The attacks came after the Israeli military acknowledged attacking the Arab Republic hundreds of times over the years in order to eliminate what it regards to be the existential threat posed to it by Iran, and they also follow Prime Minister Netanyahu's promise to do everything that's needed to dislodge his enemy's forces from Syria. While the latest strikes themselves therefore weren't too unexpected, what was surprising to many observers is that Syria was able to repel most of them.
Damascus didn't even employ the much-touted S-300s that its armed forces are currently being trained to use but lesser-known systems such as the Pantsirs and BUKs. This proves that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is becoming increasingly capable of defending its sovereign territory from conventional aggression abroad, though it remains to be seen whether it can continue to do so if Israel decides to overwhelm the country with missile swarms. After all, Israel only launched a handful of missiles against its targets and might have been probing Syria's defenses prior to commencing a more sustained assault sometime in the future after it discovers the proverbial chinks in its neighbor's armor.
In the meantime, Iran has always maintained that it doesn't have any "boots on the ground" and that its in-country advisors are legally present in Syria at the request of its democratically elected and legitimate government. Accordingly, they'll leave if asked to do so, though no such request has thus far been made, which is why they insist that they'll stay in Syria to continue fighting terrorism there. Nevertheless, Israel doesn't believe Iran's claims and still regards its presence there as an existential threat, suspecting that Tehran intends to use the country as a launching pad for future attacks against it. Whether truly the case or not, Israel made it clear that it won't back down, though neither will Iran.
As the Israeli-Iranian proxy war in Syria intensifies, it might be up to Russia to mediate a solution.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Casey Washer from Ohio, he has a bachelors in Russian from OSU, and teaches Israeli history and Hebrew at a Jewish private school and Pouya Sharif, Iranian student activist from Germany.
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