ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER LIBERMAN ASKS RUSSIA TO STAND DOWN AIR DEFENSES IN SYRIA DURING ISRAELI STRIKES.
SAYS STRIKES WILL CONTINUE.
WILL TARGET ANY AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM THAT FIRES AT ISRAELI AIRCRAFT.
So there you have it; Israel now dares to warn Russia that Russian air defense systems in Syria will be attacked.
The Israelis are starting a war. Plain and simple. There is no other possible outcome.
UPDATE 2:01 PM EDT —
There’s a growing risk that Regional War is about to break out in Syria, pitting Israel against Iran.
The Islamic Republic’s forces are entrenching there, after joining the fight to prop up President Bashar al-Assad. The Jewish state, perceiving a direct threat on its border, is subjecting them to an escalating barrage of airstrikes. Nobody expects those strikes to go unanswered.
The path to escalation is clear, and the rhetoric is apocalyptic. “We will demolish every site where we see an Iranian attempt to position itself,’’ Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the London-based Saudi newspaper Elaph, adding that the Iranian regime is “living its final days.’’
In Tehran, Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said that “100,000 missiles are ready to fly’’ in Israel’s direction, and warned they could bring about its “annihilation and collapse.’
EDITOR’S NOTE: It may take awhile for us to hear Russia’s Response; they have to recover from laughing so hard at the Israelis.
UPDATE 5:15 PM EDT —
Russian Su30 aircraft crashed into the sea near Khmeimim airbase, Syria today, 2 pilots killed.
Iranian Assets in Syria “nervous” and actively dispersing to wide areas; concerned about new Israeli attacks.
Earlier in the Syrian conflict, Israel’s airstrikes typically aimed to destroy weapons convoys bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. There’s now been a significant change. Two strikes in the past month -– widely attributed to Israel, though the Jewish state doesn’t comment on such matters –- targeted permanent infrastructure used by Iran’s forces. Both took place deep inside Syrian territory.
“It’s shortsighted to look at it in terms of how many kilometers from the border Iran is sitting,’’ said Amos Gilad, who recently stepped down as director of political-military affairs at Israel’s Defense Ministry. “Iran cannot be allowed to base themselves militarily in Syria. And Israel is fully determined to prevent that.’’
To be sure, the goal could be achieved without a full-blown war. Salem, at the Middle East Institute, says the likeliest outcome is that Israel and Iran will avoid a conflict that neither really wants — though he says the risk that they’ll end up fighting is higher than at any time since the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006.
And although hostilities have effectively begun with the airstrikes, many analysts say that they can be contained to Syria -– where Israel and Iran can square off without their allies necessarily being drawn into the fight.