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08 September 2017


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"Israel may very well conclude that the greater its military involvement in Syria, whether through sporadic attacks or by tightening its military ties to rebel groups, it more it will strengthen its position when the time comes to formulate a political settlement. But such a view can be a double-edged sword. It will grant Iran a wonderful excuse to increase its military presence in Syria; Russia may reduce or even eliminate its aerial coordination with Israel and declare Syrian airspace a no-fly zone; and Hezbollah could turn the Golan Heights into a legitimate front against Israel as part of its balance of deterrence with it. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.811226
There is more: "We can assume Israel informed Washington before the attack and received the necessary nod of approval."
A question: Who had provided the nod of approval?



I think it unlikely that Israel asked for or received approval to attack Masyaf. To ask would be to undercut their self image as completely independent actors. pl


"Russia may reduce or even eliminate its aerial coordination with Israel and declare Syrian airspace a no-fly zone"

With modern standoff weapons and in the tight confines of Israel/Lebanon/western Syria, such a move would be of little relevance to the Israeli threat. The latest Israeli acts of aggression were reportedly launched from Lebanese airspace. Russia could instruct Israel that further attacks on Syrian territory would be treated as acts of war and responded to with force, but it has understandably shown no inclination to do so or to incur the resulting risks and costs so far.

Could Hezbollah manage to get Lebanese airspace closed to Israeli military fights? That would require some significant external support. Hard to conceive at the moment, but perhaps if the political and diplomatic environment continues to change as it has been lately then who knows?

ex-PFC Chuck

I would expect the R+6 to keep their powder dry for a while until the Israelis show a bit more of their hand, and likely get a bit overextended due to overconfidence, and then respond in some asymetric way that is deeply disturbing to the perpetrators. The response will likely feature either the Syrian government and/or Hisbullah out front but will have Russian fingerprints all over it if you look behind the curtain.



I wonder what provocation by the Likudniks will be one too far. And when they get surprised by retaliation what the "big and distant giant" will do as the hysteria gets whipped up.


Israel is hoping for a reaction so that Trump will act on Bibi's paranoia. Israel's provocations will be dealt with but probably not soon and probably in a matter that Israel does not expect. Bibi might think that attacking Syria when she is weak is fun but those attacks and Israel's support for Jihadists near golan in particular could be used as an excuse by Syria to retake Golan at a later point in time.


They have such cordial relations with the rebels....


robt willmann

When reading the main post above, I remembered that Col. Lang had written about the fact that a peace treaty and arrangement with Syria had almost happened, and involved a former Israeli general named Uri Sagi who, after retiring from the military, was involved in the negotiations for an agreement. Apparently Hafez al-Assad was still the president of Syria when the negotiations took place. The earlier posting is here, from 2006, 11 years ago. Time does go by quickly--


Hafez al-Assad knew that the Saudi Arabian ruling family wanted to insert Sunni Islam, through a politician, as the governing basis for Syria. It appears that Saudi Arabia is still trying to do the same thing.


A good post in ZeroHedge on the Israeli attacks on Syria.


"Israeli officials have gone so far as to declare their preference for Islamic State terrorists on their border rather than allies of Iran. But as we've repeatedly pointed out, Israel is acting from a position of weakness and desperation. All that Netanyahu can hope for now is that an Israeli provocation leads to a direct Syrian military response, but it appears that Assad is not taking the bait."

Bill H

Please note that we are back to the hyperbole about Syrian possession and use of chemical weapons, along with repeating accusations of prior use.


Forgive me if I overstate the obvious, but my guess is that Israel is doing everything it can to provoke a Russian response in hopes that it can run to its neocon friends in the US and scream for protection.


When 16+% of your population are immigrant Russians I don't think a test of their native resolve is particularly viable option. Those folks left Russia for a reason. If the "native" Israelis wanted to know what the Russian response will be they should just ask. They won't because that would be divisive, but they should. This looks to be more of a feint for the Iranians benefit.

Ex 11B

" To ask would be to undercut their self image as completely independent actors."

And taking all that money from us and then turning around and buying our cheap whore politicians is just a sign of their cleverness and just confirms their independent status.(snark alert)

Israel, like a spoiled brat needs its allowance cut off and its constant disregarding the rules of decent society not covered up anymore. Lets see how special and chosen you are now! Expire the anti-Semite card. Revoke the Holocaust exemption. At this point the Zionist have proven that with the shoe on the other foot they haven't learned a damn thing. The environment created in the Gaza ghetto rival anything done in the 40s.

Outlaw APIAC. Send the foreign nationals in that organization back to where they came from. Arrest, try and imprison the American citizens employed in that organization on whatever laws apply.

All dual passport holders automatically lose their American citizenship and are deported, their property confiscated.

This is the only way to eliminate the infestation. If Israel is so damn special then their specialness can damn well save them. Or they could lose the Hubris? Learn how to live with people instead of looking at every one else as a way to serve their Messianic interest?

If they weren't really all that and a box of crackers then why do we let them influence policy to the detriment of our own people? Maybe that time is coming to an end. Maybe Russia gets to slap them around a little after big Unky Sam kicked them out of the pool house. The bean counters are probably looking at all that cash we hand out with a view towards the Houston we have a problem situation. Throw in that other space program icon Florida and I think Bibi and friends might not be getting their coke money this month. Insult upon injury for someone or some organization that has been so enabled.


"The Israeli air attack on Masyaf, carried out from the neutral sanctuary of Lebanese air space"
Was this technically an air attack from the Lebanese territory?



The US has been attacking IS all along. All those air strikes atMosul and Raqqa ere against IS and the air ops people document their many daily airstrikes against IS. They are somewhat disturbed that RuAF is not crowding their operational territory in the east of Syria. pl


AIPAC pays roughly $75M to buy 99% of Congress. Only ~$200K/@ on average. If you don't dance they pay your competitor. Congress gave more standing ovations to Bibi than Obama (2011). Congress will not bite hand that feeds it.


In a perhaps related item in today's WaPo, David Ignatius, in a generally favorable Op Ed about Sec. State Tillerson, remarks:

"In Syria, Tillerdon has warned Putin about the danger to Russian interests of increasing Iranian power power there, especially as Bashar al-Assad's regime regains control of Deir al-Zoar in Eastern Syria. To control the Iranians, Tillerson supports a quick move by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to capture the lower Euphrates valley."

Although Ignatius' statement doesn't quite parse, the Russians not particularly worried about increasing Iranian power in Syria, he implies the U.S. is contemplating "a quick move by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to capture the lower Euphrates valley." Ignatius has very close ties to the deep state, especially CIA. A recently deceased close friend (Don Praisner), a mid-level DI analyst when I was a contractor there, said Ignatius' fiction often reads like that of someone with deep insider knowledge of "the Agency" (as they call themselves). Consequently, such a "quick move" may be in the works.


Dear Colonel,

At some point, the bear will have to respond to the pokes if it wants to prevent further, harder pokes.

Perhaps a small undercover team with say two Buks in Hezbollah territory. Plausible deniability, and I would think a likely sufficient deterrent given current Israeli society (very risk averse for its soldiers).

Not sure of the altitude Israeli jets tend to fly in Lebanon for firing into Syria, but providing even a few (dozen) Verba MANPADs to Hezbollah would shift the strategic balance dramatically. Lebanon is only 20 miles wide, so four teams could cover the Southern border, eight could provide depth (range is ~ 5 miles).


Those folks left Russia for a reason

Most of them retaining Russia's citizenship and now many (in fact, very many) returning back to Russia.

Red Cloud

Surely everyone remembers how the US stood by and watched the ISIS oil trucks make trips to Turkey and back, over and over again. Only after Russia exposed them by destroying the convoys did the US do something, obviously just to save face or they would have just bombed the convoys from the beginning. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to make the case that the US was "bombing ISIS from the beginning".



From long acquaintance with him IMO Ignatius is a mouthpiece for both CIA and the Israelis. I do not think that this is more than a coincidence. CIA PR has long had him on their books and he has a personal attachment to Israel. The "democratic resistance" would get eaten alive by the SAA if they tried to do that. pl


Red Cloud

Did you not read the part about Obama personally ordering that the Syrian and Iraqi oil not be bombed from concern for re-construction of the two countries? Did you also miss the part in which We bombed the p--s out of IS in Mosul and Raqaa? I see, you wish to live in your fantasy. As for ongoing bombing i have actual knowledge of the bombing records. you do not. pl


well, I don't know whether it '*technically* was an attack from Lebanese territory'. In fact it is much simpler than that.

Just have a coffee and think slowly about it.

Far more relative than what it was 'technically', or wasn't 'technically', is that if the Izzies shot at Syria from Lebanon airspace they ...
(a) comitted acts of war and in doing so ...
(b) simply violated the sovereignty of two neighbouring countries (which doesn't mean much to Israel apparently) - Lebanon and Syria - in a single act of violence.

A hunch tells me that before the Israelis attack Syria they likely rather bomb Lebanon once again (as in: 'easier target'), 'to go after Hezbollah' and, of course, 'to go after Iran' and the like.

That said, the 'bomb Hezbollah in Lebanon' stunt didn't work well in 2006, when Israel got their ass handed by their opponent. Now, one could learn from that not to try something like that again, well, or, of course, one could choose to not learn anything from it at all.

Where one then goes would depend on preference and choice. So the Israelis may just choose to use the big stick rather than to think, be modest and realistic in goals and to negotiate.

Sadly, folks who think they determine or proclaim what the REAL reality is, or what game is being played, and how it is being played don't like such nasty 'compromises'. So, perhaps Bibi thinks such an act 'feels good' today and, as a bonus, it may even distract from failing in Syria.

Iirc some openly demeted Bibi dude recently said that Israel would rather have ISIS in Syria than Assad. Ah yes. How brilliant! What grand wisdom!! Probably this brilliant grand strategist is usually held hidden in a cave or a rubber room.

That written, he point is that there is a chance that the Israelis may try to be stupid and to act stupid - in order to "win win" with it.

Of course, very likely such an approach wouldn't fix anything but at least, if destructively, it may kick the ball down the road. Also, on the side, such a 'warlet' may even distract from that nasty recent talk in Israel about corruption and Bibi and Bibis wife.



CP and Anna

Sovereign airspace is sovereign territory. My guess is that the Russian/Israeili understanding did not include Lebanon. The Russians may want to fix that. pl



You are living in an anti-American fantasy. You have answered none of my points. pl

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