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What ever happened to Assad's vaunted air defense systems? You know, the ones that were said to be so formidable, so far above what Qaddafi had, that the very idea of imposing a "No Fly Zone" over Syria was unthinkable?

After all, it hasn't even been degraded yet, except by Assad's turning his fighters into bombers so that he could use them for destroying his nation instead of defending it. All his ground based air defenses should be intact and yet Israeli jets were able to penetrate miles into Syria unopposed and hit targets near Damascus.

What's up with that?

Is it possible, like some people think was the case with our own Pearl Harbor or Tonkin Gulf attacks, that Assad kinda just let this happen because he could see that the political advantages that could flow from such an attack would far out weigh the material damage done. Certainly, Assad is not going to worry about a couple more Syrian corpses on that pile that is already 65,000 bodies high.

This also raises the question of why did Israel do it? They have claimed all along that while they would like to see the awful Bashar Assad go as much as everybody else, they have stayed out of it because they knew that even the slightest appearance of support for Assad's opposition would be like the kiss of death for them.

So now they strike at Syria and for the first time in a long time, the Arab League is in Assad's corner. They had to know that was likely to be the result of their air strike. That and a lot more.

Therefore striking a single military research center makes no sense. What would it accomplish? Even if there were WMD there, they aren't all in one place so hitting just one site, and putting Assad in a "use'm or lose'm" situation with regards to the rest would be very dangerous.

Striking a convoy makes sense if they thought something very bad was going to Hezbullah. Still they would have to know that any such strike would be a big propaganda boon to Assad, a political advantage to him worth a lot more than a truck load of SA-17s.

Still, I don't see Israel looking to pick a fight with HZ right now when they are much more focused on killing fellow Arabs than killing Jews.

It is even possible that Assad authorized such a transfer, and made sure the facts were well known, with an eye to provoking just such a strike.

But if you are a regular reader of my diary, you already know that I think Israel likes Assad, and that my favorite Latin phrase is "Cui Bono".

So at this point I think it very likely that Israel initiated this attack and Assad allowed it to happen all for the benefit of Assad in these troubling times and the rest of us are just being played.

Some people here have an attitude like this about the conflict in Syria: "I've looked all over the map of the US and I can't find Syria!" To them I say:

No offense, but if you don't think the world will pay a high price for allowing Assad to wreck his country, then you are a fool!

Fri Feb 01, 2013 at  6:14 PM PT:Business Insider has come out with this very interesting report on Israel's Strike on Syria. They are confirming the Assad regime's claim that it was a military research center and not a convoy that was hit. It would appear that this strike happened 48 hours before it became news and that US officials knew they where lying when they said that the strike was against SA-17 missiles headed for Hezbollah. That was just a cover story.

If this is true, it strengthens my view that the Israeli strike, which has given political support to Assad, from the Arab League and in other quarters, was designed to do just that.

While I could chalk up a strike to stop a high-tech missile transfer to Hezbollah to exigent circumstances, I have not yet heard any reason why this military research center needed to be hit right now, just when Assad is on the verge of losing Damascus.

Unless that is the reason.

And, frankly, if the target was Assad's WMD, it might even make sense that the charge of FSA assistance could be true.

They wouldn't want foreign troops landed to secure them. They wouldn't want them and they certainly wouldn't want them to fall into the hands of some of their "allies." The site is said to have been guarded by 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the FSA wouldn't mind seeing them get bombed.

Michael Kelley wrote:

Israel's Strike On Syria Was A Brilliant Tactical Move

Feb. 1, 2013, 1:09 PM
Much like the air campaign against Hamas targets inside the Gaza strip, Israel's airstrike in Syria looks like a well-timed tactical move—and the confusing media reports regarding the attack may be part of the plan.

The Jerusalem Post reports that a Western diplomatic source told Iraqi daily Azzaman that the attack took place more than 48 hours before it was leaked by Israel.

Furthermore, the source said the reports about a strike on a convoy carrying weapons into Lebanon were probably meant to divert attention away from the operation's main objective: To use F-16 aircraft to fire at least eight guided missiles at a military research center near Damascus.

On Wednesday U.S. officials — who said they were given forewarning of the strike — told The Wall Street Journal and other outlets that the Israelis were targeting a convoy of trucks allegedly carrying Russian-made SA-17 missiles to Hezbollah.

Click here for a list of my other Daily Kos dairies on Syria
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YellerDog, Lib Dem FoP, deepeco

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 08:01:21 PM PST

  •  Might have something to do with these (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Rusty Pipes

    The Israelis are very good at news management. Convenient then that these attacks have removed any coverage in the USA in the MSBM of these two stories:

    Israel boycotts UN rights council in unprecedented move

    Council spokesman Rolando Gomez told the Associated Press that Israel's unprecedented absence had put the council in "new territory" because attendance of the Universal Periodic Review was mandatory.

    Haitian representatives failed to appear before the council in 2010, but on the basis that their country had suffered a devastating earthquake. Otherwise, so far all countries - even Syria and North Korea - have attended.

    Israel's action has prompted concern that it might undermine the UN's human rights work, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva.

    Human rights experts fear other countries facing awkward questions might follow suit.

    Even Israel's biggest ally, the United States, had urged Israel to take part. The big question now is what - if anything - the UN can do about Israel's refusal to participate, our correspondent adds.

    UN: Israeli settlements 'violate Palestinian rights
    Israeli settlements in the occupied territories violate Palestinians' human rights in ways designed to drive them off the land, a UN report states.

    The report says settlements displace Palestinians, destroy their crops and property, and subject them to violence.

    "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 08:16:39 PM PST

  •  OK it's 'vaunted', not vaulted... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clay Claiborne

    and though Assad will try to make some propaganda hay, this strike shows him to be weak and that's not a boon.

    His air defense totally failed and that shows we could've done SEAD followed by a no-fly, just like Libya.

    With Syria's collapse Russia and Iran lose influence, Israel loses an adversary on its border-

    and I lose my illusions about the Dems wishing to end this game of Power. Tolkien was right, it'll take Fellowship to do that and we're not there yet.

    •  Thanks on the spell ck (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 08:48:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya started (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rusty Pipes, joe from Lowell

      off with a massive air attack by NATO forces against Gaddafi's decades old decrepit air defense system. The missile systems in Libya were mainly defensive. They had little to no retaliatory capabilities unlike Syria.

      The 13 day operation started with the firing of 112 Tomahawk Cruise missiles, three B-2s and two B-1Bs dropping tons of precision bombs just to take out basic air defense systems. This was followed by a massive attack using hundreds of aircraft and dozens of ships.

      All this was applied to a narrow coastal strip along the Mediterranean.

      An attack against Syria has to get the air defense systems AND the medium/long range retaliatory missile systems all at once. The Syrian army has thousands including many that are mobile. The Patriot system could be overwhelmed. The success rate is also not 100% for many of the supersonic missiles Syria has. Just one ballistic missile hitting Tel Aviv could kill hundreds.

      His air defense totally failed and that shows we could've done SEAD followed by a no-fly, just like Libya.
      Do you remember the report of Syria's M1 radar site being overtaken by opposition forces last November?
      •  With all that, its amazing the Israelis found it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        so easy to bomb near Damascus.

        Kinda makes my point.

        Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

        by Clay Claiborne on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:07:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Jamraya is only 10 miles from the Lebanese border (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rusty Pipes, joe from Lowell

          although CNN described it as "deep within Syrian territory".

          There have been constant Israeli overflights in Lebanon along the Syrian border. The Israeli pilots know the Bekaa Valley area like the back of their hands. They've been trained in this area since the 1982 war which was a classic air battle of fighter jets vs SAM missile sites.

          So all it took was a quick turn and go in at ground level over a ten mile distance to take out a couple of targets. They would have been over target in less than 1 1/2 minutes. The targets may even have been laser 'painted' by agents on the ground in preperation. This is a lot different than taking out the entire military defense system. Also, the targets taken out did not appear to be hardened.

          The defense system in Syria is at least ten times as powerful as Libya's which took several weeks to neuter.

          You do realize that without UN approval attacking Syria in this manner is an act of war. The US and Israel constantly do these limited incursions and get away with it but anything larger will have severe repercussions.

          My bet is that the US and Israel will wait patiently for the slow attrition of Assad's government forces by staying out of sight on the sidelines. They are most likely giving the rebels logistical support to take out Assad's air bases. The US and Israel have never been known to keep their fingers out of the ME pie. After all, these two were the major partners in baking the damn thing in the first place.

  •  don't over think this (6+ / 0-)

    If Israel bombed in Syria it did it for Israel's benefit.  No one else.  

    •  My point is that Israel thinks Assad in power (0+ / 0-)

      benefits Israel.

      As the Stratfor analysis said:

      not to mention Israel actually quite likes Bashar being in power

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:07:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Assad would be better than al-Qaeda for Israel (0+ / 0-)

        What Israel really wants is for the conflict to go on until Syria is knocked back to the dark ages or split into ineffective parts.

        I suspect this is also what the US government wants if it can't get a favorable government installed. This modus operandi has been the hallmark of American interventions all around the world - if you can't control it, destabilize it.

        Assad and al-Qaeda killing each other - it's a win-win for Israel and US/NATO.

  •  Isn't assad and iran buddies ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:13:39 PM PST

    •  No alliances in world politics (0+ / 0-)

      Are set in stone.

      Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

      by MrAnon on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:55:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you are saying assad and iran (0+ / 0-)

        are not buddies ?

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:13:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I believe he was saying "nations have no perpetual (0+ / 0-)

          friends - only perpetual interests."

          You only need to look at how many times the US has flipped allegiances in world politics. Every last dictator that has got thrown out in the last decade was once whole-hardheartedly supported by the US government at one time or another.

          •  So once again , (0+ / 0-)

            assad and iran , buddies or not ?  

            I don't need or want , "things change" .
            I'm not asking if things do or do not change ,
            that's not the question .
            And as an answer to my question ,
            its a bit of a non sequitur .

            "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

            by indycam on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:22:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Depends on what you mean by "buddies" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rusty Pipes

              I think a better term would be "marriage of convenience". Historically the relationship has been "fickle".

              They share enemies (US and Israel), allies (Russia) and economic interests - especially the proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline to bring the South Pars gas field to hungry markets around the Mediterranean by this summer. Clinton has publicly said last fall that it isn't going to happen under her watch.

              Qatar wants it's own pipeline from the shared South Pars gas field through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey to connect with the Nabucco pipeline to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

              This gas pipeline business is no small matter. It opens up the world's largest known natural gas reserves to Europe and is worth untold trillions of dollars.

              International conflicts are never purely political or religious. They follow the money.

              •  Interesting Russian perspective on Syrian conflict (0+ / 0-)
                Stalemate in Syria buoys dominance of Russian gas in Europe
                February 2, 2013

                The outcome of the war in Syria may have far-reaching consequences for the European gas market, as the parties in conflict are backed by rival states — Iran and Qatar — hoping to build a new pipeline to the EU via Syria. The battles for Aleppo and Damascus may inadvertently determine the fate of Gazprom and Russia’s future energy revenues.
                While Qatar, Iran and the EU are fighting over Syria, Gazprom continues to develop its mega projects — Nord Stream (the third and fourth spurs are under discussion) and South Stream (construction of the underwater part has yet to begin). If Russia builds them before the war in Syria ends, Moscow might retain its position on the European gas market, which has an inestimable role to play in replenishing Russia’s budget.

  •  nitpicking, i know (3+ / 0-)

    but cui bono is latin, not greek.

  •  This is HR worthy CT (5+ / 0-)

    sorry, but it's just absurd.

    First, the idea that Syria's air defense is "vaulted," or even "vaunted," is as impressive as the idea that Iraq would had the US "the mother of all defeats." Word salad and air defense aren't the same thing. Only the silliest conspiracy theorists could be surprised that Israel, one of the most capable and advanced militaries on Earth, could carry of an effective limited strike on a neighboring country.

    As for Hezbollah, and the diarists opinion that Israel would leave them alone because "they are much more focused on killing fellow Arabs than killing Jews," well, you've not paid much attention to the Middle East for the last few decades. Israel, for reasons that some might find obvious, isn't very fond of the idea that Hezbollah might get its hands on some significant weaponry, even if at this very second they're not aiming the weapons at Jews.

    Seriously, folks, this is laughable CT idiocy.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 04:18:50 AM PST

  •  Er... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cui bono is Latin, not Greek. It's also, more often than not, a fancified intro to CT.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 04:48:10 AM PST

  •  cui bono is Latin, not Greek. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, Claudius Bombarnac

    This diary would be better if it were not 100% speculation.

  •  Look, I really hate Likud, but I don't have a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    problem with the Israelis striking a convoy that was supposedly heading to Hezbollah.

    I think it's much more likely that the Israelis blew up this convoy because

    Now, there is a major reason that we're not going to have a no-fly zone over Syria. We waited a long time before engaging in Libya.

    We waited because we didn't know who we were supporting. Once our intelligence teams on the ground confirmed that we'd be supporting a democratic revolution, the world went in.

    France, the US, and the UK don't want to spend mountains of treasure helping an Iranian-style Islamic republic get set up.

    We would have no problem setting up a no-fly zone in Syria. The combination of satellite surveillance and Turkish AWACS flying in turkey, but turning their detection equipment on Syria, along with strikes from, cruise missiles, and on-the-ground intelligence recieved from special forces (the brits had SIS/MI6 personnel on the ground, and no doubt there were CIA and  DGSE folks on the ground too) allowed us to shut down Libyan air defense pretty quickly.

    We can do it. It's not hard to do.

    Now there are a number of reasons that we're not setting up a no-fly zone.

    1. It would involve Turkey and Israel, two of our most important allies, in a shooting war that would see attacks on their citizens and cities, including the potential for WMD strikes (chemical, specifically.)

    2. Even without the worry of WMD, Assad has a sizable military. Israel is still technically in a shooting war with Syria, and considering the strikes on Turkish border towns, with significant international intervention, it's impossible to imagine a scenario where the violence in Syria doesn't spill into Turkey and Israel, and kill a lot of UN peacekeeping personnel on the Israel/Syria border.

    3. Unlike Libya, we're still not so sure about the Syrian opposition. We don't know who they are or what kind of government they want. Syria is a diverse country. There's a Coptic ethnoreligious group in southern Syria and around Damascus that has legitimate fears about genocide after Assad's government collapses.

    Assad's not a good guy. But the people taking over from him don't really seem to be good guys either. That's not the case in Libya, and as we've seen from Morsi's more theocratic moves in Egypt, the Egyptian government arent the best people either.

    Now I detest Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood about as much as I detest Rick Santorum and the Christian Right.

    They're bad people, too.

    Why would we want to help bad people, even if they're fighting other bad people? Especially when the cost would be so high?

    Now you're saying that we are destabilizing Syria.

    I don't think that Syria needs any American help in that department.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:29:29 AM PST

    •  Gah, section got dropped. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "I think it's more likely that the Israelis blew up a convoy because they had some intelligence that it was bound for Hezbollah, than that they blew it up because they want to destabilize Syria. I don't see how the destruction of one convoy destabilizes Syria, and I think that the Syrians are too busy with their own affairs to care particularly much about Israel right now."

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

      by OllieGarkey on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:31:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll glavizies thw Arab & Muslim worlds (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        against Israel and in support of Syria right now. That is the advantage for Assad and his supporters.

        Damascus is about to fall but if he can succeed in precipitating a war with Israel just maybe he can gain a new lease of life.

        Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

        by Clay Claiborne on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 12:55:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How will a war with Israel give the Assad (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OllieGarkey, Rusty Pipes

          regime a new lease on life? Are you saying the rebels will stop fighting against the regime and join it in order to fight the "greater enemy" Israel?

          Can you show where the greater "Arab & Muslim worlds" have been overly excited about this attack by Israel? The majority of the complaints came from Hezbollah, Iran and Russia.

          If anything, this attack relieves pressure on the opposition forces as it requires the Assad regime to also keep an eye on Israel.

          Damascus is about to fall
          This in not the first time you have stated this. You also pronounced it almost a year ago just as you have announced the demise of Assad and invasion/departure of the Russians.

          What do you base this impending demise on this time around? Tweets?

          •  Just to point out, if I was going to speculate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac

            here about Israel I might argue that this was an attempt by Likud to try and help Israel look like the good guys. If Israel's action destabilizes things to the point that others need to go in, they get to pretend to be the heroes of a Democratic Syria.

            Hooray! Israel's going after Hezbollah and that horrible dictator Assad. See, they're not all bad! Or something.

            I think that's hogwash. I think Israel had intelligence that a certain convoy might be supplying Hezbollah with weapons, and so they blew that particular convoy up. I think that's as complicated as this story gets.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 04:03:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The (western) world would pay a higher price (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rusty Pipes

    if they intervened militarily and were the ones to wreck the country. By leaving it up to Assad and the rebels, they can have relatively clean hands. And, yes, the name of the game in Syria is to wreck the country until it is neutered as an international force.

    Innocent civilian lives are of little consequence. You only need to look at what the costs in lives and infrastructure was to neuter Saddam's Iraq starting with the first Gulf War. (Unfortunately, I think there is going to be another remake of that unfortunate country in the coming months/years.)

    No offense, but if you don't think the world will pay a high price for allowing Assad to wreck his country, then you are a fool!
    Somehow I don't think your analysis of the situation is valid at all. You do not have the information the US State Department or the Israeli Mossad have. In addition, you are way too emotionally involved to reason properly. One only has to follow your diaries to realize this.
  •  Looks like two targets were hit in Syria (0+ / 0-)

    It appears that my links were more in line with what occurred than your tweets.

    The Fallout from the Air Raid on Syria: Why Israel is Concerned

    Israeli warplanes struck several targets inside Syria overnight Tuesday, including a biological weapons research center that was reportedly flattened out of concern that it might fall into the hands of Islamist extremists fighting to topple the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad, Western intelligence officials tell TIME.
    A Western intelligence official indicated to TIME that at least one to two additional targets were hit the same night, without offering details. Officials also said that Israel had a “green light” from Washington to launch yet more such strikes.
    But Israel and Washington have worked especially closely from the start, and more visibly in recent weeks.When Israeli warplanes began their attack late Wednesday, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi  was at the Pentagon on a working visit.
    “I’m not going to give any condemnation of Israel or rush into any criticism,”  British foreign secretary William Hauge told the BBC on Thursday. “There may be many things about it that we don’t know, or the Arab League or Russia don’t know.”
    Read more:

  •  A single air strike is quite a bit different from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac

    the level of constant patrolling necessary to impose a no-fly zone.

    It's a bit of a stretch to claim that this shows Syria's air defenses wouldn't make a no-fly zone difficult.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:33:13 PM PST

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