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13 January 2017

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Frank

I can't fathom why Putin would risk everything in Syria for the zionists. Russia has gained so much, probably the biggest winner in this war if I had to pick one. Why in the world would he greenlight Israel to possibly screw all of that up?

I think the more likely scenario is that Israel was trying to assassinate someone. This seems to be their MO. The only way I can think that Syria might be able to retaliate is in the Golan Heights on a small scale. Maybe an incident or two where zionist agents coordinating with rebels are killed or captured.

The Twisted Genius

I also noticed the Israelis chose missiles rather than their F-16s, probably out of concern of Syrian/Russian air defense capabilities and intentions. While Russian air defense is not some impervious, magical shield, I think the Russians would rather have the Syrians stand up on their own rather than being over-protective. Like letting your child get a few bruises as he learns to fend for himself. Why this attack now? I have no idea.

ambrit

This is too curious. Too many variables for the "layman" observer to make sense of this.
Why this base? Are there any special targets there?
If missiles, air launched or ground launched?
Was this an area bombardment, or a "surgical" strike?

Can this be an attempt to djinn up a war in Syria before Trump takes office?

b

There is allegedly an agreement between Russia and Israel that Russia will not interfere in any direct fight between Hizbullah and Israel.

If Israel hits at Hizb weapon transport *towards* Lebanon it is free to do so. (Usually these are missiles on their way from Iran via Mezze to Hizb.)

The attacks are typically carried out by missiles from Israeli planes flying over Lebanon. It is not yet clear how last nights attack was carried out.

b

Missed Q-5 - repercussions:

There a Syria/Hizb project to turn the Golan into another south of Lebanon zone which implies that any Israeli soldier or settler in the area will become very unsafe ...

ThomasG

Re: 1. Standoff. The Izzies are worried about Syria's air defense capabilities. They want to attack outside of the Syrians SAM envelope. The 9M317's range is 29 miles, if you factor in kinematics its probably less against an evading target. The Popeye missile's range is 48 miles. Why the missiles often aren't engaged I don't know, probably due to powerful jammers in use by the IDF. Just a WAG though.

Lemur

Missiles do suggest the Israelis were skittish sending a manned aircraft to do the dirty work.

mike

1] "Why missiles?" - The missiles are a somewhat risk-free way to watch and monitor air defense reactions.

2] "greenlighted?" - No

3] "kill Assad?" - No. This attack and others before it were on Hezbollah targets.

4] "less capable than reputed?" Russian air defense is extremely formidable, but they tend to oversell their effectiveness.

5] "repercussions?" Increased aid to Hezbollah?

turcopolier

b

Ah, another "tabbouleh Line," this one in the Golan. This is an interesting thought. They would have to fight their way through Israeli air to get to a place where they can "anchor" the line (Kuneitra city ruins maybe?) and they would then have to construct the defenses under fire. pl

b

The "construction", I heard, is ongoing and has apparently been ongoing for some time ....

Stumpy

Like trying to start a fire with a big wet log.

Agree with Richardstevenhack -- does Israel have the will to withstand a reboot of the Iraqi SCUD attacks of a decade and a half ago?

turcopolier

b

What is the rough trace of the defensive belt front line? This would be a game changer. Maybe it is farther east than Kuneitra City? Is this a Hizbullah project or SAA? pl

phodges

Here's my $.02

1. lower risk than aircraft - common sense

2. yes - they can target Hezbollah stockpiles outside combat zone - based on reports from Elijah Magnier

3. No - would be a declaration of war

4. Wouldn't we all like to know...;)

5. They won't do anything - they haven't so far, and what could they really do? They have enough problems without escalating against the Israelis.

kooshy

Colonel IMO, and from what I read in Iranian news sites, no one in R+6 want to expand and increase the Syrian war to directly involve the Israelis, although, IMO, against the desires of western, western regional allies and Israelis.
I guess the best missile defence is returning the favor, at later time.

Andy

#1 Why Missiles? A few reasons:
- The target was in the Damascus super-MEZ - stand-off weapons pose significantly less risk to Israeli pilots. Also, the extent of Russian integration into Syrian Air Defense is probably not clear to the Israelis in which case it is much more prudent to use stand-off weapons.
- This was likely a pre-planned mission which can give advantages to precision stand-off weapons depending on target characteristics. In short, the weaponeering likely supported the use of stand-off weapons.

#2 Unknown, but it seems unlikely.

#3 Unlikely for a few reasons:
- Israel has conducted very similar attacks in the past near Damascus.
- Israel hasn't overtly gone after top-level Syrian regime leadership in a long time

#4 Probably not. Most Russian air defense appear to be to the north on the west side the coastal mountain range. It's unlikely they have line-of-sight to the Damascus area. The Israelis likely timed the strike when Russian (and Syrian) tactical readiness was low. Israel likely knows the location of Russian missile sites and factored them into their planning.

#5 Nothing for now - the Syrians have bigger fish to fry. This will be added to the catalog of Israeli provocations that may be acted on at some future date.

BraveNewWorld

Lots to unpack here.

The Syrians have their own air defence systems that they originally bought from Russia. No where near as good as the modern Russia stuff but workable. If they were going to have it set up any where it would be around the capital but not a word of them even trying to fire it. Did they not see the missile coming? Did they choose not to fire or did Russia tell them not to fire?

Syria will do nothing to retaliate because Russia won't let them. Israel is an observer state in NATO now and Obama would be chomping at the bit to hit Syria to prove he loves Israel more than the Republicans and Trump would hit Syria to show he loves Israel more than Obama.

At best if there is retaliation it will be in a form we don't expect like Islamic Jihad in Gaza getting some new weapons and using them. Stir the pot in the South to keep things quiet on the Israel's Northern border. If Israel thinks they have to go into Gaza or reoccupy parts of the West Bank they won't want to cause much trouble with Hezbollah or Syria as they won't want to fight on multiple fronts at once.

While Russia talked a lot of smack when they first came in, what real signs are there that they have any intention of stopping any attack other than one on Russians? Every one and their monkey flies over Syria these days, often with no one knowing. The Russians were recently surprised by a drone attack the US did as they didn't know the drone was there. Half the alliance claimed to be in on the attack on Dier Azzor.

Every one in NATO would love for the Russians to unleash the S-300 and other weapons on a replaceable missile because they can use it to learn about how the weapon works. The Israelis really care about that as Iran now has the S-300. On the other hand if Russia just sits around and lets people endlessly run air strikes on Syria those foreign S-300 sales will start drying up.

The go to method to shoot up Syria for the Israelis has been with jets. They have been shooting up Syria in sneak attacks with impunity for years and years. There was a great article in one of the Israel papers back just after the war started about the Syrians seeing the jets coming in on an Israeli attack on a University and then their screens going blank. (I will look for the article tomorrow.) So they aren't afraid of the Syrians.

The Israelis view Trump as a green light to do any thing they want with the US fending off any one that tries to stop them. T-7.

There have been endless stories in the Israeli papers about Netanyahu going to Russia and telling Putin how it is going to be. Don't believe a word of it.

b

I don't know the "line" - if there is any. It is likely not a typical military line - more like cells within the (druze) population, weapon stashes, prepared defense, tunnels crossing the border.

Iran and Hizb announced the creation of this Golan project in early 2015 after an Iranian IRCG General and several Hezb commanders like Jihad Imad Mughniyeh were killed there by Israel.

Wrote a short take about it Jan 2015: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/01/israels-golan-attack-turns-heights-into-an-active-resistance-zone.html

As I understand it: A multiyear/decade project - independent of the more standard military war in Syria - south Lebanon in the 1990s, not 2006 (yet).

hemeantwell

First I've heard of this and it seems very important. More details and ongoing coverage would be great.

turcopolier

b
Well now, that is really interesting. A defensive belt, line or zone does not need to be continuous but the gaps should be covered with fire and the obstacles should canalize the enemy's advance into kill zones specific to certain targets, tanks, for example. The usual thing for Hizbullah with Iranian advice is to start with existing structures and build strong points under these after reinforcing the ground floors which become the roofs of the bunkers. A solid air defense is of course necessary to screw up pilot aiming. The overall purpose of such a line in this situation would be to move rocket and missile firing positions forward as well as to make a further advance by the Israelis into south Syria much more costly. When dealing with an opponent which is as sensitive to casualties as Israel that is important. I wrote something about this kind of thing once. http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p124201coll1/id/325/rec/1

Willybilly

All, this is what really happens when those sneaky strikes take place in or around Damascus by the Izzies....
Right after their humiliating defeat in 2006, at the hands of Hizbullah, the Izzies placed eyes on the ground.
Those eyes on the ground grew in numbers since 2011...
When a qualitative shipment of weapons arrive to Damascus airports, it stays for a very short time on the ground, Hence "eyes" have to report back to IDF in a timely manner for a precision strike to take place successfully.... That's the case here, since this shipment wouldn't have stayed too long in place.
Other strikes, like Jermana research center, target specific people or facility, in a timely manner as well, knowing who is present at the time to be taken out...
As for tank traps and defensive lines in and around Quneitra and throughout the Golan....it's in the works....and will expand rapidly when war subsides, especially after a real settlement takes place. The whole SAA will be restructured in this fashion more or less in certain areas, to meet with Hizbullah tactics and strategies...
For now, the Resistance camp has other fish to fry....but there are specific eyes always on the lookout for the Izzies and IDF.... in the Golan and South Lebanon....because there is a chance that IDF might be tempted to make a loop and a leap....from the Golan, and instead of Maroun El Rass or Naqoura..... into south Lebanon, in an attempt to outflank Hizbullah from the back..., in a tactic reminiscent of the encerclement of the Iraqi army in Kuwait by the late Schwarzkopf.....

robt willmann

Nothing succeeds like success. With a lot of patience and hard, serious-minded work, Hizbullah put together a defense in southern Lebanon that withstood an organized Israeli attack. Since the situation in the southwestern part of Syria has stabilized to a certain extent, now is the time for such a defensive project in that part of Syria and the Golan Heights if desired, because Russia is there to minimize a large, outside attack on Syria. The border between Syria and Israel is about the same length as the southern border of Lebanon.

I read a number of years ago a general article about how Hizbullah trained its new members. They had a careful, detailed program that took quite a while to complete. I suspect that it is very different from that "vetting" and "training" of "moderate rebels" against Syria that was done for some outrageous amount of money -- $500 million? -- that produced less than 100 "fighters".

Clonal Antibody

I was wondering if anybody had a reaction to this story - US intel sources warn Israel against sharing secrets with Trump administration

meeting held recently between Israeli and American intelligence officials (the date of the meeting is not mentioned to protect the sources of the report). During the meeting, according to the Israelis who participated in it, their American colleagues voiced despair over Trump’s election, as he often lashes out at the American intelligence community. The American officials also told the Israelis that the National Security Agency (NSA) had “highly credible information” that Russia’s intelligence agencies, the FSB and GRU, were responsible for hacking the Democratic Party (DNC) servers during the elections and leaking sensitive information to WikiLeaks, which hurt Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The American officials further added that they believed Russia President Vladimir Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump – but did not elaborate. They were apparently referring to what was published Wednesday about embarrassing information collected by the Russian intelligence in a bid to blackmail the president-elect. The Americans implied that their Israeli colleagues should “be careful” as of January 20, Trump’s inauguration date, when transferring intelligence information to the White House and to the National Security Council (NSC), which is subject to the president
turcopolier

clonal antibody

I saw this story in Haaretz. I presume that those meeting with the Israelis were the very management people that I have been condemning at CIA. This would of course include Brennan. IMO to say such a thing to the representatives of a foreign power is treasonous. To tell the Israelis, who in fact, are totally dependent on US support and strategic defense that they should not trust the US Government is treasonous. pl

BraveNewWorld

I was looking for another article around the same attack, but thought some one might find it interesting how the Israelis have done attacks around Damascus in the past. It matches up with what b says.

https://www.nytexaminer.com/2013/02/narrative-on-israeli-air-strike-on-syria-starts-to-unravel/

BraveNewWorld

>"Israel might be willing to sacrifice a couple of its pilots to test Russia's air defenses, but only if they get desperate."

That isn't the current Israeli way at all. Two dead pilots could cause the collapse of the government. Israelis have become very risk adverse. They have no problem with killing others but the country has a melt down any time some one in uniform dies.

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