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Israeli strike on Syria threatens spillover
May 4, 2013, 4:33 pm

More than a million Syrians have fled the fighting to neighbouring countries [Getty Images]

More than a million Syrians have fled the fighting to neighbouring countries [Getty Images]

A number of US officials have confirmed to the media that Israel carried out an air raid against Syrian targets Friday.

Although Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv have refused to comment on the air raid, unnamed US officials say the target was a convoy of trucks carrying advanced missile components to the Lebanese Hezbollah faction.

The strike, the second in a year, appears to conform to an Israeli policy of preventing the transfer of “game-changing weaponry” from Syria to its allies in Lebanon.

Peter Lavelle, a senior journalist and host of CrossTalk, a debate programme on Russia Today TV network, says Israel has demonstrated that it is determined to play a role in what could become post-Assad Syria.

The government of Bashar Al-Assad has been embroiled in a vicious civil war which has claimed the lives of over 70,000 people in the past two years.

UN/Arab League Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had earlier warned that a continued civil war in Syria would lead to a failed state in the heart of the Middle East. “Syria will turn into hell” unless both sides come to the negotiating table, Brahimi said. He warned that by the end of 2013 the death toll could rise to 100,000.

Lavelle believes Israel may be grossly miscalculating. He says Israel is – if it is aware of it or not – choosing sides in conflict that is fluid and blurry.

“We saw this during the Lebanese Civil War and Israel’s involvement there ended as an epic fail. Additionally, the strike shows that the conflict in Syria continues to be internationalized. Outside powers have their surrogates on the ground and this has added to the stalemate,” Lavelle says.

“Up until the civil war, Israel had manageable “cold war” with the Assad regime and quiet border with Syria. Those days are over. Whatever happens in Syria, it is safe to say Israel will be as isolated in the region as ever and its security no better off,” Lavelle adds.

In January, Israeli fighter jets struck targets near Damascus. Syrian officials at the time said the Israeli attack was a violation of a 1974 military disengagement agreement following the end of the 1973 October War, also known as the Yom Kippur War.

The Israeli attack was condemned by many countries including Russia, Iran and the 22 nations of the Arab League.

Mark Sleboda, a senior lecturer and researcher on the subjects of international relations and security studies in the department of international relations and centre for conservative studies in the sociology faculty of Moscow State University, says Israel’s most recent airstrike against Syria is another in a long string of clear acts of aggression against its neighbors of the highest order.

“It risks turning the Syrian civil war into a regional conflagration which could draw in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.”

On Friday night there was no official Syrian reaction, nor mention of the Israeli attack in local media. But Lebanese President Michel Suleiman denounced the raids, accusing Israel of breaking international law.

The BRICS Post


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