Could Israel’s latest strikes on Syria trigger a regional war?

Jonathan Marcus writes: Back in January of this year, Israel struck a weapons convoy that intelligence sources suggest was carrying SA-17 advanced surface-to-air missiles that were to be transferred from Syria to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

That strike was a warning, an effort to dissuade the regime of President Bashar al-Assad from contemplating any similar transfers to his allies in Lebanon.

These latest strikes suggest that this hoped-for deterrent effect has not been achieved. They demonstrate the Israeli Air Force’s ability to hit targets well inside Syria, but they could be the first of many – a regular pattern of attacks that at any moment could risk provoking Syria, along with Hezbollah, into a regional war. The nightmare of a major spill-over of the Syria crisis would have become a reality.

So what is Israel’s concern? While a good share of Israel’s and indeed Washington’s attention is taken up by fears about Syria’s chemical arsenal falling into the wrong hands, these latest air strikes underscore Israel’s equal worry about sophisticated conventional weapons being passed to Hezbollah. This includes sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, anti-shipping missiles, or accurate long-range ground-to-ground missiles. Such concerns are longstanding. [Continue reading…]

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3 thoughts on “Could Israel’s latest strikes on Syria trigger a regional war?

  1. rosemerry

    How terrible if poor Israel had interference in its use of the Golan Heights stolen from Syria; if Hezbollah managed to get sophisticated weapons that only innocent Israel is allowed in abundance.

  2. Norman

    This could backfire. What is Israel going to do if/when Assad falls or leaves? Who will take over? Probably the Salafies, in one guise or another. Israel can’t do it alone, not without the U.S. intervening alongside. This looks more like the quest for all the Oil & Gas offshore.

  3. Ian F Clark

    The stakes are high, especially for the Iranians whose influence in Lebanon is so threatened and for the Alawites whose struggle is seen as existential. Israel’s precision strikes are unlikely to exacerbate the crisis.

    It seems the Sunni in Lebanon are unmoved to take up arms although must be wary of Hezbollah activity over the border. As for Jordan, uneasy lies the head.

    Viewing the viciousness of this internecine struggle, the world will probably cut the Israelis considerable slack.

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