2 February 2013, 17:58

Israel's air attack against Syria heralds new regional conflicts

Israel's air attack against Syria heralds new regional conflicts

Israel has become involved in the Syrian conflict. The Israeli air force has delivered a blow on a research centre on the outskirts of Damascus. Syria, Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah are threatening Israel with retaliation. Experts of the Voice of Russia say that Israel’s tactics have considerably increased the risk of a new conflict in the Middle East.

Russia has condemned Israel’s activities calling them an unprovoked attack against a sovereign state. This is a gross violation of the UN Charter and is unacceptable, whatever its motives are, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s manifest reads.

Syria’s representative in the UN has declared that Damascus reserves the right for retaliatory measures. Khaled Davud, a representative of the National Salvation Front, expressed the opinion of most Syrians in his interview with The Voice of Russia.

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There are several versions of the incident. The radical Syrian opposition states that Israeli aircraft bombed the chemical weapons research centre headed by the Syrian president’s brother. The Washington Post reports that Israel did not destroy the centre but only a motorcade transporting Russian-made anti-aircraft guns to Lebanon. Another version is that the motorcade was carrying Yakhont anti-ship missiles or even Skad strategic/tactical missiles.

Israel refrains from comments but Lebanese political scientist Imad Rizk says that they are not required because explanations lie on the surface.

"The timing of the attack is symptomatic. Binyamin Netanyahu has returned to big politics. He needed that operation to consolidate the Israeli government and his own position in it. Next, a new Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been appointed in the US. The Israeli and US military held consultations the day before the bombing. It looks like the attack became the US and Israel’s joint declaration of intending to participate in the Syrian conflict. We can expect an open coordination of activities between Israel, the US and their allies in the Middle East.”

This week witnessed Israel’s first but not last blow on Syria, Vladimir Sotnikov from the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences believes.

“Israel will keep delivering blows on facilities or forces participating in the Syrian conflict. They would be either Islamist groups of troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad. I can foresee that as the crisis becomes worse Israel could expand its participation in such attacks. Israel fears the Islamic element in the Syrian crisis. The main reason for concern is not so much Islamists’ raising their heads in Syria but the prospect of a link between Islamists in Syria and Hamas and Hezbollah groups that are Israel’s traditional enemies. It would be a nightmare for Israel to find itself surrounded by them.

Herbie Keynon, The Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic editor, told The Voice of Russia that Israel was ready for a counterattack.

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Israel’s attack against Syria took place immediately after Turkey deployed NATO Patriot missile systems on the Syrian border.

Under the circumstances, efforts on the settlement of the Syrian crisis become especially important. The main expectations are associated with special envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States Lahdar Brahimi’s new peace plan. Russia has announced that it supports his efforts. Moscow finds it reasonable to continue discussions in the Action Group for Syria which consists of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the main regional forces.

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