Republican candidate Trump win the White House.
True, no smoking gun was produced by Comey, but his testimony implied that investigations are continuing. We may expect that many more such hearings are in the pipeline. A “big grey cloud” has appeared out of nowhere, as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes put it. The cloud will lift only if the various inquiries going on conclusively absolve Trump or, alternatively, if Trump leaves office, whichever comes first.
Such inquiries have a way of mutating, while moving ponderously, slowly in the cesspit tank. Comey admitted that it is difficult for him “to give you a timetable as to when it will be done.” Then, there is also a sub-plot – Comey himself is under investigation by the US Justice Department.
The next big day will be March 28 when two colorful personalities in the US intelligence system during the Obama administration – the ex-director of national intelligence James Clapper and the ex-CIA director John Brennan – will appear before the House panel. Both were instrumental in the January assessment that the Russians had interfered in the US presidential election in an attempt to benefit Trump. Clapper has a proven record of lying under oath, while Brennan is Barack Obama’s poodle. Trust both to resort to innuendos against Trump and mates, hitting them in the loins where it hurts. (Watch it “live”.)
To my mind, this is about the appropriate time to begin pondering about a world sans America. That is to say, an international system where America has taken “time out”. Is it a good thing to happen? Well, it is already having some salutary effect on the international climate. The global tensions have noticeably eased. If it was commonplace during the Obama era to discuss a potential war between Russia and the US, including a nuclear war, no one wastes breath over such things anymore.
A good case can be made that if the American civil war continues to be fought as savagely by the country’s elites as it has been so far, and if the fratricidal strife continues for another 4 or 8 years — ideally, through the entire Trump presidency — it will be a great boon for the world community. Never again will Americans be able to be preachy that the world cannot do without them. And the ruling elites in countries such as India will also get accustomed to a life without America.
Clearly, America’s “exceptionalism” is getting exposed as total sham. Second, the longer the civil war continues, the less possibility there is for US military interventions abroad. Quite obviously, we saw last week that China could prevail upon the US to be “cool-headed” and not to go to war with North Korea. It seems to me that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared relieved to agree with the Chinese that there is no option but to continue on the diplomatic track vis-à-vis the North Korea problem.
Again, some degree of predictability is appearing in the US-China relationship, since the last thing Trump wants now is a conflict with China. For us Asians also, it is singularly gratifying that there isn’t going to be a war in the region. This is what the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said earlier today at a media briefing in Beijing:
- During Secretary of State Tillerson’s stay in China, the two sides arrived at a clear consensus on ensuring a sound development of China-US relations at a new starting point in the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. It should not be interpreted as a victory for any party. It is just the right way for China and the United States, two major countries, to get along with each other. Non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation summarizes the reason for the steady growth of China-US ties in recent years and is worth carrying forward and being further developed. We would like to enhance communication, mutual understanding and mutual trust with the US so as to properly handle differences, expand bilateral, regional, and international cooperation, and elevate China-US relations to a greater height at a new starting point.
The comfort level in Beijing is palpably rising. Finally, there are some other good signs, too, which are not visible to the naked eye but are no less important. In the civil war conditions in America, with so much dust and noise in the air in Washington, and such poor visibility all around, Trump is quietly able to do a few things on the side, which he had promised to do.
A good friend of mine who watches Syria and Iraq through binoculars 24 x 7, wrote to me a couple of days ago that Trump is doing some incredible things out there in the neighborhood where she lives. Let me succinctly paraphrase her assessment:
- Trump has in fact prioritized the fight against terrorism. He is doing this quietly… The CIA has completely turned off the arms spigot to rebels in Syria and the US is bombing Al Qaeda and its allied groups now – something that Obama avoided (and tried to stop Russia/Syria/Iran from doing.) Equally, Trump is bombing the Al-Qaeda in Yemen too. And in Iraq, Trump is standing by while the Iran-trained Hashd ash-Shabi is annihilating ISIS in western Mosul and cutting off their route to Syria. Obama, on the contrary, had refused to let the Hashd fight in many of these battles. Trump now has not only given the go-ahead, but we have now seen the Iraqi Air Force participate in anti-ISIS bombing raids into Syria. Simply put, if the Obama administration’s policies only had led to the rise of the ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria, Trump is actually fighting them and, importantly, he is allowing US’ regional foes – Iran and Iran-supported militia groups, in particular – to fight them unimpeded.
Meanwhile, Tillerson is likely to visit Moscow on April 12. As the saying goes, dogs bark but the caravan moves on. The world community cannot possibly ask for more.
Indeed, there will always be disgruntled elements – Brits and Germans, for example. But that is perfectly understandable. They realise that Trump regards them as a lower form of life – worse than leeches or bed bugs. They dearly want Trump to lose in the civil war, and lose very quickly. Without America to lead, they are afraid they might lose their gravitas in world politics. For us, Asians, that is not a bad prospect, either. Hopefully, the curtain is coming down on the “West”, as we knew it in modern history.
Recent developments at the United Nations–(with regard to the censoring of a report on Israeli apartheid and the resignation of a high-ranking UN official who had been ordered to repudiate it)–should be viewed in the context of remarks made earlier this month by Alan Dershowitz.
Speaking at an anti-BDS conference in Los Angeles, the former Harvard Law School professor and now CNN contributor offered the following advice to his fellow Jews:
People say Jews are too powerful, we’re too strong, we’re too rich. We control the media. We have too much this. We have too much that. And we often apologetically deny our strength and our power. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. We have earned the right to influence public debate.
As you can tell from the above video, the event where Dershowitz made those remarks was sponsored by Stand With Us, a Zionist lobby organization based in Los Angeles. Entitled, “Combating the Boycott Movement Against Israel,” the conference took place March 4-6 and was billed as “the crucial counter BDS conference.” Admission was $500 per person for “regular attendees” and $1,000 for “VIPs.”
“All registration levels include five gourmet kosher meals, all sessions, and materials,” reads the online promotional brochure. “VIP rates also include a private reception with Alan Dershowitz and other BDS experts, preferred seating throughout the conference, and valet parking.”
The conference is said to have been attended by more than 250 people. Less than two weeks later, on March 15, a UN organization, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, published a report concluding that Israel imposes a policy of apartheid against the Palestinians–hardly a controversial allegation in this day and age. Yet the New York Times described it as “a politically explosive assertion” and said that the release of the report had “led to furious denunciations by Israel and the United States.”
Two days later, on Friday, March 17, Rima Khalaf resigned as head of the ESCWA after being ordered by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to withdraw the report. That same day, the report was removed from the UN’s website. The Israeli lobby had once again given the world a not-so-subtle demonstration of its power.
You can go here to read an analysis of the report by Stephen Lendman and here to access an archived copy of the full report (how long it will remain archived at the location is unclear). The report seems well grounded in international law, drawing upon the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and other international agreements for the basis of its conclusions. Its authors, Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, both come from a legal and scholarly background, and both were commissioned by the ESCWA to produce the report.
“Although the term ‘apartheid’ was originally associated with the specific instance of South Africa, it now represents a species of crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” they write in the report’s executive summary. They then proceed to quote the pertinent section of the Rome statute:
“The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts… in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.
As you can tell, the report was produced in a scholarly manner, but I’d like to return now to the comments of Dershowitz as shown in the video above. What he seems to be saying in effect is that Jews should no longer deny the power they hold. Better to be open about it, maybe even brag on it a little bit. The upside to this, presumably, is that it might help eliminate confusion about who really runs much of the world now. He also seems to feel that being open about Jewish power would enable Jews to more effectively use their power “in the interest of peace,” as he puts it.
Are Jews really using their power to promote peace in the world? In the paragraphs above I initiated what in essence amounts to a timeline beginning with the Stand With Us conference in L.A. That conference took place March 4-6. On March 15 came the UN report, followed by the resignation of Khalaf, on March 17, and the removal of the report from the UN’s website. That’s where I ended, but let’s expand the timeline a bit further and see what happens.
Also on March 17, Israeli war planes crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a bombing raid at a site near the recently-liberated city of Palmyra. In response, Syria fired upon the Israeli planes using a Russian-supplied air defense system. Claims and counter-claims were made about the incident: Syria says it shot down one of the planes; Israel denies this.
But two days later, on March 19, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel will destroy Syria’s air defenses if it fires on any more Israeli planes. The implication seems to be that Israel assumes to itself the God-given right (and you’ll recall Dershowitz speaking about the “strength” putatively given by the Old Testament god Yahweh) to cross into another country’s airspace and carry out a missile attack whenever it feels like it. This in fact is a point that was made by a writer at Russia Insider :
“The serious exchange of missile fire between Israel and Syria early Friday morning reflects the Assad regime’s attempts to change the unofficial rules of the game.”
So begins a column published in Israel’s Haaretz.
The newspaper is of course referring to the Israeli jets that “breached Syrian air space early in the morning and attacked a military target near Palmyra”, apparently in an attempt to “aid” Islamic State forces.
According to reports, it’s suspected that the Syrian Army responded to this “breach” by firing off a few S-200 missiles.
The writer, Rudy Panko, then goes on to supply a direct quote from the Haaretz opinion piece:
Presumably the Syrian anti-aircraft salvo was a signal to Israel that the regime’s policy of restraint in the face of the airstrikes will not remain as it was. President Bashar Assad’s recent successes – first and foremost the conquest of Aleppo – have seemingly increased the dictator’s confidence. Israel will have to decide whether the operational need – to thwart advanced weapons shipments to Hezbollah – also justifies the possible risk of the downing of an Israeli fighter jet and a broader conflict developing with Syria.
There is an interesting question as to whether the aircraft detection radar system was deployed by Israel’s new great friend, Russia, precisely one week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from Moscow after yet another successful visit to see President Vladimir Putin.
One can imagine that the intelligence community will also be interested to learn whether the Syrian decision to fire back was coordinated with Assad’s collaborators and partners: Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
He then makes the point that “Syria’s decision to defend itself from hostile, foreign jets dropping bombs on Syria shows a lack of ‘restraint’ on Assad’s part, according to Haaretz.” A similar point was made by another writer at Russia Insider, who put it perhaps in an even more sarcastic vein:
The moral of this story is: Israeli military jets enjoy diplomatic immunity. Harming them under any circumstances is prohibited by the Geneva Convention, the U.N. Charter, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Carrying the timeline a bit further–as far as we can carry it now–on March 19, the same day Lieberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defenses, an Israeli drone carried out an attack in Syria’s southern province of Quneitra, killing one person; on Monday, March 20, reports came out confirming that Russia had summoned the Israeli ambassador over the March 17 attack in Syria; and also today, news has emerged of yet another Israeli air attack inside Syria–the third in three days–said to have been carried out sometime during the night of March 19-20.
Does it appear, from all of this, that Jews are using their power in the interest of peace? Keep in mind, that the events cited here are from one 20-day period in but one month only. Let’s return to the words of Dershowitz:
“Never ever apologize for using our strength and our influence in the interest of peace,” he says, and then he cites “the psalmist” whom he quotes as saying, “God will give the Jewish people strength…only then will God give the Jewish people peace. Peace will come for the Jewish people and the Jewish nation only through strength. Never apologize for using your strength for peace.”
It’s hard to say which biblical passage Dershowitz is referring to (the word “Jewish” is not found anywhere in the Psalms), but I would venture a guess and say that perhaps it’s a reference to Psalm 118, which reads in part:
All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
The whole passage, and particularly the words “all the nations,” would suggest a tribe of people who are at war with the entire world. The notion that such people would use their power to bring about “peace” would seem preposterous and nonsensical.
When the UN report was first released, Israel rushed to invoke the holocaust. According to a Reuters report, “Israel fiercely rejects the allegation and likened the [UN] report to Der Sturmer – a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly anti-Semitic.” There are two ironies here that need to be pointed out. The first is that Falk, one of the authors of the report, is Jewish. The second has to do with Khalef, a Semitic woman of Arab descent–and that such a woman would be accused of “anti-semitism” by those claiming to be Jews but who are not even Semites. How do people who are descended from the Khazars of southern Russia, who are not semitic, get away with accusing actual, genuine Semites of being “anti-Semitic”? Does any of this make sense? It doesn’t have to.
The likening of the report to the Nazi publication mentioned is a knee-jerk, emotional reaction that is devoid of logic–but this too is a manifestation of Jewish power: that accusations made by Jews don’t have to be logical. It is enough simply that it is a Jew making them. This alone renders them beyond question.
Below is a discussion on the issue of Israeli apartheid featured a couple of days ago on Press TV. You will note that one of the guests, Brent Budowsky, a columnist for The Hill, not only denies that Israel is an apartheid state, he even denies the existence of Jewish power.
Apparently Budowsky didn’t get the memo about Dershowitz’s speech at the Stand With Us Conference–or perhaps he did get it but had already previously internalized the unspoken principle that while it’s okay for Jews to discuss Jewish power, the same freedom of speech does not apply to Gentiles.
At any rate, Jewish power is real. It immerses us; we are swimming in it. A future awaits us in which we, Americans, could very well find ourselves facing jail time for criticizing Jews or Israel, much as Europeans now are jailed for questioning the holocaust.
But it could be even worse than that. Much worse. Israel is intent on expanding its boundaries from the Nile to the Euphrates, while Zionist Jews in America seem to have a fixation on an even larger goal: complete, total, unchecked and uninhibited global hegemony, and possibly, in the course of trying to achieve this ambition, nuclear war with Russia if it should come to that. Israeli apartheid, the “species of crime” now being committed against the Palestinians, could end up going global… unless we find a way to defeat it.
The Israeli air attacks on Friday near Palmyra in Syria targeting what Tel Aviv claims to be a convoy ferrying weapons for Hezbollah in Lebanon – and what Damascus alleges was a calculated act directed against the positions of the government forces fighting the Islamic State active in the region – cannot be regarded as a ‘stand-alone’ event.
On the face of it, the Israeli claim lacks credibility since Palmyra is twice removed from the Syrian-Lebanon border in terms of geographical proximity. Possibly, the Syrian government has a point that the Israelis were deliberately targeting its forces. This explains why the Russian Foreign Ministry called in the Israeli ambassador in Moscow on the same day and sought explanation.
Evidently, some ‘ground rule’ as per the unwritten Russian-Israeli understanding over Syrian frontlines has been breached and Moscow took note. In previous instances when Israel attacked Hezbollah – even assassinating its top commanders fighting on Syrian frontlines – Moscow had looked away. But this time around, it promptly signalled displeasure. It stands to reason that Israel crossed some ‘red line’.
At first, Moscow did not publicise its demarche. But then, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman flew off the handle on Sunday with a belligerent remark that Israel “will not hesitate” to destroy Syria’s air defence systems if that country ever again targeted attacking Israeli jets. It was an illogical statement insofar as Israel insists it can violate Syrian air space but Damascus has no right to defend. Liberman also held a veiled threat saying, “We do not want to clash with the Russians.”
Whereupon, on Monday, Moscow disclosed that it had made a demarche. Curiously, the Israeli ambassador had presented his credentials at the Kremlin only the day before he received the summons. As far as diplomatic practices go – and Russians are seasoned practitioners – Moscow made a strong point.
Interestingly, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu had visited Moscow recently with a focused mission to get Russia to dump its alliance with Iran in Syria. From Russian commentaries, it appears he got a short shrift in the Kremlin. (Read a hilarious piece, here, by Israel Shamir.) One likelihood is that Netanyahu showed irritation over the snub. By the way, Liberman is an ethnic Russian Jew.
By making the demarche, Russia inserted itself into what Israel pretended to be a standoff with Damascus, and has warned Israel not to escalate. On the contrary, Israel may have much to be gained through escalation. Consider the following.
Israel is watching with growing despair that Iran has emerged as the ‘winner’ in the Syrian conflict. Israel’s proxies – al-Qaeda affiliates and other extremist groups – are facing defeat. Its plans to create a ‘buffer zone’ in Syrian territory straddling the Golan Heights are in shambles. Israel’s illegal occupation of Golan Heights may come under challenge if Iranian/Hezbollah militia resort to the politics of ‘resistance’.
Israel anticipates that Iran will establish a permanent presence in Syria. There are reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given go-ahead for an Iranian naval base in Latakia, close to the Russian airbase at Hmeymim. If that happens, Iran will be in an even stronger position than before to build up Hezbollah (and Syria and Lebanon) as the bulwark of ‘resistance’ against Israel.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah is also emerging as a more capable fighting force after the baptism under fire in Syria. Hezbollah has a massive stockpile of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles – some estimates put the number as 100,000 – targeting Israel, which deterred an Israeli attack on Lebanon for the past ten years. Israel has no answer to the missile threat from Hezbollah. As an Israeli commentator put it,
- Sending special infantry units to search for rocket and missile launch sites on the ground is a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack. Israel tried to do this in the second Lebanon war (2006) with no real results. What this means is that the only option left to Israel is an immediate, dramatic and aggressive attack against all of Lebanon’s vital infrastructure, or as Israeli officers and senior Israeli officials have been describing for the past decade, “sending Lebanon back to the Stone Age.”
The catch here is that Hezbollah is not spoiling for a fight with Israel, but it will hit back if attacked. Israel tried repeatedly to provoke Hezbollah, but the latter kept cool, given the overriding priorities of the Syrian conflict where it plays a major role in the ground fighting. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah listed recently that targets in Israel include the ammonia plant in Haifa, the nuclear reactors in Dimona and Nahal Sorek, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems weapons development facilities and so on.
The short point is, Israel is desperately keen to somehow get the US directly involved. Israel will not hesitate to precipitate a US-Iranian confrontation. How far President Donald Trump would play ball with Netanyahu is a moot point. Israel may simply create a new fact on the ground whereby US intervention becomes unavoidable. Russia probably senses that.
Channel 4 this week is to present a renewed ‘case against Assad’. Having examined a number of previous such cases advanced via the Western media and NGOs, I have learned to look carefully at whether they claim more than they prove, or are even actively misleading. So I shall be watching the programme with some questions in mind.
Although what follows is very much a note to myself – a reminder to stay critical even as I prepare to be moved emotionally by harrowing human stories – I am posting it here because I do think that if a prosecutor’s case is being made in the court of public opinion, we, the viewing jury, should endeavour – in the spirit of recognizing the right of due process – to imagine together what a counsel for the defence might have asked, given a chance. And it is not just procedures at stake. Those hoping to precipitate regime change leave uncertain what would follow, except that any new regime would be more accommodating to the Western and Gulf states that are backing the Islamist fighters. Those fighters have controlled the areas they have captured by abducting, enslaving, raping, trafficking, beheading people at will, preventing children going to school or the sick receiving treatment, restricting access to food, restricting freedom of movement, and generally disregarding human rights and laws of war. To wish their rule on the Syrian people would, in my opinion, be evil. At the very least, contemplation of it should serve to inject some balance into the assessment of the government’s actions against insurgency and of how best to prevent crimes against humanity.
For what it’s worth, then, here are some questions I shall keep in mind:
– How much does this new ‘case’ recycle material that has been used in previous attempts to sway public opinion (usually just before some important decision is to be taken) only subsequently to be discredited by critical analysts? (I shall watch out particularly for a revival of the notorious and repeatedly discredited Caesar photographs.) I shall also be alert to the presentation of large numbers of alleged victims provided without evidence or corroboration by NGOs created since 2011 with the clear mission of supporting regime change in Syria.
– If new evidence is presented, does the programme explain why it is only now coming to light? What does it show? How credible is it?
– How much of the programme is devoted to conjuring a picture of the horrors of being subjected to appalling mistreatment, as opposed to presenting evidence of occurrences? (I have in mind, for instance, how computerised models of ‘forensic architecture’ were used in the imaginative storytelling technique recently deployed by Amnesty International, in place of actual evidence.)
– Do the programme makers, to enhance the effect, throw in mention of other allegations that they are not directly making and which have already been seriously questioned, if not refuted, by authoritative sources (such as chemical weapons accusations).
– If anonymity is accorded any witnesses heard, are satisfactory grounds given for it? (Otherwise, one is left unsure whether the anonymity really serves to prevent discoveries that would tell against the testimony supplied.)
– Does the programme present a vivid case for a small number of victims and then extrapolate to very large numbers without explaining the methodology? Are the direct witnesses interviewed for the programme definitely representative of larger numbers? Can we have confidence in the numbers presented?
– Finally, I shall be wanting to check whether the programme corrects or repeats the errors and omissions of similar-sounding reports that have been presented before, as for instance, in April 2016 by Ben Taub, whose claims were critically analysed by Daniel Lazare.
I realise that anyone who has not closely scrutinised previous ‘cases’ against Assad might feel that the degree of scepticism implicit here – before the film has even been broadcast – looks somewhat prejudicial. But a documentary is not supposed to be a drama that enlists our willing suspension of disbelief, so a sceptical approach should not be objectionable. More importantly, an unprejudiced commitment to human rights means accepting that the accused has a right of defence. If the media seldom allow any defence to be heard, it is left to us to ask questions of the prosecution’s case. Most important, of course, is our collective obligation – and, I hope, our right – to scrutinise any public pronouncement that could influence support for military deployment in our name.
If none of the issues flagged arises, then I shall be greatly pleased that Channel 4 will have earned the commendation of an erstwhile sceptic for an accurate and illuminating documentary.
 Rick Sterling has made a close study of what he calls the Caesar hoax, and links to it from his summary of it here. For an extensive wiki-style discussion of the Caesar photos, their uses and credibility see the collaborative investigation for A Closer Look On Syria gathered here.
 Among NGOs that have asserted large numbers of deaths and detentions without providing checkable evidence of the people concerned or clear methodological justification for the large numbers projected are Syrian Institute for Justice and Accountability, Violations Documentation Center in Syria, and Syrian Network for Human Rights. If information from these organizations is relied on, then it is subject to the criticism already made of Amnesty International in relying on it. (For an introduction to this, see my earlier piece ‘How We Were Misled About Syria: Amnesty International’.)
 This strategy of the recent Amnesty International publication was widely condemned as tantamount to fabricating evidence. See, for instance, Tony Cartalucci, and Moon of Alabama. I also briefly remarked on it at the time here. Those shown here to have discredited it include former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, who had earlier visited the prison in question, and stated the report ‘would not stand scrutiny’. The Independent acknowledges that there is concern about the report. CNN sets out the immediate political stakes in the controversy at the time. Further critical discussions are cited here.
 Such accusations have repeatedly been leveled at the Syrian government in the media despite considerable evidence and testimony to indicate the opposition’s responsibility for the confirmed uses of chemical weapons in Syria. This has been acknowledged even by opposition sources, along with independent experts in American and UK as well as Russia. It was this awareness in the background that probably explains why the UK and US held back on their planned attacks that took the alleged red line crossing as their justification. For a detailed discussion of these matters, with many key references, is to be found here, and still more exhaustively here.
 For the sake of brevity, I cut the original introduction for this post. As it serves to contextualise the discussion it is restored here for anyone interested:
The government of Bashar Al-Assad has unswervingly sought to defeat the foreign-backed insurgents in Syria by all means necessary. In view of the destruction, death and displacement caused by the warfare, charges of disproportionality could stand to be answered. A proper judgement on such charges may one day be possible.
Those who wish to hasten the pressing of such charges might meanwhile be expected to share Assad’s interest in eliminating terrorism from the territory and in restoring the sway of legitimate government.
Yet, instead, we hear vociferous and repeated calls from a variety of Western PR outlets (which is what I fear so many media and non-governmental organisations are becoming) to pronounce him guilty of crimes against humanity. This could support a bid to sharpen the conflict so as to precipitate regime change. What would result is unclear, except any new regime would be more accommodating to the Western and Gulf states that are backing the Islamist fighters. Those fighters have controlled the areas they have captured by abducting, raping, trafficking, beheading people at will, preventing children going to school or the sick receiving treatment, restricting access to food, restricting freedom of movement, and generally disregarding human rights and laws of war. To wish their rule on the Syrian people would, in my opinion, be evil. At the very least, contemplation of it should serve to inject some balance into the assessment of the government’s failings and of how best to ward off crimes against humanity.
Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on March 18, 2017, on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of Fatima al-Zahra (as), Women’s Day
Extract of the Political Section of the Speech
Today, or (rather) these days are actually a (special) opportunity, namely that the events in Syria and the war waged against Syria have entered their seventh year. That is to say, six years have passed, with all that they contain in terms of sufferings, wars, conspiracies, confrontations and sacrifices of human lives. With the end of the sixth year and the beginning of the seventh, we must stop briefly on this occasion, because it concerns us also in the first place.
All those who met in the first few months of the beginning of the events six years ago of state forces, great powers, regional countries, 140, 130 or 120 countries that have gathered under the name of “Friends Of Syria” and who plotted, doing everything they could (against Syria). They bet on their ability to seize Syria in 2 or 3 months in 2011. Today, with the end of the 6th year, they face a bloody and painful truth, namely rout and failure. After six years, these powerful and important countries of the world and the region have failed, a bitter failure, in achieving their goals.
For six years, tens of billions of dollars of Arab money – Turkey did not spend money, France and the United Kingdom did not spend money. All the money that financed the war in Syria is Arab money. This money could have eliminated the poverty of the Arab world. It could have brought Somalia out of famine and Yemen as well. It could have (re)built the houses of the Palestinians in Gaza. It could have strengthened the Palestinians at Bayt-al-Maqdis (Sanctuary House / Jerusalem). This money could have guaranteed hundreds of thousands of job opportunities for unemployed Arab youth. It could have ended the illiteracy of hundreds of millions, unfortunately, tens of millions of men and women in the Arab world who are illiterate. Not a single dollar has been spent on these problems, but tens of billions of dollars of Arab money have been spent on the war in Syria, against Syria, its regime, its state, its army and its people, and against the Resistance Axis within it.
And tens, hundreds of thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition (were sent there). And they came from all over the world with tens of thousands of fighters, white, black, brown, red, yellow, whatever you want. They have left no side, no color, no tongue, no race, they have brought fighters from every spot of the whole world. The Americans, their allies, the plotters funded and facilitated (sending fighters) and brought tens of thousands of fighters to fight in Syria to achieve a clear and precise goal: to bring down Syria, to get it out of the Resistance Axis and take control of it. To take control of its decisions, its sovereignty, its people and its choices on its territory, and its strategic position on the Mediterranean Sea (between Asia) and Europe, and its strategic position in the struggle against the Israeli enemy.
Today, the result is clear: failure, defeat and retreat.
Well, let me remind you a bit, at the beginning of the 7th year, about the beginning of the first year. We do not deny that some of the people really wanted reforms and changed some realities in Syria. But what came (on the scene) with force and changed all that are the takfiri forces that were brought from all over the world, and who refused political dialogue in the first weeks. They refused any political outcome, any discussion, and their choices were definitive: they went to the bloody, general and total military confrontation. They have formulated sectarian slogans and revived (religious) school quarrels, and have lifted the veil on their objectives and their hostility towards the Resistance in the first weeks.
Well, who brought the al-Qaeda organization? When they arrived in Syria, what was their name? The Islamic State in Iraq. They then added “and in the Levant” (Syria). Then they divided, the members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant divided. There were two factions: Daesh and the Al-Nosra Front. But in truth, they all belong to al-Qaeda, which is listed by the Americans on the list of terrorist organizations, as well as by the UN Security Council, by Saudi Arabia and by Europe. They brought tens of thousands of fighters, whom they regarded as terrorists themselves, gave them money and weapons, opened borders and brought them to Syria. They recognize that they themselves created (these groups), that they created Daesh to fight the Resistance and the Resistance Axis.
Today, the situation is different. I do not want to dwell on this point, and I will just focus on the new elements.
I want to remind you first of all that in the first year, the question did not require much political understanding, and that there was no need to make predictions and wait (and see). Anyone who had studied contemporary experiences in Afghanistan and elsewhere could reach the following conclusion, as I told them in the first months, I addressed the Al-Qaeda organization and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Daesh and the Al-Nosra Front who separated from it, and I said to them: “All of you of all nationalities, you were brought to Syria to gather you there, you were brought to Syria – now, anyone can check this out from 6 years ago – you were brought to Syria to gather you there and use you as combatants to achieve the American-Israeli goals in the region and when you will be pressed to the end, whether you have won or lost, you will be liquidated. We collect you (en masse) in order to liquidate you after having used you. You have been used… – and that is why I called them initially to be careful and wake up, and not to turn into wood and fuel for the fire lit by America and Israel as well as some regional countries, against whom they also plot, and who will pay the price. But sectarianism, foolishness, ignorance and stupidity have given them no opportunity (of lucidity).
They thought they were very smart, they believed that they were instrumentalizing America, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the countries of the world and the West so that they’d allow them to implement their own project in Syria. And they wrote all that in their strategic projects. And that was the pinnacle of stupidity.
Today, what happens? After Daesh became an object of scandal for the American project here, Daesh sees its last days in Iraq – (it’s a question of) weeks, months, (but) it’s over. Daesh has no military or political future in Iraq. And similarly in Syria, Daesh no longer has any military or political future in Syria. At best, they will have dormant cells that will carry out suicide bombings because the suicide bombings targeting civilians in Baghdad, Tikrīt, Damascus, Homs and elsewhere reflect strategic and military failure. When someone sends suicide bombers to kill children, women, in restaurants, passers-by, schoolchildren and students, this reflects his strategic failure and military failure. These are acts of vengeance, not of fighting. This is the future of Daesh. The future of Al-Nosra is the same.
Today, Daesh is bombed by the international coalition led by the United States, Britain, Turkey, Jordan, as well as Russia and the forces fighting them in Syria. And the Al-Nosra Front, the Al-Nosra Front brought (and supported) by the Americans and their Turkish and Gulf allies, the Al-Nosra Front is now bombed in Idlib and at the West of Aleppo. Is not that what I told you six years ago? Now we hear voices rising from Idlib and West of Aleppo against America, its betrayals and hypocrisy. Did you sleep well? After destroying Syria, after destroying Iraq, after destroying Yemen, you finally wake up and you understand? (You realize the nature of) this treacherous and hypocritical America, who uses you then massacres you? That is the truth.
And with that, of course, Israel interferes every day, with various pretexts. The pretext of striking weapons intended for Hezbollah, as they claimed yesterday, for any pretext: on the pretext that a mortar shell hit the Golan (occupied), etc., Israel intervenes and strikes positions of the Syrian Army in order to provide support and assistance to Daesh and these (other) terrorist groups. Today, this arrogant and occupying project, the project of hegemony and control over Syria, I frankly declare to you that it has failed, and that Syria has won, but that it is still waiting for the great and decisive victory. As for the rest of the factions, Daesh will disappear. And the Al-Nosra Front will disappear. And the terrorist takfiri groups will disappear. It is only a matter of time.
Even the world that supported, funded, helped and assisted them has now abandoned them and is fighting them. For the spell has turned against the sorcerer. For the world has discovered that this serpent which he has raised in his bosom (and launched against Syria) has become a danger and a poison to him, in Paris, London, Germany, Belgium, inside Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, etc.
The rest of the factions of the Syrian opposition, what is their current situation? They have no leader, no leadership, no united front, no national project, they don’t know what they want, they are divided, lost, and wander between (foreign) embassies and security services. Yes, there is still a bet on patriotic personalities or cadres of the opposition, that they can participate in the political solution and dialogue to rebuild Syria.
Today, for the commemoration of the birth of (Fatima al-Zahra), the daughter of the Prophet of God, who was sent to the worlds as a Mercy, allow me to renew my address to all those still fighting in Syria in the enemy front, and who believe that they are fighting in the front of Islam, the front of the (Islamic) Community or the front of the Fatherland, and who are 100% wrong. Allow me to appeal to them, to address them and tell them: this project has failed. Your struggle is in vain and leads to nothing but more deaths, battles and destruction, and bloodshed on both sides, which benefits America and Israel.
Look, Netanyahu went to Moscow imploring. Why? He went to intercede with President Putin because he is afraid of the defeat of Daesh in Syria. For the defeat of Daesh for Putin – excuse me, for Netanyahu, constitutes a victory for the Resistance and the Resistance Axis. Because for Netanyahu, Daesh’s defeat in Syria is a failure of the project he has supported for 6 years. So he went to beg (Putin). Oh, what do you do with Daesh, calm down with Daesh! For if you finish Daesh, what are you going to do with Iran, Hezbollah, President Assad, and the rest of the Resistance Axis?
Do not believe, (you Daesh fighters), that you are on the Front of Islam, the Community or the Fatherland. Whether you realize it or not, you have fought for 6 years on the Front of America and Israel and the Front of those who plot against you to kill you, imprison you and massacre you. Will not all this blood poured in Syria and Iraq awaken you? Is not that enough to reconsider things? I call upon them to lay down their arms, to cease fighting, to a real ceasefire, to seek a genuine humanitarian and political solution, to leave the front of hypocrisy for the front of Islam, leave Israel and America for the front of the Community, and leave the front of the enemy for the front of the Resistance. And it is still possible. It is still possible. (I call them to) stop these destructions. Your project has no future.
The Resistance Axis, as we said in the first days and months, today, after six years, from the beginning, we declared that the Resistance Axis would not be defeated in Syria, neither in Iraq, nor in Yemen, and that it would not break. And now that six years have passed, the Resistance Axis triumphs in Syria, and it triumphs in Iraq, and it is steadfast in Yemen where it will also win, if God wills, a great decisive victory. But these people must be aware of what they do with their lives, their blood, their future and their afterlife, and they must reconsider all their bloody actions that persist in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.
The secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, says Israel seeks an end to Russia’s military campaign against the ISIS terrorist group in Syria to avert the Tel Aviv regime’s collapse.
Nasrallah said on Saturday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to express his deep concern over the likely collapse of ISIS in Syria since such a development would mark a great triumph for the resistance front in the Middle East region.
The Hezbollah chief added that the defeat of the ISIS Takfiri group in Syria would be tantamount to the fall of Netanyahu himself.
Russia launched a military campaign against the terrorist groups in Syria in late September 2015 at the official request of the Damascus government.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah said that Western powers were drawing on Takfiri terrorists in order to carry out their schemes in conflict-ridden Syria.
“I have repeatedly called on Syria militants not to put trust in [the] West and implement their plots in Syria, because the US and its allies are only using them as cannon fodder and will abandon [them] as soon as they are defeated,” he said.
He added, “I am telling militants fighting within the ranks of the enemies that you are only serving Israel, and shedding the blood of innocent people.”
The Hezbollah leader noted that the days of ISIS, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, and other terrorist groups fighting to topple the Damascus government are numbered as Syrian army forces continue to achieve victories across the country.
Even those Arab and Western countries that once supported these terror outfits are now fighting them, Nasrallah pointed out.
The Hezbollah chief argued that all the Arab money spent to fan the flames of militancy in Syria over the past six years could have been used to eradicate poverty and illiteracy in the Arab world, feed starving Somalis, and accommodate homeless Palestinians.
Nasrallah said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to express his deep concern over the likely collapse of Daesh in Syria since such a development would mark a great triumph for the resistance front in the Middle East region.
Israel’s minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, has warned the Syrian government against launching ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes inside Syria, threatening to destroy Syrian air defense systems.
“The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation,” Lieberman said on Israeli Public Radio on Sunday.
He added that the Israeli military will target any convoy of missiles or weapons destined for the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.
“The Syrians must understand that they are held responsible for these arms transfers to Hezbollah and that if they continue to allow them then we will do what we have to do,” Lieberman pointed out.
The remarks came two days after the Syrian army announced in a statement that four Israeli fighter jets had violated the Arab country’s airspace, adding its air defense had shot down one of the military aircraft and hit another.
The Israeli warplanes entered the Syrian skies at 2:40 a.m. local time (0040 GMT) on Friday via Lebanese territory, and hit a target on the way to the ancient Semitic city of Palmyra.
“Our air defense engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one, and forced the rest to flee,” the Syrian army said, apparently referring to the Golan Heights.
The Syrian army also slammed Tel Aviv’s strikes as “an act of aggression” meant to assist the Takfiri Daesh terror group.
Israel’s aerial assaults are “a desperate attempt to raise their (Daesh terrorists’) deteriorating morale and divert attention away from the victories which Syrian Arab Army is making in the face of the terrorist organizations,” the statement read.
On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli regime will continue to conduct military attacks against Hezbollah targets inside Syria.
“When we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah and we have intelligence and it is operationally feasible, we act to prevent it,” Netanyahu alleged. “That’s how it was yesterday and that’s how we shall continue to act.”
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Israeli Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu has emerged after an illegal Israeli air strike on Syrian troops in Palmyra. In his statement, he predictably disregarded international law, but he also made what can only be described as a thinly veiled threat against Russia.
He went on to say,
Just who could ‘everyone’ imply. Could the Israeli leader be threatening Russia?
It seems that he is.
Russia has been a consistent ally of the Syrian Arab Republic in her war against terrorism. Israel, which has been an enemy of Syria since the 1940s, is deeply desirous for regime change in one of the few Arab states left, which still pursues an independent foreign policy, one which is openly pro-Palestine.
As a result of Netanyahu’s provocative remarks, Moscow summoned the Israeli Ambassador to Russia to clarify the remarks. Russia is in a unique position as a power that is an ally of Syria, a traditional friend of Palestine, but also a power that Israel listens to and does not want to overtly upset.
Indeed, Netanyahu was in Moscow just over a week ago. If Israel thinks it is in a position to provoke Russia and threaten Russia into changing its established policy in Syria, they really ought to think again.
One must remain hopeful that the Israeli Ambassador got a stern warning from Russia, something along the lines of, ‘stay out of Syria and stay out of our business in Syria as a legal partner of Damascus’.