Posted by Joshua on Monday, September 10th, 2007
I have tried to collect the latest views on the Israeli operation into Syria:
Syrian parliament member Muhammad Habash, who often expresses a hardline stance about Israel under the direction of the Syrian regime, said Sunday that the Israeli operation in Syria failed.
"What happened was an attempted attack, but it definitely failed and that is what led to the contradictions in Israeli declarations," he said.
Habash said that if Israel had succeeded, it would have rushed to announce the operation to the world, as Israel did immediately after bombing an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
IAF planes dropped live ammunition on Syria during flyover by Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents, and the Associated Press
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Monday that Israel Air Force warplanes dropped live ammunition during an alleged violation of Syrian airspace in the early hours of Thursday.
Muallem, who was addressing a press conference in Ankara along with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, was quoted Monday as accusing Israel of having carried out an intentional and hostile act.
Meanwhile, former MK Azmi Bishara said Monday he believes Israel carried out an operation in Syira. "Without getting carried away in speculation, this was an aerial operation, not an [airspace] violation in order to send a message," he wrote in an article published on the Syrian Web site Sham-Press.
Bishara wrote that the operation was extremely serious, and that it could become a pretext for certain Lebanese or Syrian officials to go to war.
The Balad chairman added that that Israel's silence on the issue is unusual. "Israel has wrapped itself in silence and imposed this path on even the most talkative politicians, as the quiet after the storm could become the quiet before the storm," he wrote.
Bishara listed several potential targets for the operation: arms smuggling, anti-aircraft systems, or missile systems. Alternatively, Bishara wrote, Israel may have been testing Syrian air defenses in order to map out a route for an air strike on Iran.
Why Did Israeli Planes Enter Syria? Time Magazine concentrates on the Iran bombing exercise hypothesis.
Al-Muallem informs European ambassadors of details of Israeli operation," by Ibrahim Hamidi, al-Hayat, Sept. 10, 2007. (Translation thanks to mideastwire.com)
Ibrahim Humaydi of Al Hayat, an independent Saudi owned newspaper, wrote on September 10: “The Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Muallem revealed yesterday that the Israeli violation of Syrian airspace last Thursday came hours after the foreign affairs commissioner in the European Union Javier Solana told him that the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will start decreasing the number of troops deployed in the occupied Golan Heights because of the tension between the two countries. Western diplomatic sources announced to Al Hayat that Al-Muallem informed the ambassadors in Damascus of the details of the Israeli “aggression” and the path followed by the aircraft and showed them pictures of the ammunition that they dropped in the north eastern part of the country.
“Al-Muallem also told the ambassadors in his meeting with them before his visit to Turkey that Solana informed him in a “quick meeting” on the margins of the Arab ministerial conference held in Cairo last Wednesday that Olmert will start decreasing the number of troops and will withdraw all the troops deployed following the recent escalation last summer “while the Israelis were preparing all along for the aerial violations mere hours later”. It was learned that Al-Muallem called Solana last Thursday and informed him of the details of the Israeli information and that what happened contradicts what Olmert told him and what Israel is announcing about its desire for peace. Diplomatic sources announced to Al Hayat that Solana promises to call Damascus back.