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Thread: Israel strikes Syrian convoy

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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    Israel strikes Syrian convoy

    WSJ: Israel informed US officials of Syria strike
    By JPost.com Staff
    Yaakov Lappin 01/31/2013

    American officials have told the New York Times that Jerusalem had given the US advance warning of an Israeli air strike at dawn on Tuesday on a convoy carrying weapons in Syria, close to the Lebanese border. Wednesday's strike on the the convoy, which has not been officially confirmed by Israel, came after hours of what Lebanese army sources described as repeated invasions of its airspace by Israeli warplanes. Syria’s military command on Wednesday night denied that a convoy had been attacked, saying that a military research facility had been the target. The White House and the Israel Defense Forces have declined to comment

    The Wall Street Journal report cites a Western official as saying that the strike targeted a convoy of trucks carrying Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missile launchers to Hezbollah, in a border area west of Damascus. Hezbollah acquisition of such missiles could hinder Israel’s ability to maneuver freely over Lebanon for surveillance or target Hezbollah targets in any future conflict. Other foreign reports on the strike also said a weapons convoy carrying “game-changing” arms from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon had been hit. Reuters cited one Western diplomat as saying that the target was “a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon,” adding that the consignment seemed unlikely to have included chemical weapons. Other reports suggested that the weapons hit were Yakhont anti-ship missiles or powerful Scud D surface-to-surface missiles. There was no word on whether the convoy carried chemical weapons.

    Lebanese sources reported the entry of 12 Israel Air Force jets in waves on Tuesday afternoon and evening. The fighter planes flew over the southwestern Lebanese town of Nakoura, then headed northeast over Bint Jbail toward the Syrian border, according to the reports. At 2 a.m., the jets were reportedly heard heading back to Israel. A source among the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad said an air strike at around dawn blasted a convoy on a mountain track about 5 kilometers south of where the main Damascus-Beirut highway crosses the border. “It attacked trucks carrying sophisticated weapons from the regime to Hezbollah,” the source said, adding that it took place inside Syria, though the border in the area is poorly defined.
    Source: JPost.com

    Whether initiated by Assad or Hezbollah, the transfer of advanced Syrian weaponry into Lebanon will not be tolerated. In concert with this strike, a second Iron Dome anti-missile battery has been moved north towards the Lebanese border.
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    No one really knows what happened, and Israel is shutting up about the whole thing. Reports include an arms convoy, an SA-17 delivery to Hezbollah, a Syrian Army chemical weapons facility, and even that there was no air strike, the rebels attacked the convoy.

    Iran and Russia are being belligerent about the whole thing, but nothing aside from words at the moment.
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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    Although Israel is being mum, US, Lebanese, Syrian, and rebel officials have confirmed an attack inside Syria by IAF jets/drones. Two different targets have been reported. It could very well be that multiple targets were attacked and destroyed.

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    As Mihais says in his byline, "Those who know don't speak...". The message was delivered to the responsible parties and targets destroyed. Speculation by others and idle curiousity by the likes of myself don't need confirmation.

    On a related note, I'd not be surprised by a concerted Israeli air campaign at some point in the not-too-distant future against key ammo/armament supply facilities throughout Syria. Should the Syrian government fall, those weapons must not be available for any following regime or accessible by POG. It will be difficult for the Russians to resupply the next government given their posture during this civil war. Iran is likely incapable of providing neither the sophisticated weaponry nor in the amounts currently employed by the Syrian military.
    Last edited by S2; 31 Jan 13, at 15:08.
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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    On a related note, I'd not be surprised by a concerted Israeli air campaign at some point in the not-too-distant future against key ammo/armament supply facilities throughout Syria. Should the Syrian government fall, those weapons must not be available for any following regime or accessible by POG. It will be difficult for the Russians to resupply the next government given their posture during this civil war. Iran is likely incapable of providing neither the sophisticated weaponry nor in the amounts currently employed by the Syrian military.
    Sir,I won't be surprised if the Russians give the Israelis the intel on those locations.Not only they won't supply the next gov. but they have every intent on them being as disarmed as possible.Hezbs are really light weights if/after Assad falls.

    We may even see the POG kicking the new regime inside Syria.The lil' Satan Israel won't cut heads,but the Sunnis will do exactly that to the Shia,Allawites and Christians.The coat is further away from the skin than the shirt.

    If my eyes were blue I'd talk behind the closed doors with everyone that will oppose the FSA in the Syrian Civil War 2.0 The longer they smash each other,the weaker a fundamentalist regime can be.Besides,I'm somehow fond of the Christians there.I won't like them gone and destroyed by the idiots.
    Those who know don't speak
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    It's being reported verbally here that the primary targets were anti-aircraft systems being trucked to Lebannon.
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    In Memoriam Military Professional Minskaya's Avatar
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    U.N. envoy says Security Council must act on Syria
    BEIRUT | Thu Jan 31, 2013

    More than 60,000 people have died and 700,000 have fled the country in the 22-month-old conflict but the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have been deadlocked on how to negotiate an end to the war. Lakhdar Brahimi, appointed as mediator in August, said it had become clear the Syrian parties in the conflict were not going to resolve it on their own. "There is no other arena now to deal with this issue and seek the salvation of Syria except through the Security Council."
    Source: Reuters

    During the past week, Israel sent emissaries to both Washington and Moscow with a warning that the situation in Syria was spiraling out of control. UN/Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is also repeating the same message of dire warning. Israel will obviously not sit idle at the prospect of weapons-transfers to non-state actors. Israel has fired a warning shot over the bow. The hope of containment is vanishing with each passing day. The possibility of a wider regional conflict is now a very real possibility.

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    Please forgive me but I do not believe that Israel, nor the 'west' or Russia as modern 'powers' have really yet come to terms with this 'Arab spring' and it's consequences for 'us' all. Sure it's fine for the Israeli's to intercept convoys of weapons systems that may potentially threaten in future - seems to be that preemption is still the rule in the Israeli establishment and that has many consequences should the policy be expanded further from the border. My point is that 'democracy' in an overwhelmingly Islamicly populated State is not what we recognise as 'democracy' within our own societies. It is de facto dictatorship by the majority and this 'Muslim Brotherhood' majority, with their assorted 'radicals' who will always try to masquerade as 'moderate', are neither 'democratic' nor well meaning. They are 'democratic' in so far as they constitute a majority and willing to broker a peace with Israel only because Egypt now controls arms shipments to Gaza... Mursi has won the southern flank. These people are not willing to live and let live, they have an agenda and if/when Assad is overthrown, as looks increasingly likely, we shall have another 'Brotherhood' state to the north of Israel. You can bet your life that the Iranians will be in there. Democracy in this context is an excuse using 'western language' so that we sympathise. Do you suppose that any of them will pass laws for minority rights and keep the laws? Same as South Africa.

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    These days undemocratic Egypt looks a lot like Europe in late 60s early 70s. Was there democracy in Europe?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    It's being reported verbally here that the primary targets were anti-aircraft systems being trucked to Lebannon.
    SA-17's would be a threat to the IAF and worth taking out. Syria also has the Buk system, but I don't think it was the SA-17. The Buk system is a bit large and its complex and advanced Tube Arm and Snow Drift radars would be a dead give away that PoG has them. It would also probalby violate all sorts of export controls with Russia and be prohibitively expensive for the Syrians and PoG. I think SA-17 may be a typo for SA-16/18/24 MANPADS which are a credible threat to low flying aircraft.

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    I can understand that Hezbollah would gain a significant leg up on Israel if it got SAMs, but why now? Why would Assad (assuming he knew their destination) turn them over to Hezbollah while he is in the middle of military struggle for his existence? He not only needs them to counter the threat of external air strikes, but he can ill afford to give his enemies a reason to retaliate. Perhaps they were not going to Hezbollah. Perhaps the Assad regime wanted to set up a SAM site outside its borders. If so, Lebanon would be an ideal location. Once there, what would be their likely purpose? Offhand, I can think of only one: to draw Israel into the conflict and then appeal for help from Iran and the Muslim world to combat the 'Zionist devils'. One other possibility is that Assad has lost control of his military and elements within the government are freelancing weapon transfers to Hezbollah for money, protection or ideology, or all three. Of course, we still don't know for sure what the convoy was carrying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    I can understand that Hezbollah would gain a significant leg up on Israel if it got SAMs, but why now? Why would Assad (assuming he knew their destination) turn them over to Hezbollah while he is in the middle of military struggle for his existence? He not only needs them to counter the threat of external air strikes, but he can ill afford to give his enemies a reason to retaliate. Perhaps they were not going to Hezbollah. Perhaps the Assad regime wanted to set up a SAM site outside its borders. If so, Lebanon would be an ideal location. Once there, what would be their likely purpose? Offhand, I can think of only one: to draw Israel into the conflict and then appeal for help from Iran and the Muslim world to combat the 'Zionist devils'. One other possibility is that Assad has lost control of his military and elements within the government are freelancing weapon transfers to Hezbollah for money, protection or ideology, or all three. Of course, we still don't know for sure what the convoy was carrying.
    Drawing Israel into a war in Lebanon would work almost as well politically. Both inside Syria and in the wider Arab street. Such a war would also block Isralei-Turkish raproachment.

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    JAD_333 Reply

    "I can understand that Hezbollah would gain a significant leg up on Israel if it got SAMs, but why now...?"

    Quid pro quo for continuing support while Assad is down and vulnerable to leverage? Dunno but a guy needing a committed mercenary element answering to leaders aligned to Assad beats relying solely upon a waffling army whose allegiance from unit to unit, man to man is increasingly questionable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    I can understand that Hezbollah would gain a significant leg up on Israel if it got SAMs, but why now? Why would Assad (assuming he knew their destination) turn them over to Hezbollah while he is in the middle of military struggle for his existence? He not only needs them to counter the threat of external air strikes, but he can ill afford to give his enemies a reason to retaliate. Perhaps they were not going to Hezbollah. Perhaps the Assad regime wanted to set up a SAM site outside its borders. If so, Lebanon would be an ideal location. Once there, what would be their likely purpose? Offhand, I can think of only one: to draw Israel into the conflict and then appeal for help from Iran and the Muslim world to combat the 'Zionist devils'. One other possibility is that Assad has lost control of his military and elements within the government are freelancing weapon transfers to Hezbollah for money, protection or ideology, or all three. Of course, we still don't know for sure what the convoy was carrying.
    JAD,

    The first problem here is that we don't really know what is going on within the Syrian regime. It has always been a bit on the opaque side, it is worse now. We also don't have a clear picture of what is happening at ground level. We know some things but not others. As a result all we can really do with confidence is put out possibilities based on a narrow informational base. What might 'make sense' to us migtht have less than zero correlation to what 'makes sense' in Syria.

    Personally I'm less than convinced by the 'attempt to provoke Israel' theory. Hitting a convoy near lebanon isn't exactly going to set the Islamic world alight. I suspect there are other moves he could make that would do more to either provoke Israel or get whatever support that would bring. The quid pro quo S2 mentioned is a definate possibility - right now Assad needs loyal troops more than he needs SAMs. Those western jets may never appear, but the rebels are slowly strangling his regime. Perhaps he is shoring up his allies in order to ensure a 'safe haven' if he needs to bug out. Perhaps the Iranians have a hand in this - they may want to get as much kit to hezbollah as they can while the land route is still open.

    The interesting bit for me is that Israel is getting involved at all. Risky move. Wonder what they know that we don't.


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