Paris, 13 Sept. (IPS) On Wednesday 5 September, Syria announced that its airspace had been violated by Israel.
Since then, strange things have happened: First and the strangest of all is the Syrian “mild” approach to the provocation. Ever since the raid on last Tuesday, Damascus had adopted a soft profile. It even did not ask for resolution or bold action by the United Nations against Israel when it presented the Security Council on Tuesday 11 September an official protest against the Jewish State. Except some angry rhetoric in the press and by some officials, including military generals warning Israel of “dire retaliation”, Syria remained cool.
The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left.
The second strange thing was the silence of Israel. Not only have neither cabinet ministers nor IDF sources, or even the Prime Minister’s Office, commented on the intrusion. They have neither confirmed nor denied it, although in the past Israel trumpets when it performs such an operation, either in Syria or Lebanon. But in a country known for leakage of secret news by its versatile press, analysts were puzzled to see that even journalists did not put the question to officials during interviews, as they have been told to ignore the incident.
Then, it was the silence of the Arab world. The raid on the village of Tal Abyadh, near Deir az Zohr, 160 Kilometres north of Raqqa was almost completely ignored by Arab media and no Arab capital, including the Arab League, made any protest.
Amidst this “sea of silence” it was only the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria’s main political and military ally and its financial backer that expressed vehemence: Pro-governmental press denounced this “deliberate act of vendetta” against Syria. Iranian fanatic President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad contacted the Syrian leader Bashar Asad, assuring him on “total Iranian support” for Syria and expressing his country's willingness to stand by Damascus.
North Korea also expressed solidarity with Syria while Russia, Syria’s main arms supplier, issued a statement of condemnation and said the violation was “unacceptable”.
For its part, Turkey, which has intelligence and military cooperation agreements with Israel, protested to Tel Aviv about two fuel tankers belonging to Israelis F-15 long-range bombers, found inside Turkish territory, near Syrian borders, and demanded explanations?
While Israel was silent, it was the American media that speculated about the reasons of the attack.
One theory says Israel wanted to test Syrian defenses, especially after reports that Damascus had received new ballistic missiles from Russia. The objectives of the intrusion would be to "feel the waters" before Israel actually engaged in war with the Syrians. This was seconded by Israeli counter-terrorism expert Boaz Ganor, who said his country was "collecting intelligence on long-range missiles" deployed by Syria in the north.
“The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” the official said. He said it was unclear whether the Israeli strike had produced any evidence that might validate that belief”, an American newspaper quoted un-named American.
On the one hand, the Syrians warn of the consequences and are angry that no one seems interested in condemning Israel’s illegal raid. On the other hand, they are not talking about the “strategic” target that was bombed in their territory - according to Lebanese press. If they admit it, this would be a troubling sign that they are weighing a serious response”, commented a Lebanese paper.
“North Korea may be cooperating with Syria on some sort of nuclear facility in Syria, according to new intelligence the United States has gathered over the past six months, sources said. The evidence, said to come primarily from Israel, includes dramatic satellite imagery that led some U.S. officials to believe that the facility could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons”, Joshua Landis, the author of the interesting blog “Syria Comment”, reported on Thursday.
It is an open secret that Iran provides military hardware on its own to Syria.
“Israel completely destroyed a long-range-missile base in Syria, and Israeli leaders also suspect Syria and Iran are building nuclear arms with the help of North Korea, it was reported yesterday”, The New York Post said, adding: “The facilities were allegedly supplied with atomic material that North Korea developed before it agreed under U.S. pressure to shut down its nuclear program”.
Iran has a long standing collaboration with North Korea for the construction of missiles, but also on nuclear technology. Iran’s best known missiles, the Shahab, are based on old North Koran missile technology.
It is an open secret that Iran provided military hardware on its own to Syria, including some versions the home-made Shahab missiles and few types of SCUD B and C, , which is based on North Korean technology.
Some Iranian sources disclosed that it was with Iranian cash that Russia agreed to sell new military equipments to Damascus.
At the same time, Syria is the only route for Iran to send weapons for the Lebanese Hezbollah, its protégé and “enfant cheri”.
According to The Jerusalem Post, American experts think that the targets hit by Israeli bombers were depots where Iran and Syria stocks weapons or the Hezbollah. All these speculations are rejected vehemently by Damascus. Syria’s Envoy to the United Nations told journalists on Wednesday that “Israel didn’t bomb anywhere. As soon they met our anti-defence, they fled back. The aim of Israel was to torpedo the peace process”.
On Wednesday 12 September, as Syria was officially lodging a protest with the United Nations Security Council on the incident, without, however, demanding any sanctions or action being taken against Israel, an Arab language Israeli newspaper, the Assennara, citing anonymous Israeli sources, said that the Israeli military jets "bombed in northern Syria a Syrian-Iranian missile base financed by Iran.... It appears that the base was completely destroyed".
The news is interesting in many points and could be the best explanation for the attack. ENDS ISRAEL SYRIA 13907