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May 6, 2013 1:00 pm

Russia: Israeli Airstrikes Increase Chance of Foreign Intervention in Syria

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IDF Soliders along Israel-Syria border. Photo: wiki commons.

Russia said Monday it feared that reports of recent Israeli strikes on Syrian territory would lead to further foreign intervention in Syria.

“We are seriously concerned by the signs of preparation of global public opinion for possible armed intervention in the long-running internal conflict in Syria,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

Russia has long backed Syria and has used its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to block Western-backed efforts to punish the Syrian regime for its ongoing war against rebels.

Russia was also analyzing the “reports of Israeli air strikes on May 3 and May 5 on sites in the suburbs of Damascus, which caused particular alarm,” Lukashevich said.

“The further escalation of armed confrontation sharply increases the risk of creating new areas of tension, in addition to Syria, in Lebanon, and the destabilization of the so far relatively calm atmosphere on the Lebanese-Israeli border.”

“The internationalization of the extremely dangerous and destructive internal conflict in Syria must not be permitted,” he said, calling for “decisive efforts aimed at shifting the events in Syria into a peaceful channel.”

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  • Israel has made clear a number of times that it would act militarily under either of two conditions.

    The first red line occurs if Israel detects that Jihadist rebel forces (at this point they are in the vanguard of the Sunni revolution and probably represent a majority of the foot soldiers) are closing in on a chemical weapons facility.

    The second red line concerns missiles and rockets* destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran. The Iranians supply their proxy with weaponry which transits through Syria because Iran and Lebanon do not share a border. The Israelis have stated many times that if they identify the proscribed missiles and rockets, they will intervene militarily and destroy the shipment. There are exactly two takeaways from the recent Israeli attacks on missile shipments in Syria.

    The first and most important concerns Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is well known for tough talk and threatening words. His statements that Israel must be wiped off the map,* that Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be removed from the body and his denial of the Holocaust are well known. He also deploys his Hezbollah surrogates to other countries to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli tourists and diplomatic personnel. He has given the Assad regime billions of dollars in munitions and lately has ordered thousands of Hezbollah militia members as well as elements of Iran’s al Quds force into Syria to bolster Assad’s chances of defeating the Sunni revolution.

    We all reach moments of truth in our lives where the stuff we are made of manifests itself. Iran’s greatest ally in the world, Syria, has been attacked by Iran’s greatest enemy in the world, Israel. Yet Ahmadinejad has been downright silent, as meek as a lamb. He has made no public appearances since the first Israeli bombing mission two days ago. His stock at home, particularly among the Islamists is plummeting, as he appears weak and impotent – unable or unwilling to back up his tough talk and threats when given the perfect opportunity and the perfect pretext to prove his mettle. The latest joke on the streets of Tehran is, “Our president talks tough, but Netanyahu acts tough.”

    After all of the incessant threats and bellicose talk directed toward Israel, he has shown himself to be a paper tiger, after all. Indeed, if we are defined in this world at all, it is by our deeds, not our words. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cowering from and frightened of confronting “the Zionist entity.”

    The second take-away is that there is at least one world leader who when he issues red lines actually means it.

    * Missiles have guidance systems built in; rockets do not. You simply point them in the desired direction and hope for good results.

    * The precise translation is: “Israel must be wiped off the page of time.” Its etymology stems from an ancient Persian quote. Nevertheless, it is a distinction without a difference.