“OSyria 1”?

The Israeli operation deep into the vicinity of Deir al-Zor two days ago has stirred up a hornets nest. We are still learning about new aspects of it. There are two parts of the story. The operational aspect and the political.

Operationally, the penetration by Israeli military aircraft had to have a military and not reconnaissance mission. Armed Israeli fighters would not be used to hunt. Sat elites or high-speed fighter recon runs would be done first. Then after you know what you want to hit, you send in armed fighters. This is US doctrine, and I can't see why Israel wouldn't employ the same standards. So given what we know about the profile, combined with Syrian claims that the Israeli planes were forced to drop weapons, they were not on a reconnaissance run, but were armed to hit something.

What that something is, we cannot be sure, but it would seem to tie into the North Korean weapons debate. President Bush and John Bolton, representing the Cheney side of the administration, seem to be in a face off over the effectiveness of Washington's Nuclear treaty with North Korea.

President Bush announced that it is possible that North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons program before he leaves office. North Korea agreed in 2005 to disclose and dismantle all aspects of its nuclear weapons program. The International Atomic Energy Agency said the communist regime is cooperating with U.N. experts overseeing the mothballing of key nuclear facilities; IAEA experts last month confirmed the shutdown of four nuclear facilities at Yongbyon.

John Bolton in an Aug. 31 Wall Street Journal op-ed blasted the President's plan, claiming that the Yongbyon facility is among the least important nuclear sites in North Korea's program. It's being moth-balled means little. He believes that Bush is enabling the Axis of Evil because he has lost his political will, just as President Clinton did before him.

Bolton ties the North Korean weapons directly to Syria. As Yoav Stern has written for Haaretz:

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal on August 31, Bolton wrote that, "We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched."

"Whether and to what extent Iran, Syria or others might be 'safe havens' for North Korea's nuclear weapons development, or may have already participated with or benefited from it, must be made clear," he added.

Bolton's op-ed suggests that the Cheney side of the administration, which has been at pains to push the need for continued military operations against Axis of Evil members, is not content to be brushed aside. We know about the friction between Rice and Cheney over the direction foreign policy should take. 

A number of commentators, including Syria's Vice President Sharaa, have speculated that Israel is being used by President Bush, but this operation could just as well be Bolton/Cheney/Olmert going around Bush and the State Department and elements of the government. They know they can do what they want with Israel and get away with it. In this context, it is not Israel doing our dirty work, but Olmert/Cheney/Bolton doing what they want while laughing at Bush. It wouldn't be the first time. The controversy over whether President Bush or V.P. Cheney ordered the dismantling of the Iraqi army suggests that this has been a frequent dynamic in the administration, even if unprecedented in past administrations.

Israeli journalists are wondering whether the Israeli operation near Deir al-Zor should be named "Osyria" as a counter part to the 1981 Osiraq bombing of Iraq's 40 MW light-water nuclear materials testing reactor at the al-Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center. It is too early to tell. Bolton complained about North Korean missile technology being passed to Syria. The strike may very well have been aimed at a missile factory.

One Syria Comment reader claims that friends of his in Deir al-Zor reported a military attack. This is what he wrote on the day of the attack:

OK, more from my source on the ground: the Syrian military base next to Deir Ez Zor was hit by an air strike last night around 1:30 AM. That’s significantly much farther to the South than what was implied by the various reports. There are casualties on the base.

A friend in Deir Ez Zor who spoke with several (self-proclaimed) eyewitnesses — they said they saw/heard the planes and the bombing. Before the Israeli raid was announced, in the confusion, they speculated that the planes might be American ones. My friend sent me a text message to ask if there was something about it in the international news, but there wasn’t, not until three or four hours later.

The next day: 10:47 Al-Arabiya reported: IAF bombed stockpile of foreign-made missiles in Syria (from Israel Radio).

I spoke with Arab Nir, a foreign affairs correspondent on Israel's largest TV Channel Sunday morning about the bombing. A number of Israeli reporters have contacted me since my original story ran on Syria Comment. They have their own sources in Israel but cannot use them because of Israeli censorship concerning military secrets. In this respect, I am playing the role of Shobbos Goy. Here is how Wikipedia defines Shobbos Goy:

A Shabbos goy (Yiddish: שבת גוי) is an individual who regularly assists a Jewish individual or organization by performing certain acts for them on the Jewish Sabbath which are forbidden to Jews within Jewish law. The phrase is a combination of the word "Shabbos" (שבת), referring to the Jewish Sabbath, and "goy" (גוי), meaning "gentile." It can also refer to a gentile individual who works on behalf of Jews or Israel in a more general sense.

All of this is to say that Israeli journalists are coming to me and using Syria Comment as a source, not because they are basing all their information on my speculation, but because they cannot use their own sources due to Israeli law. There are other sources.


Other interesting article of note related to this topic are"

On the continuing reverberations of Israel's Air Force operation in Syria, read Daniel Levy, "Piecing Together What's Just Happened between Israel and Syria," on is blog "Prospects for Peace." The blog is joint project of the New Century Foundation and the Foundation for a New America.

"Damascus will retaliate," Sharaa says.

Alix Van Buren of La Repubblica talked to an angry Farouk al-Shara, who told her, 'All I can say is that the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming'

Nir Magal, 09.08.07

"Damascus will retaliate," Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara said Saturday in an interview with Italian newspaper Le Repubblica following Israel's reported violation of Syrian airspace on Thursday.

Asked what the response would be, al-Shara replied, "I cannot reveal the details, as this is an issue of national security. All I can say is that the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming."

Al-Shara was visiting Italy for meetings with Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema and Pope Benedict XVI, and spoke to the paper from his hotel in Rome.

The Syrian vice president took advantage of the interview in order to slam the US-sponsored Middle East peace conference scheduled to take place in November.

"The conference will not advance peace, because Washington does not really view it as important, and has turned it into a photo opportunity, aimed at diverting the attention from Iraq.

"Meanwhile, an unprecedented arms race has been launched in the Middle East, increasing the risk of new military adventures, such as Israel's in Syria two days ago. Syria will retaliate for this violation."

Asked about President Shimon Peres' appeal to Syria, speaking of his hopes for peace, al-Shara replied, "Excuse me for smiling. The talks about peace are a disguise for blatant aggression. Moreover, Israel's responses in light of the aircraft's infiltration are amazing, with (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert saying he knows nothing about it.

"This creates the impression that Israel has a week government, which is unable to take courage and follow the road of peace, accepting the Arab world's offer which was approved unanimously."

The Syrian vice president argued that Israel was to blame for the failure of negotiations. "Those who try to cast the blame on Syria forget that we took part in the negotiations for 10 years. We were not the ones who ended the talks. Let history bear witness to that."

Amir Oren writes in Haaretz, "Welcome to the Middle East."

Former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who in years past was the most suspicious in the U.S. administration of Syria's nuclearization, warned a week ago in The Wall Street Journal that Syria and Iran might provide safe haven for prohibited nuclear materials smuggled from North Korea. Syria is uncomfortable appearing at the IAEA conference as a suspect in nuclear offenses, which conflicts with its obligations as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But the West is having a hard time breaking the Tehran-Damascus axis. In the past two years, since its forces withdrew from Lebanon, Syria's armament rate has equaled that of the previous seven years.

In an interview published in the current issue of the Israel Air Force journal, IAF Air Directorate Commander Brigadier General Yochanan Loker praised some of the IAF's abilities to strike its targets. These are indeed impressive, especially the IAF's superior intelligence and ability to surprise its targets and their defenses. But their strategic impact is limited. It is very difficult to deliver a fatal blow to the will of a government, people or organization to go on fighting until it achieves its political or religious goals.

The present crisis may blow over, but the fragile nature of relations between Israel and Syria will continue threatening to ignite at any moment. Although war did not break out, joy is premature: No basic problem has been solved. To move ahead to a solution, talk, not silence, is needed.

Israel's envoy to Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and given a diplomatic protest regarding the alleged IAF flyover of Syrian air space. Here are the photos published by the Turks of an Israeli fuel tank.

Ibrahim Hamidi, Al-Hayyat senior correspondent in Damascus, quoted officials as saying that Syria is convinced that the Syrian military's warning to Israel "against such operations" was "serious, deterring, and non-escalating."

Damascus sources said they believe the alleged operation was a "diplomatic and military experiment" in order to test Syria's reactions and intentions.

Israel is maintaining a complete blackout regarding the Syrian charges. Cabinet ministers and senior IDF officers have repeatedly refused to comment on the alleged incident, either on or off the record.

They did, however, express their satisfaction with developments and the way decisions had been taken during the crisis with Syria in recent weeks. 

"ANALYSIS: The question is, how will Damascus respond?" by Yoav Stern in Haaretz 

Israel’s security and the Russian navy (03 September 2007) Jane’s Information Group

What are the possible consequences of a permanent Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean? Israeli military planners have been grappling with this question since Admiral Vladimir Masorin, the commander of Russian Naval Forces, said in August: “For the Black Sea fleet, the Mediterranean has the highest strategic importance… I think a permanent presence of the Russian navy should be restored there.”

Masorin’s view was seconded by Admiral Eduard Baltin, the former commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet, who said: “The Soviet navy had the capability to keep a permanent naval group in the Mediterranean… Russia can now ensure a military-political presence there.”

Assuming that Admiral Masorin’s words represent the views of the Russian military and the Kremlin, a new and potentially destabilising factor could emerge in the Middle East in the foreseeable future.

Israeli experts say the presence of a Russian naval force, most likely based in the Syrian port of Tartus, would represent a significant strengthening of Russian intelligence gathering capabilities in the region. The Russian navy is considered to have high-quality electronic equipment capable of observing new weapons systems and intercepting communications.

Intelligence experts point to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s emphasis on the importance of intelligence gathering during a meeting of top military brass on 25 July. The Israeli press has speculated the products of these efforts could be shared with the Syrian and other governments hostile to Israel in the region and, in the worst case scenario, with Iran.

Kommersant reported on June 2, 2006, Russia is already dredging the port of Tartus and has begun to build a dock in the Syrian port of Latakia. A defense Ministry source at that time revealed that Moscow plans to a squadron of military vessels led by the missile cruiser Moskva to be permanently based in the Mediterranean Sea.

Comments (21)

idaf said:

Turkey complains officially to Israel over fuel tanks found near border with Syria: reports

The Associated Press Published: September 9, 2007

JERUSALEM: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has officially complained to Israel after fuel tanks allegedly belonging to Israeli aircraft were found near Turkey’s border with Syria, Israeli media reported Sunday.

The complaint follows allegations by Syria on Thursday that Israeli aircraft entered its airspace and dropped “munitions.” Israel has not commented on the incident.

Over the weekend, Turkish TV broadcast pictures of what it said were the Israeli fuel tanks found near the Syrian border, though they did not have any national markings. If accurate, the report would be the first concrete evidence that Israeli warplanes were in the area.

Israel’s envoy to Turkey was summoned Saturday to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which issued a formal protest over the discovery of the fuel tanks, Israeli government officials told the Yediot Ahronot and Haaretz newspapers. Israel’s Foreign Ministry refused comment.

The incident has raised questions about why Israel wold want to heighten tensions with its enemy to the north. Experts have speculated Israel might have been seeking information about long-range missiles pointed at Israel, testing Syrian air defense, or trying out a possible air route to its archenemy Iran.

Photos of the the tanks published by the Turkish media can be found here and here.

September 9th, 2007, 3:19 pm


Cathy H. said:

Before taking the Turkish evidence as fact, I suggest checking out the veracity of the images. Tanks jettisoned at high velocity would make an impression in the earth and have caused the stubble around the point of impact to bend in an outward pattern. The image shows an object that appears to have beeen laid out in a field.

The lack of close up photos is also suspicious. Close-ups would reveal abrasions at a minimum supporting evidence that the tank had been jettisoned. Additional markers which could support positive identification include details of construction and fittings.

Personal supposition: Israel’s envoy may have been summoned to the Turkish Foreign ministry, but not over the tanks. The tanks were used as a pretext.

Also, note that the Haaretz description of the flight path doesn’t line up with earlier accounts which said that the Israeli jets entered from the North from Turkish air space.

September 9th, 2007, 4:05 pm


Innocent_Criminal said:

I’d like to believe Mr. Sharaá when he says Syria will retaliate but i doubt it, they never do. But IF they do, then I bet that the Israeli mission wasn’t a failure.

It would mean a very precious Syrian asset has been destroyed for Syria to be pissed off enough and dare to retaliate.

September 9th, 2007, 4:56 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

Moscow plans to a squadron of military vessels led by the missile cruiser Moskva

Good move toward an essential balance of power in the ME.

September 9th, 2007, 5:41 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

the comments by cathy and IC are both very important,the fuel tank they showed is intact, with no damage,it lay on the ground right over the surface, no impression on the ground, I wonder if they were empty or full of fuel!, it is not damaged ,bent cracked,probably can be used again,
they found only two fuel tanks, one in Gazi entab and one in Iskandaron province, they were ,as reported, five planes, where are the rest of fuel tanks?
they penetrated deep in Syria they were not discovered, however something must happened so they are discoverable, could it be they hit a military base,so they discover them.
Syria is bent on responding, if they caused no life or property damage, I am surprised to see escalation.
five planes are not for probing,they must have been used for attack.
Syria responded by gunfire, not by missile , is it possible that the missiles were destroyed.
I doubt Syria will respond militarily,and soon.
I think we need to know more about what happened.
September 9th, 2007, 5:52 pm

September 9th, 2007, 5:56 pm


ausamaa said:

Guys, between the Sly Israelies, and the Tight-lipped Syrians, the Stone-cold Russians and the Present-while-Unpresent US forces in this hot area, do you think we will really succeeed in figuring this last one out? For all I care, the Israelies -and their good Friends of course- were just cought while trying to “test” Syrian readiness, then decided to get some “badly-needed” milage out of it by “appearing” silent? And the Syrians in turn, decided to make “good-noise” of the same for reasons of their own (such as how important Lebanese airspace is to Syria’s security!), to be used a time of Syria’s liking. Overflights and empty jetessioned fule tanks and Israeli provided colour maps is nothing new around here. Or is it? Isnt the IAF overflying places day in and day out. And if not; isnt the USAF capable of the same?

Actually, I am spending more time trying to “guess” what Hasssan Nassrallah’s recently promissed “surprise” to the Israelies could be all about? Psyops is nice after all. Especially when played by old foxes like the ones we have around here.

September 9th, 2007, 9:25 pm


norman said:

موضوع التصويت:
هل تؤيد ردا عسكريا سوريا على الانتهاك الإسرائيلي الأخير لأجوائها؟
الخيارات النسبة عدد الأصوات
نعم 70.4%

لا 29.6%


إجمالي المصوتين 24206

نتيجة التصويت لا تعبر عن رأي الجزيرة وإنما تعبر عن رأي الأعضاء المشاركين فيه.
أرسل نتيجة التصويت

September 10th, 2007, 12:53 am


Cathy H. said:

Sometimes absence of action is more telling than action.

One curious absence is the lack of reaction from the usual regional stakeholders. There were “no comment” statements not only from Israel, but also from the US, Lebanon and Jordan (I could not find news of a reaction from France). Russia came out with a weak rebuke around Israel’s need to respect international law.

Also curious is the vagueness of the Syrian statements. Syria stated that “munitions were dropped” with no damage occuring, an ambiguous statement which could be applied to either a targeting or a trespass-and-evade situation. It was Iran who stated that Syria was “bombed”, (implying a targeting situation) and offered military support to Syria.

As evidence that an incident did occur, Turkey has presented tanks but Syria has presented no physical evidence supporting their case even though they indicate such evidence exists. This is another curious absence.

Inference: Other parties know or strongly suspect the nature of the Israel incursion but are keeping mum for various reasons. Iran knows the likely intended target(s).

Personal supposition: Israel went into Syria on intelligence to find and destroy something significant (perhaps nuclear as Joshua proposes, perhaps chemical, perhaps biological). The intelligence was incorrect, hence Israel could not comment as this action could reveal information which might make a second attempt to locate & destroy more difficult…

…in turn, Syria strongly suspects what the Israeli target was, but is not certain. Hence Syria is publically warning Israel, but keeping intentionally vague lest they reveal information to Israel (or the rest of the world) what Syria has worth the risk of bombing.

Prediction: There will be a second attempt.

September 10th, 2007, 1:50 am


Akbar Palace said:

Peace Prof Josh states:

I spoke with Arab [sic] Nir, a foreign affairs correspondent on Israel’s largest TV Channel Sunday morning about the bombing. A number of Israeli reporters have contacted me since my original story ran on Syria Comment. They have their own sources in Israel but cannot use them because of Israeli censorship concerning military secrets. In this respect, I am playing the role of Shobbos Goy. Here is how Wikipedia defines Shobbos Goy…

Professor Josh,

Please try not to flatter yourself too much. If you were a REAL “Shabbos Goy”, you’d line your website with articles a bit more damning for your Christ & Saviour, Bashar Assad:

Günther Beckstein, the interior minister of Bavaria, said in a telephone interview Friday that four of the 10 suspects so far in the official investigation are Turkish. Mr. Yilmaz is one of the four. Mr. Beckstein said that investigators had sufficient evidence for the arrest of two others who have gone into hiding and possibly left the country and that the fourth was still in Germany, though investigators did not have enough evidence to arrest him.

Mr. Beckstein said the nationality of some of the other suspects was still unclear, and two are only known by their aliases, making it impossible to know their origins or whereabouts. He declined to identify by name any of the suspects still at large but said that two other suspects were known to have spent time in Lebanon and Syria and that the detonators found in Tuesday’s raids had come from Syria.


September 10th, 2007, 2:40 am


milli schmidt said:

Just got the following (personalised!! they must be keeping records..) invitation to the National Salvation Front’s congress in Berlin. I am in Germany that weekend but have other engagements – maybe there are some Berlin based readers that could go? I can’t believe they send invitations at such short notice – get organised, doh! Would be great to get a report:

“The National Salvation Front (NSF) in Syria will hold a congress on September 16 -17, 2007 in Berlin, Germany, to gather the Syrian people in order to fight against the current tyrannical regime and to establish a democratic state.

For this occasion, the NSF is pleased to invite you to this meeting. We hope to see you at this event. Please do accept the expression of our most sincere wishes.”

Note the absence of location..in true conspiratorial fashion this will be distributed by text message the day before…

September 10th, 2007, 11:04 am


t_desco said:

So far we have only seen pictures of dropped fuel tanks, which would be perfectly in line with a “high-speed fighter recon” mission.

Syria Comment reader Samuel says that the military base that was allegedly attacked is “in the vicinity (4 km) of Deir Ez Zor”.

Should we not have more reports by now if such an attack did indeed take place? Syria is very unlike North Korea.

For the same reason, Bolton’s idea that “Iran, Syria or others might be ‘safe havens’ for North Korea’s nuclear weapons development” is silly beyond belief. The North Koreans have total control over their territory and their society, they are reportedly very good at digging tunnels, if they want to hide something they will do so in their own country.

“Bolton is not making all this stuff up.”

But there is a great amount of spin in everything he says.

“My hunch is that some new bit of intelligence has come in to reanimate Bolton and the debate over Syria’s weapons capabilities.”

Or perhaps it is just part of a campaign by certain people to start war with certain countries?

I’m a bit surprised that your analysis doesn’t mention the short-range surface-to-air missiles recently imported from Russia. Perhaps Israel was more interested in them than in nonexistent Korean nuclear weapons programs on Syrian soil…?

September 10th, 2007, 11:19 am


Gammy said:

If the Israelis were going to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities which way would they fly…along the Turkish border?

September 10th, 2007, 11:22 am


t_desco said:

Seven more Fatah al-Islam suspects rounded up
By Mohammed Zaatari and Michael Bluhm

Monday, September 10, 2007

In Sidon and Zahrani in South Lebanon, six people were arrested on Saturday for allegedly belonging to a Fatah al-Islam sleeper cell there. The Internal Security Forces had taken three Sidon men into custody in mid-August in connection with the same cell. Authorities are investigating whether the men arrested on Saturday were involved with an attack in Qassimieh on the Tanzanian contingent of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, judicial sources said.

Although the army had placed the number of Fatah al-Islam gunmen at about 360 when fighting broke out on May 20, the source said the group had more than 1,000 members.

“They weren’t less than 1,000 on the day we started,” he added.

The purported Fatah al-Islam members arrested in Sidon were tied to their comrades seized earlier through CDs and other data on a computer belonging to one of the detained, the judicial source said. The six men arrested on Saturday had traveled to Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan and spoken at conferences on the subject of jihad. Some of the men had also been arrested before for distributing incendiary materials, the source added. …
The Daily Star

(my emphasis)

September 10th, 2007, 11:36 am


norman said:

المعلم يسرد تفاصيل التسلل الاسرائيلي للأجواء السورية .. الاخبار السياسية

كشف وزير الخارجية وليد المعلم لسفراء الاتحاد الاوروبي في دمشق تفاصيل خرق الطائرات الاسرائيلية الأجواء السورية في شمال شرقي البلاد والمسار الذي سلكته طائراته وصور للذخائر التي القتها في شمال شرقي البلاد.

وجاء الخرق الاسرائيلي بعد ساعات من نقل مسؤول الشؤون الخارجية في الاتحاد الاوروبي خافيير سولانا للمعلم أن رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي ايهود اولمرت “يبدأ خفض عديد قواته المنتشرة في الجولان السوري المحتل ”

ونقلت صحيفة الحياة اللندنية عن مصادر دبلوماسية غربية قولها إن “سفراء دول الاتحاد الاوروبي وروسيا الاتحادية وروسيا البيضاء واوكرانيا وتركيا اطّلعوا على صور للذخائر التي القتها الطائرات والمسار الذي اتخذته لدى خرق الاجواء في حدود الساعة الواحدة والنصف فجر الخميس، بدءاً من دخولها الأجواء السورية من جهة البحر الأبيض المتوسط، وانتهاء بوصولها الى قرب دير الزور، قبل ان تلتف عائدة بمحاذاة الحدود مع تركيا. وتضمن الملف، الذي اطلع عليه السفراء، صوراً لبقايا خزانات الوقود والذخائر التي ألقتها الطائرات”

وبدأ المعلم أمس الاحد زيارة الى تركيا ناقلا رسالة من الرئيس بشار الاسد الى الرئيس المنتخب عبد الله غول ورئيس وزرائه رجب طيب اردوغان ولمتابعة موضوع الخرق الاسرائيلي مع الجانب التركي .

وقال المعلم للسفراء إن “سولانا أبلغه خلال لقاء سريع ، على هامش اجتماع المؤتمر الوزاري العربي في القاهرة الاربعاء الماضي، أن اولمرت سيبدأ خفض عديد القوات في الجولان وسحب القوات التي انتشرت بعد التصعيد الأخير في الصيف الماضي، فيما كان الإعداد جاريا لخرق طائرات اسرائيلية الأجواء السورية بعد ساعات فقط “.

وإتصل المعلم صباح الخميس بسولانا ليخبره تفاصيل العملية الاسرائيلية، وأن ما حصل يتناقض مع ما قاله له أولمرت، ومع ما تعلنه اسرائيل عن رغبتها في السلام.

وقالت المصادر ذاتها ان سولانا وعد بمعاودة الاتصال بدمشق .

وأعلن في تركيا ان الطائرات “القت خزانات وقود في لواء اسكندرون وان انقرة طلبت توضيحاً رسمياً من اسرائيل.”

وقالت المصادر إن المعلم “أكد ان الحرص على عدم التصعيد يقتضي ادانة ما قامت به اسرائيل على اساس الاعتقاد بأن التصعيد الاسرائيلي يهدد بتصعيد التوتر في الشرق الاوسط “.

وفي اسرائيل، رفض اولمرت التعليق على الموضوع في تصريحاته التي سبقت الاجتماع الاسبوعي للحكومة بل مدح الجيش الاسرائيلي على “نجاحاته وشجاعته” وقال إنه “لا يمكن الكشف للجمهور عن كل الاوراق التي في يدنا “.


September 10th, 2007, 12:44 pm


norman said:

القضاء اللبناني يؤكد أن الجثة الموجودة لدى الأمن ليست للعبسي

September 10th, 2007, 12:50 pm


antika said:

Israel and USA havre info that in the area outside Aleppo there is a training camp as well as a plant for WMD near Safira. Battaries are not a serious threat to Israel and they will never be…what happened is a pre-war cleansing of a possible WMD plant…photos of this plant can be viewed onine on http://www.globalsecurity.org

the area between Aleppo and Dair-alzoor is nearly empty and usually favoured by the syrian militery and it is also the focus of Isreali Int. Three years ago…two Isreali helicopters protected by 12 IAF planes landed in that area and took samples of the soil…all that is happening in secret…even this week’s event would have been kept secret by syria if they can trust Isreal. what an embarresment it would be??? syrians acted wisely this time…

September 10th, 2007, 1:11 pm


t_desco said:

If these pictures do exist, why not publish them?

The al-Absi story in English:

Lebanon militant ‘escaped siege’
BBC News

September 10th, 2007, 2:33 pm


resident counter revisionist said:

I’m going to side track here a little bit, but jsut wanted to say that Joshua, you got ass your ass majorly wipped by Tony.

We all enjoyed it so much 🙂


September 10th, 2007, 8:24 pm


t_desco said:

“Mohammed Raad, a senior Hizballah official, suggested that the overflight was an attempt to “identify an aggressive aerial passage” for an air strike against Iran. Analysts long have pondered the potential flight routes Israeli bombers would take in the event of a decision to target Iran’s nuclear sites. Given the limitations of aircraft range, one option would be flying directly across Jordan and/or Saudi Arabia and through U.S.-patrolled Iraqi skies. Neither the Saudis and Jordanians would shed tears if Iran’s nuclear capability was destroyed in an air strike, but they could not afford to be seen as having granted the Israelis safe passage though their skies.

An alternative would be to follow the Turkish-Syrian border eastward to Iraqi Kurdistan, and then on to Iran. According to John Pike of globalsecurity.org, the many technical and political factors in play make it difficult to predict which route the Israelis might choose. “At this level of technical detail, one starts to get thinking about what sort of weapons would be carried, and what sort of drag this imposes and how that affects combat range,” Pike told TIME.

Even if it were not related to a bombing route, the purpose of Israel’s unusual air mission last week may yet be related to Iran. In August, Syria reportedly received from Russia the first batch of 50 Pantsyr S1E short-range air defense systems, part of an alleged sale worth almost $1 billion. The deal is said to have been financed by Iran, which reportedly will receive from Syria some of the Pantsyr units and deploy them to protect its nuclear facilities. The recently developed Pantsyr, which its Russian manufacturers claim is immune to jamming, includes surface-to-air missiles and 30mm gatling guns, providing complete defensive coverage for a range of 11 to 12 miles and 6 miles in altitude. Pantsyr batteries could pose a serious challenge to either an Israeli or a U.S. air strike on Iran. So were the Israeli aircraft playing a perilous game of chicken to assess the capabilities of the Pantsyr system in response to their countermeasures? Some in Syria believe so.

“There seems to be a consensus here that the Israelis were testing Syrian air defense systems,” Andrew Tabler, Damascus-based editor of Syria Today, told TIME.”
Why Did Israeli Planes Enter Syria?
By Nicholas Blanford, TIME

September 10th, 2007, 8:27 pm


Homo Sapiens said:

An article in ‘Ha’aretz’, with a map of the strike, as presented by Syrian foreign minister to European ambassadors in Damascus:

The equivalent english article (doesn’t contain the map):


September 11th, 2007, 12:47 pm


Left Flank » Murky said:

[…] Joshua Landis, after the September 6 raid, also quotes numerous offiicials in Israel, Syria, and the US. One theory put forth by the Syrian VP goes like this: A number of commentators, including Syria’s Vice President Sharaa, have speculated that Israel is being used by President Bush, but this operation could just as well be Bolton/Cheney/Olmert going around Bush and the State Department and elements of the government. They know they can do what they want with Israel and get away with it. In this context, it is not Israel doing our dirty work, but Olmert/Cheney/Bolton doing what they want while laughing at Bush. […]

September 23rd, 2007, 9:06 am


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