Hands-Off Syria

Barack Obama,Foreign Policy,Iran,Israel,Lebanon,Middle East,Neoconservatism

It’s not often that I agree with Barack Obama, but his hands-off Syria policy, if it is to be believed, is, I’m sorry to say, the right one. It is unlikely, unfortunately, that the US is uninvolved in some covert operation in Syria. One “international affairs and defense analyst” told RT that “since 2012, if not earlier, weapons have been supplied to the rebels … a covert supply of weapons, of course – through Turkey and with the assistance of Saudi, Qatari and Turkish intelligence services.”

As for Israel’s strafing of Syria, what triggered this Israeli strike? The “crisis in 2006 was triggered by cross-border raids on Israel by Hamas in Gaza and by Hezbollah in Lebanon.” Journalist and Middle East expert Ali Rizk is searching for provocation (as we libertarians ought to):

Has there been any military action, has Israel been attacked by any side, whether it be Hezbollah or Syria? Has Israel been attacked by any side whatsoever? Israel has not been attacked.
So we hear this talk about game-changing weapons. But that doesn’t give the right or justification for such escalation…I have to emphasize, the clear message if anyone had any doubts I think now it has become clear: Israel wants Bashar Assad to fall. That is Israel’s choice. Netanyahu himself has said time and again: “Syria is the linchpin between Iran and Hezbollah.”

BBC News’ Jonathan Marcus thinks he’s found justification. Neoconservatives will concur. “According to US intelligence sources,” he reports, “the target of the first of these latest Israeli attacks [inside Syria] which took place overnight on Thursday was a shipment of ground-to-ground missiles at a warehouse at Damascus airport.”

…these latest air strikes underscore Israel’s equal worry about sophisticated conventional weapons being passed to Hezbollah. This includes sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, anti-shipping missiles, or accurate long-range ground-to-ground missiles. Such concerns are longstanding. … The missiles, which had been shipped from Iran, according to the sources, were Fateh-110s – a mobile, highly accurate solid-fuelled missiles with the capability of hitting Israel’s main population centres, like Tel Aviv, from southern Lebanon.
…What’s not clear, American officials admit, is exactly who the missiles were intended for – the Syrian army or Hezbollah. But the airport warehouse is said to have been under the control of personnel from Hezbollah and Iran’s paramilitary Quds Force.