Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

The battle for Syria's skies will see a move from proxy clashes to direct ones

By       Message Jonathan Cook       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

Valuable 3   Must Read 2   Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 4/29/18

Author 51910
Become a Fan
  (20 fans)

From The National

From youtube.com: Syrian air defence system shot down Israeli Jet {MID-287527}
Syrian air defence system shot down Israeli Jet
(Image by YouTube, Channel: BORZZIKMAN)
  Permission   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

The hidden battle in Syria -- the one that rarely appears on our television screens -- has been raging for years between Israel and a coalition comprising the Syrian government, Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

Watching over the proceedings without directly intervening has been Russia, although that might be about to change.

The prize is control over Syrian territory but the battlefield is Syria's skies.

- Advertisement -

According to United Nations figures, the Israeli military violated Syrian airspace more than 750 times in the four-month period leading up to last October, with its warplanes and drones spending some 3,200 hours over the country. On average, more than six Israeli aircraft entered Syrian airspace each day in that period.

Since war broke out in Syria just over seven years ago, Israeli fighter jets are believed to have carried out hundreds of offensive missions.

Israel regards the stakes as high. It wants Syria to remain an enfeebled state, ensuring Bashar Al Assad's government cannot again become a regional foe. But Israel also needs to prevent other powerful, hostile actors from being drawn into the resulting vacuum.

- Advertisement -

Israel achieved one major aim early on: Western powers insisted that the Syrian government be disarmed of its large arsenal of chemical weapons, Damascus's only deterrent against an Israeli nuclear threat.

Since then, Israel's focus has shifted to Iran and blocking its ambitions on various fronts: to prop up Mr Al Assad, establish a military presence close to Israel's northern border and use Syria as a conduit for transferring arms to Hezbollah.

Iran's aim is to recreate a balance of terror between the two sides and free itself from diplomatic isolation; Israel's is to maintain its military pre-eminence and dominance of the Middle East's skies.

In addition, Israel seeks to exploit Syria's collapse to claim permanent title over the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in 1967 and later annexed in violation of international law.

Mike Pompeo, the hawkish new US Secretary of State, is due in Jerusalem on Sunday to discuss the fate of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, due for renewal next month.

Israel hopes the US will tear up the deal, allowing sanctions to be intensified and forcing Iran to concentrate on its diplomatic woes and mounting protests at home rather than project its influence into Syria.

- Advertisement -

In the meantime, tensions are ratcheting up in Syria. Unusually, Israel admitted this month that it was behind a strike on an Iranian base in Syria that killed seven Iranian troops. According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel targeted an anti-aircraft battery under construction, one Tehran hoped would limit Israel's freedom to patrol Syria's skies.

The attack followed Israel's interception of a drone over northern Israel, presumably dispatched to gain the same kind of intelligence about Israeli military bases that Israel has of Iranian bases in Syria.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

Valuable 3   Must Read 2   Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The battle for Syria's skies will see a move from proxy clashes to direct ones

American liberals unleashed the Trump monster

After Sy Hersh's Bombshell Investigation, Why Won't Media Tell the Real Story of Trump's Military Strike in Syria?

Mandela: a Dissenting Opinion

Tide Turns against Israel: Pariah Status and Isolation Lie Ahead

Why Gaza must suffer again -- The four guilty parties behind Israel's attack