Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Inside Israel: Israel Enforces Its Red Lines in Syria

Eliezer Shulman

Israel missile strike echoes far beyond Syria

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

 Mishpacha image

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have not concealed their vehement opposition to Tehran’s deepening military presence in Syria (Photo: FLASH 90)

The Episode

Israel launched five missiles last Friday night against an Iranian military installation under construction just 14 kilometers south of Damascus, destroying an arms depot and sending a clear message to regional players.

The base, situated 50 miles from Israel’s Golan border, was first revealed by the BBC on November 10. Syrian media reported that Israel used short-range Jericho-1 ballistic missiles to carry out the strike. According to the foreign press, Israel has possessed the Jericho since the 1960s, but has never admitted to using the ballistic missile in an operational capacity. The vamped-up Jericho-3 is reportedly capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

According to Syrian and Lebanese media reports, one of the missiles struck the target, while another was intercepted by a Russian surface-to-air defense system, put in place to protect Russian troops in the area.

The Context

Syria is in a sort of twilight zone, with the survival of Bashar al-Assad’s regime more or less guaranteed, thanks to military backing from Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. While Israel has not acknowledged the attack, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have not concealed their vehement opposition to Tehran’s deepening military presence in Syria. In addition to military bases, that presence includes Iranian-funded and commandeered Shiite militias stationed throughout the country, as well as first steps toward building air and naval bases. As with other military strikes reportedly ascribed to Israel, the IDF may have been acting forcefully in an area where world powers have so far ignored its warnings.

Despite Iran’s clear stated intentions in Syria, and Israel’s vehement opposition communicated diplomatically and through the media, the international community has done little to assuage Israeli concerns. In response to Netanyahu’s grievances, Russian president Vladimir Putin reportedly told Israeli officials he is powerless to act against Iran in Syria since Tehran’s presence in the country comes at Assad’s request. The Russian presence can be traced to a similar invitation.

The head of Israel’s military intelligence is slated to visit Washington in the coming days to address the Iranian presence in Syria, amid concerns that the Trump administration fails to grasp how Iranian military activity there could spark a wider regional conflagration.

The Message

The alleged Israeli strike is likely meant to reinforce the red lines that Israel has stated in public, making it crystal clear that continued Iranian military activity in Syria will be met by active preemptive measures. At the moment, all the players involved in the Syrian agreement — Syria, Iran, Russia, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — must regard Israel as the unknown and perhaps unpredictable actor that can scuttle any chance of stability in Syria. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 688)

Related Stories

Rose Report: Is the Deck Stacked against Bibi?

Binyamin Rose

Israeli journalists talk straight about their anti-Bibi bias

Washington Wrap: Kushner Plays It Safe at Saban Forum

Omri Nahmias

Thirty minutes into his Saban Forum talk, Kushner as Sphinx-like as ever

Metro & Beyond: The Bickering Gets Louder between Cuomo and de Blasio

Jacob Kornbluh

Cuomo and de Blasio trade barbs as they eye the national stage

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Do You Know Where You’re Going?
Rabbi Moshe Grylak If Mrs. Esterhazy hadn’t gotten sick
Birthright Drops Reform
Yonoson Rosenblum The numbers tell the sad story
With Fresh Eyes
Eytan Kobre Members of an ever-tying people
Gift-Giving Guide
Yisroel Besser There’s a skill to giving a teacher a gift
Time for a Career Change
Jacob L. Freedman “How can a bochur even afford to smoke?”
Today I Am a (Learned? Committed?) Jewish Man
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are bar mitzvah celebrations good for the Jews?
Major in Mothering
Faigy Peritzman “How do you picture marriage? Discussing quantum theory?...
When Parents Disagree
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Connecting heart-to-heart when you don’t see eye-to-eye
En Route: Food for Thought
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The bread we eat today also comes from heaven
The Twins: Part II
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer “Bead,” she says again, with a little smirk
Dear Acquaintance
Your Possible Friend at the Clinic Why do you make it harder for me — and for you?