Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 30, 2013

Syria: First To Blink ...

Look who blinks:
Syria's opposition chief Moaz al-Khatib said on Wednesday he is ready for dialogue with officials of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, subject to conditions including that some 160,000 detainees are released.

"I announce I am ready for direct discussions with representatives of the Syrian regime in Cairo, Tunis or Istanbul," Mr Khatib said via his Facebook page, citing as another condition that passports for exiled citizens be renewed in embassies abroad.

Missing is the condition that many "western" governments and their puppet Syrian opposition had earlier set for talks. There is no longer the demand that Bashar al-Assad has to leave before any negotiations can take place.

It is likely that many of the exile Syrian opposition will reject these negotiations and further split their coalition.

I expect that the Syrian government will take up this offer but it will take time for the process to start. There obviously will be no release of opposition fighters from prison before negotiations start. When they start al-Khatib and his bosses in Washington will have little to offer. The fighters on the ground are not under the command of the exile opposition. They will care little about what he negotiates.

Still this offer will have effects. On the ground it will diminish the motivation of some of the fighters. It will also have effects on those that finance and support the opposition fighters. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar will have to treat more carefully now as al-Khatib negotiation offer implies that Washington wants the conflict to end. Whoever stands in the way will have to watch out.

Posted by b on January 30, 2013 at 18:10 UTC | Permalink

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Regarding the "Israel air strike against Syrian convoy to Lebanon":

I do not yet believe that such a strike happened. There was no confirmation from Lebanon nor from the Syrian insurgents. Some new said it was SA-17 air defense systems that were attacked. Syria is not known to have such systems and if it had it would be nuts to give them away as they are still urgently needed.

A lot of chaff thrown by Israel on the issue. But zero data to confirm those anonymous sources.

Posted by: b | Jan 30 2013 18:54 utc | 1

This is pretty big, isn't it? That said, the demand for the release of detainees is suspicious. Seems it could simply be a sign of desperation on the part of the opposition; hoping to bolster their flagging numbers. They could then withdraw from negotiations, citing some disagreement, before sending out a call to arms to those released.

Sheik Khatib’s offer, published in Arabic on his Facebook page, quickly provoked sharp criticism from others in the Syrian opposition coalition, with some distancing themselves and complaining that the leader had not consulted with colleagues in advance. The sheik later clarified in a second statement that he was expressing his personal opinion, while he chided critics in among his colleagues who he described as “those sitting down on their couches and then saying ‘Attack — don’t negotiate.’ ”

I'm glad that someone within the opposition finally said it. Too many arm chair warriors. All the better that it was Khatib. A step in the right direction, I hope..

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 30 2013 19:08 utc | 2

The Syrians have been steadily removing the terrorists, and at the same time, creating the mechanisms to bring about the dialog and reconciliation internally. The Syrian government is taking a very pro-active role, now, they are not sitting around, waiting for Israel-America's next move. It is Israel-America who are now the reactors. They appear to have lost their earlier initiative completely. The puppet leadership outside of Syria is becoming redundant. This is probably why Khatib was tasked by Israel-America to compromise. If the external puppets don't compromise, they will be left in the dust, outside Syria, and irrelevant to what goes on there. See the following articles on the efforts by the Syrian government:

Talks on Activating National Reconciliation Committee Role in Political Program

Procedures to Ensure Safe Return of Displaced Syrians Reviewed

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 19:48 utc | 3

See also:

Committee Charged with Carrying out Political Program meets Souria al-Watan Party

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 19:50 utc | 4

First post here but been reading it for a while now.

Seems there wasn't only an airstrike aimed at a convoy but also one at a military compound inside Syria (just outside of Damascus).

I wonder how Syria and Iran will react to this new escalation of the conflict. Especially since Iran let it be known that any attack on Syria would constitute an attack on Iran itself? Is that maybe why Israel struck (to draw them in)?

Big thanks to b for the site and the amazing analysis I can find on MoA daily.

Posted by: Gehenna | Jan 30 2013 20:03 utc | 5

@1: Syria confirms air strike:

Posted by: k_w | Jan 30 2013 20:07 utc | 6

My guess is, Israel knows terrorists are losing, so rabid Nutjobyahoo started bombing Syria, hoping to start full-scale war, involving Syria, NATO, Iran, maybe Russia, etc.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 30 2013 20:12 utc | 7

Looks like Israel-America is attempting to regain their lost initiative by raising the level of their war crimes from covert support of the terrorists to direct state to state aggression. Obviously seeking to provoke the Syrian government, which the zionists/fascists running the west will then claim is Syrian aggression.

Army Command: Israeli Warplanes Violated Syrian Airspace and Bombarded Scientific Research Center in Damascus Countryside

"The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace on Wednesday dawn and bombarded directly a scientific research center responsible for raising the levels of resistance and self-defense in Jamraya area in Damascus Countryside.

In a statement, the General Command that this attack came after Israel and other countries that oppose the Syrian people utilized their pawns in Syria to attack select vital and military locations in an attempt to undermine Syria's support for the resistance and just rights in the region, with these pawns succeeding and failing to strike at sites such as air defense systems over a period of almost two years.

The statement said that Israeli warplanes snuck from the north of Al-Sheikh Mountain, flying at a low altitude and below radars, heading to Jamraya in Damascus Countryside where a branch of a scientific research center is located and bombarded the location before sneaking away.

The aggression resulted in considerable material damages and destruction to the building, in addition to a vehicular development center and a garage, martyring two workers and injuring five others.

The statement stressed that the allegations of some media outlets that the Israeli warplanes targeted a convoy headed from Syria to Lebanon are baseless, with the General Command affirming that the Israeli warplane targeted a scientific research facility in blatant violation of Syrian sovereignty and airspace.

The General Command said that it has become clear to everyone that Israel is the motivator, beneficiary and sometimes executor of the terrorist acts which target Syria and its resistant people, with some countries that support terrorism being accomplices in this, primarily Turkey and Qatar."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 20:14 utc | 8

Israeli warplanes bombed military site near Damascus - Syrian state news agency

"Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria's military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon.

Two people were killed and five wounded in the attack on the site in Jamraya, which it described as one of a number of "scientific research centers aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defense".

The building was destroyed, the military command said in a statement carried by state media.

It said the planes crossed into Syria below the radar level, just north of Mount Hermon, and returned the same way.

Sources told Reuters earlier that Israeli jets had bombed a convoy on Syria's border with Lebanon on Wednesday, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah."

Apparently the "Hezbollah" fiction was the propaganda message the zionist-fascist media was to go with, but was quickly shot down by the media outside their sphere of control.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 20:26 utc | 9

A glance at the zionist-fascist media (quick look at google and yahoo news) shows the story they are inventing now is that Israeli air attack was to prevent "chemical weapons" being transferred by the Syrian government to Hezbollah.

As the Israelis have been preparing the ground in the media for this attack for a couple of weeks now, it is clear this is an Israeli-American strategy to up their involvement in Syria.

Since their terrorists are getting wiped out, they are attempting to create a pretext to use to directly attack Syria. This is timed with their Patriot batteries in Turkey becoming operational. Two on line now, the rest soon to follow, probably about the time Israel-American can begin their main air war on Syria.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 20:35 utc | 10

I suppose this was done re: "Israel has the right to defend itself".....

Posted by: georgeg | Jan 30 2013 20:42 utc | 11

Israeli airstrike targeted science facility near Syrian capital: military

"The military statement, splashed in a thick red news bar on the state-TV, said the Israeli fighter jets penetrated at dawn Wednesday the Syrian airspace and directly struck one of the country's scientific research center located in the Jumraya suburb of the capital.

The attack came after many unsuccessful attempts by the "armed terrorist groups" to capture this site over the past months, the military statement said, hinting that the Israeli air raid played in the hands of the rebels.

It said the facility was responsible for lifting up the level of resistance and self-defense, adding that the attack led to the killing of two workers and the wounding of five others."

See also:

Patriot defense systems from U.S. arrive in Turkey

"A ship carrying Patriot air defense systems from the United States arrived at the Iskenderun Bay in southern Turkey on Wednesday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

U.S. flagged ship "Alliance Charleston" began its journey from the Port of Baltimore and reached the Iskenderun Bay in Hatay province on Wednesday, according to the report.

Patriot's system parts have already been carried from the Netherlands and Germany to Turkey's Iskenderun Port and they went operational in Turkish southern provinces of Adana and Kahramanmaras in the past days."

It's possible the Israeli-American war criminals will be in a full scale air attack on Syria within the week, depending how long it takes to set up these last Patriot batteries and position their air strike forces.

This also appears to be timed with the finishing of the Russian east Med. naval exercises, which concluded yesterday.

Expect "Syrian chemical weapon" stories in the western media, and "finds" of these where they are not supposed to be.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 20:49 utc | 12

Israel has struck inside Syria
The news is contradictory, but, as I suspected Israel would, Israel looks to have struck Syrai
Bot Tak: I think I mentioned this to you last week?
I am flabbergasted
But not surprised
Now what

Inf here
sorry no linky thing

Posted by: Penny | Jan 30 2013 20:53 utc | 13

Little will stir Syrian patriotism more, and indeed the resolve of the entire resistance movement, than an attack against its sovereignty by Israel. No wonder Syrian media is running with the story. It legitimises claims that the uprising was instigated by outsiders who sought to break this resistance alliance, and portrays militants fighting the Syrian army as puppets of Israel.

But I don't believe that this is any sort of prelude to a larger attack.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 30 2013 21:00 utc | 14

It is possible that a wild cocktail of Plan Bs are approaching.
There are some hints that the rebels much reported "string of victories" that culminated in the beginning of December has come to a halt and even partially offset by successes of the syrian army in and around Damascus, but also in Homs and Hama province.

As I said many times here: while the army is contnuing to use its airforce the rebels have not managed to shoot down any aircraft since November 28th, which was 2 months ago.
The much reported and hyped victories around Aleppo city were supposed to cut-off the armys supply routes, but it seems in Aleppo the army is holding ground and even advancing in some areas.

Now, suddently many things are happening: First the dubious massacre reports from Aleppo which were covered by the msm in a way to implicate the government and portray them as the perpetrators, then Israels unexpected and unprovoked attack. A possible scenario would be to provoke Syria to retaliate just to launch heavy airstrikes against the regime.
I would not wonder if we read news of syrian rockets suddenly falling again on turkish soil.
The accusation and demonization picture would be complete:
A desperate and murderous regime massacres civilians, attacks neighbours and tries to transport weapons to the Hizbullah "bad boys". The civilized worlds natural answer: Support Israels "self-defence" aggression.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Jan 30 2013 21:06 utc | 15

But I don't believe that this is any sort of prelude to a larger attack.

That might be the case, however if no action is taken Iran will be viewed as a paper tiger. Just this week the Supreme Leader spokesman said that any attack on Syria by outside forces will be viewed as an attack on Iran. Iran has let go far too much terrorist attacks on it sovereignty and people with no response, it has to be seen to do something.

Posted by: hans | Jan 30 2013 21:08 utc | 16

Pat Bateman - 14

"But I don't believe that this is any sort of prelude to a larger attack."

It's part of a carefully planned and executed escalation of the war against Syria. One can see the Israeli-Americans steadily ratcheting up the pressure and scale of the war. They have a lot of stake in destroying Syria, just as they do in Destroying Iran. This is part of the full spectrum dominance policies they are practicing and each of these aggressions are part of the over all "Great Game" strategy Israel-America has been pursuing since at least 1970's, when they planned their initial assaults on Afghanistan and began their use of "Arab terrorism" as a way to gain a foothold in Muslim predominant regions of the ME and central Asia.

How rapidly the Israeli-Americans will escalate their involvement "officially" against Syria is still a question, but people should expect the worst. This has all the signs, like before the Iraq and Syrian attacks, of prepared escalation to open warfare. The military preparations are almost ready, and the media obviously has their prepared propaganda messages already packaged and distributed.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 21:23 utc | 17


A really valid point. Such is the timing of the attack that this seems to me as an attempt to undermine Iran's position, and to offer a clear message - We will strike who we please, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's an act to either provoke a response or to expose Iran as, like you say, a paper tiger. A win win from Israel's perspective I suppose.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 30 2013 21:28 utc | 18

Israeli warplanes bombed research center near Damascus - Syrian military

“It finally makes sense because the rebels or as they like to call themselves the revolutionaries, they have been attacking air defense bases near Damascus for the past seven months,” Dr Ali Mohamad, editor in chief of the Syria Tribune news website told RT. “They’ve managed to attack the S-200 base and over four SM-2 and SM-3 bases. Now this followed by an airstrike from Israel. So it all adds up, it makes sense. It only shows that Israel has a great interest in the instability in Syria and that it is being helped by groups of armed rebels in Syria.”

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 21:44 utc | 19

Why would Iran be a 'paper tiger' for not attacking Israel?
Wouldn't they (the Iranians) be smarter in sitting back and letting the West continue to escalate the violence? They win two-fold; first they are showing the world who the true aggressors are (the west); second they continue preparing their country's defenses to repel the expected invasion... America is past due to implode from all the warmongering and financial shenanigans, and the longer Iran waits and prepares the better chance America becomes too busy fighting itself to worry much about Iran.

Posted by: DaveS | Jan 30 2013 21:45 utc | 20

Why would Iran be a 'paper tiger' for not attacking Israel?

It is Iran itself which raised the stakes this week when the spokesman of the Supreme Leader said a foreign attack on Syria will be viewed as if it is a direct attack on Iran. Now the SLC has upped the ante it wants to show that Iran will do nothing, it is not an allie to rely on. Iran will have to do something or it will face the consequences.

Posted by: hans | Jan 30 2013 21:49 utc | 21

While Israel-America probably thought of Iran, I doubt they are the reason behind the Israeli attack. Iran would have to be pretty stupid to over reach itself and attack israel. Likewise, anybody who would think Iran was a "paper tiger" for not making such a stupid move has got to be pretty stupid themselves. Most people in the ME know the besieged position Iran is in.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 22:02 utc | 22

Perhaps Israel is anticipating that the "revolution" in Syria will fall soon. They were quite content with Assad, under whose rule no single bullet flew over Golan Heights. Otherwise IDF would have been already deployed in Syria. However, they are not wasting the time and using the moment of Assad's weakness to destroy what is left of Syrian advanced military infrastructure.

Posted by: Michal | Jan 30 2013 22:13 utc | 23


Israeli military intel chief traveling to Washington

"IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi is traveling to Washington for consultations with American officials, defense sources told Al-Monitor.

Israeli officials declined to confirm the focus of his visit, but it comes amid signs of heightened Israeli concern about Syria.

“Hezbollah has set up several bases in Syria, near known locations where Syrian President Bashar Assad is holding parts of his chemical warfare arsenal,” Ynet’s Ron Ben-Yishai reported Monday."

That report from yesterday by one of Israel's high placed and trusted media assets. They use these people as "lead propagandists" for the rest of their media assets (essentially, the majority of western media now) to follow suit.

I posted this yesterday:

Israel Sends Hawkish Security Chief to Moscow to Discuss Syria Chemical Weapons
Urges Russia to 'Take Steps' to Prevent Loss of Weapons

"With Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom making public Israeli considerations to attack Syria over questions about the security of their chemical weapons only yesterday, Israel is now deploying National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror to Moscow for talks with the Russian government.

Amidror, an extremely hawkish retired general affiliated with Jewish Home, is scheduled to meet with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov and other top officials, reportedly to press them to “take steps” to prevent the transfer of weapons out of the control of the Assad government.

According to Shalom, a meeting of Israeli security chiefs, held secretly last week, decided that Israel would attack Syria at the first sign of any movement of any of their chemical weapons."

Were the Israelis also coordinating with the Russian government? The Russian government response to this may provide the answer - indirectly, any way.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 22:19 utc | 24

Michal - 23

...And the earth really is 6000 years old, anti-zionism is anti-semitism, etc...

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 22:22 utc | 25

Prepping for the propaganda message for an already planned war crime:

Is a preemptive strike on Syria’s WMD legal?

Published just before the Israeli air strike took place.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 30 2013 22:47 utc | 26

@ Pat Bantman [#14],

Q: But I don't believe that this is any sort of prelude to a larger attack.

R: The IAF used to fly through the sound barrier over Assad's palace for fun, when they could. Nevertheless, if I were Russian, I'd stop heralding my triple A shite as 'impenetrable.'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 30 2013 23:47 utc | 27

Iran on the Offensive, By Claude Salhani | Tue, 29 January 2013

Those [mentioned above] are the conventional forces. In addition, perhaps just as dangerous, if not all the more so is the Islamic Republic’s capability to carry out asymmetrical warfare against the United States, the Gulf countries and other Western powers, such as members of NATO or the European Union.

Under the heading of asymmetrical warfare comes two subheadings; cyber terrorism, and electromagnetic pulse, also known as EMP.

The effects of either one alone could be devastating on the infrastructure of a civilized society.

Cyber warfare attacks computers and computer systems and can create havoc in the banking system, the North American electric grid, flight control systems and even find its way into military systems and security computers and intelligence and counterintelligence systems.

The electromagnetic pulse is quite as lethal if deployed properly, something Iran already know how to do according to several sources who closely follow Iran's progress in that field.

Without going into too many technical details electromagnetic pulse works by setting off a high-frequency signal high above the earth that incapacitates an enemy’s command-and-control systems, and paralyzes anything that has an electronic component attached to it. That means airplanes, tanks, cars, ships and so on and so forth, would be put out of action instantly and without the need to deploy military forces.

As if that was not enough to worry about, Iran holds one more trump card: the religious fervor that motivates many of its fighters, who urged by the mullahs are led to believe they are carrying out Gods work.

Posted by: erichwwk | Jan 30 2013 23:50 utc | 28

erichwwk - 28

To create that electromagnetic pulse effect would require a nuclear weapon. Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 0:11 utc | 29

Additional info on the Patriot deployment in Turkey:

Two US Patriot missiles arrive in S Turkey

"On Monday, two German batteries, which have been deployed around the southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Syrian border, became operational.

On Saturday, the Netherlands activated two Patriot batteries near the southern city of Adana."

All the batteries except for the 2 American manned ones are already operational. It depends now on how long it takes to get the newly arrived American batteries operational. That should be within a week, unless all the equipment for these weapon systems wasn't sent. I believe the personnel arrived weeks ago.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 0:33 utc | 30

@ erichwwk [#28]

Q: Iran meanwhile has some 545,000 active frontline personnel and an additional 650,000 in the reserves. Iran has 2,895 tanks, 1,500 armored fighting vehicles, 310 self-propelled guns, 2,368 towed artillery pieces, 860 rocket launchers, 5,000 portable mortar launchers, close to 1,800 planes and 800 helicopters –though it is questionable how many are still operational. Iran has also an important naval presence in the Gulf, including specially trained units capable of disrupting international oil shipping routes through the very strategic Straits of Hormuz.

R: Saddam Husein's numbers were even more impressive..., didn't do him any good.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 31 2013 1:49 utc | 31

I agree that by admitting to the attack by israel, syria is preparing a counter-attack, if syria doesn't plan to do anything they would just deny the attack happened or not say anything.

Posted by: nikon | Jan 31 2013 3:05 utc | 32

@32 "I agree that by admitting to the attack by israel, syria is preparing a counter-attack"

Even if they will, it will be clandestine, Syria cant afford direct military confrontation with Israel, Turkey and the like. Syria has enough on its plate as it is, and as much as it sucks, neither they nor Iran cant do much about it openly. The only case Iran joins the fight if Syria is under full-scale attack by the NATO (not speaking about provocations like last nights), and even then Iran might choose to sit out.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 31 2013 3:20 utc | 33

nikon@32 Assad can't afford to tussle with Bibi, but, Hezbollah is most likely prepping for the next Lebanese excursion by the IDF...! Five sorties, over 12 hours, in Lebanese air space, must rankle Nasrullah...!

Posted by: CTuttle | Jan 31 2013 5:15 utc | 34

"Attack of Israeli air force on facilities in Syria is unacceptable - Russian Foreign Ministry

"Moscow is deeply concerned about the reports of an attack of Israel's Air Force on Syrian facilities near Damascus.

If this information proves true, then we deal with unsanctioned strikes on targets on the territory of a sovereign state, which is a blatant violation of the UN Charter and is unacceptable no matter what reasons are behind the attack," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on the ministry's official website on Thursday.

"We are taking urgent measures to clarify the situation in detail," the statement reads."


Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 5:57 utc | 35 long have you been saying Assad has the advantage now and its all over for the rebels? Come on now, look at this thing without bias, do you really think the West is just going to drop their support for the rebels? Can you please tell me ONE dictator who has survived once the US said it was time for him to go?

You said the same about Ghaddafi, and probably the same for Saddam and Milosevic and the Taliban and every other clown before them. Spoiler alert: Assad is not going to be the ONE dictator who somehow survives the US opposition to him.

I have really bad news for you guys. Assad won't win in the end. And if you don't believe me, put your money where your mouth is. You can make 4 times your investment right now on

Posted by: Get Real | Jan 31 2013 7:26 utc | 36

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the media that “an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.”
A Neanderthal man I guess

Posted by: hans | Jan 31 2013 7:34 utc | 37

Wars, covert or open, are a means to an end.

We must not be drawn in interpretation circles like "Why would israel attack Syria? Isn't israel more interested in having a stable Syria?"

For it's very existence israel needed the usa (being drawn into WW2) and since then its existence depends on the usa.
"Unfortunateley" though, obama, accompanied by an increasing wave of (at least) "usa first" (if not "f**k israel") seems to have understood that a) they are a declining soon Ex-superpower, and b) in deep troubles of all kinds, economically, financially and even militarilly.

israels major rationale is, as shown before in its direct and overt mangling in the american elections, to not let the us have any chance to look - as urgently needed - inwards but to stay useful idiots, culprits and war bots of israel.

Happily enough - the Russians can hardly be praised enough - though, Russia keeps up the counter pressure on nato. They immediately followed up on their multiple "Njet" by making an clear and diplomatically blunt statement, even one pointing to israel.

Not so long ago a zionist editor "reasoned" about the asassination of the us president. It's about time for the usa to turn that reasoning around. And if only by slightly retracting themselves to something like "respect for inner matters" and let hundreds of millions of supressed, insulted and rightfully angry near-east people have their way ... and the us their way out of being a useful and almost broken slave of the zionist rabbis ...

I said it before: The point of interest is *how* israel is terminated.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 31 2013 7:46 utc | 38

@23, 25 - I agree with Michal; people that think the earth is 6000 years old also tend to think that everything that happens on the planet is the result of incessant, coherent planning of all-knowing, all-powerful supernatural beings located near Jerusalem

Posted by: claudio | Jan 31 2013 7:55 utc | 39

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 8:21 utc | 40

This could mean one of two things.
A) either Israel attacked Syria to draw Iran into the fight and get Syria to retaliate (actually I'd love to see a couple of Iskander fly towards Tel Aviv). Israel doens't mean an automatic Nato retaliation (even if they'd rally, Turkey would most likely block it).

B) It's a game. On the north patriots and along Israel the iron dome and a country which can fly with impunity through Syrian airspace. This happened on the same day the SNC leader (Khatib) approached the government for talks. Could be a "carrot and the leash" type of scenario where they (US and it's allies in this shadow war) give Assad the choice between all out war or talks with the opposition (and then they'd force him to resign...after all regime change is still their goal).

Interesting situation to say the least!

Posted by: Gehenna | Jan 31 2013 8:26 utc | 41

This piece provides a lot of useful background info about the Israeli-American campaign using terrorism to destroy countries, including the Israeli-Saudi connections.

Israeli Attack: Desperate Bid to Save Failed Syrian Campaign

"Israel has conducted airstrikes in Syria based on "suspicions" of chemical weapon transfers, in a flagrant violation of the UN Charter, international law, and in direct violation of Syria's sovereignty. The Guardian in its report titled, "Israel carries out air strike on Syria," claims:

"Israeli warplanes have attacked a target close to the Syrian-Lebanese border following several days of heightened warnings from government officials over Syria's stockpiles of weapons."

It also stated:

"Israel has publicly warned that it would take military action to prevent the Syrian regime's chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon or "global jihadists" fighting inside Syria. Israeli military intelligence is said to be monitoring the area round the clock via satellite for possible convoys carrying weapons."

In reality, these "global jihaidists" are in fact armed and funded by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel since at least as early as 2007. They are also in fact the direct beneficiaries of Israel's recent aggression. The Israeli "suspicions" of "weapon transfers" of course, remain unconfirmed, because the purpose of the attack was not to prevent the transfer of "chemical weapons" to Hezbollah in Lebanon, but to provoke a wider conflict aimed not at Israel's defense, but at salvaging the West's floundering proxy terrorist forces inside Syria attempting to subvert and overthrow the Syrian nation.

The silence from the United Nations is deafening. While Turkey openly harbors foreign terrorists, arming and funding them with Western, Saudi, and Qatari cash as they conduct raids on neighboring Syria, any Syrian attack on Turkish territory would immediately result in the United Nations mobilizing. Conversely, Turkey is allowed, for years, to conduct air strikes and even partial ground invasions of neighboring Iraq to attack Kurdish groups accused of undermining Turkish security. It is clear the same double standard has long applied to Israel..."

I checked both Guardian and Independent to how they were covering the Israeli attack on Syria. They both peddled the exact same zionist propaganda lines about Syrian CW transfers to Hezbollah the rest of the zionist media was. Everybody got their message and didn't stray from it.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 9:24 utc | 42

Israeli regime deploying forces on Syria border: Syria TV

"Syria’s state television says the Israeli regime is deploying military forces on the Syrian border.

The move comes a day after an Israeli airstrike reportedly targeted a defense research center near the Syrian capital city of Damascus, killing two people and injuring five others.

Earlier in the day, Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah strongly condemned the Israeli regime’s aerial assault on its neighboring Arab country, describing it as a “barbaric aggression.”

Arab League and Lebanon also condemn the Israelis:

International and Arab Condemnations of Israeli Aggression on Syria

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 9:44 utc | 43

Arab League and Lebanon also condemn the Israelis:

International and Arab Condemnations of Israeli Aggression on Syria

The same Lebanon which was last seen at the Syria terrorist donor convention begging for scraps from their Zionist masters as to Arab condemnations, a certain John McEnroe would have put it like this "You cannot be serious" LOL

Posted by: hans | Jan 31 2013 10:01 utc | 44

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday that the attack clearly demonstrated that foreign-sponsored militants and Israel pursue the same goals with regard to Syria.

Is this the best politician they could find Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, LMAO.

Posted by: hans | Jan 31 2013 13:43 utc | 45

Daniel Rich-

At the time of the 2003 American invasion, Iraq's Air Force was non-existent.

By 2003, Iraq's air power numbered an estimated 180, of which only about a half were flyable.[18] In late 2002, a Yugoslav weapons company provided servicing for the MiG-21s and MiG-23s, violating the UN sanctions.[18] An aviation institute in Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, supplied the engines and spare parts.[19] These however, were too late to improve the condition of Iraq's air force.

On the brink of the US led invasion, Saddam Hussein disregarded his air force's wishes to defend the country's airspace against coalition aircraft and ordered the bulk of his fighters disassembled or buried. Air Vice Marshal Abed Hamed Mowhoush was apparently the air force commander immediately prior to the war. Some were later found by US excavation forces around the Al Taqqadum and Al Asad air bases, including MiG-25s and Su-25s.[20] The IQAF proved to be totally non-existent during the invasion; a few helicopters were seen but no fighters flew to combat coalition aircraft.

Without air power to back them up, tanks are nothing more than tin cans waiting to be blown-up.
By 2003 Iraq's air defense system was not much better than it's air force:

Syria may or may not be able to withstand a concerted Israeli-American assault, but any comparison with the outmoded and demoralized Iraqi military of 2003 is irrelevant.

Posted by: Gareth | Jan 31 2013 14:55 utc | 46


Your desire to see Iran defeated is making you say falshood. Velayati is not the "spokesman" for the iranian leader as you falsly claim. He is not expressing the iranian state's official position. Khamenei has numerous "councelors", Velayati among others. And, they are obviousely all entitled to their own opinions. It is true that the position expressed by Velayati might be close to the one of the leadership, but you can be sure that no action will come out of Iran unless in concertation with Syrian leadership and coordinated with her firends in the region before hand. That has been the modus operandi for Iran for over 20 years now. Therefore, even an apparent non reaction, won't display Iran as a "paper tiger", which is assuredly what you wish for, but re-infore her image as a prudent and poised political actor.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 31 2013 16:04 utc | 47

@ATH 42

Your desire to see Iran defeated is making you say falshood. Velayati is not the "spokesman" for the Iranian leader as you falsely claim.

I did not claim, it was PressTV which made that claim, i just copied verbitum. If it is true what you say why was there no rebuke against Velayati. Here is another example.

Statements by top Iranian officials last weekend are another indication of the destabilising impact of the escalating efforts by the US and its allies to oust the Syrian regime of President Bashar al Assad. Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the media that “an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.”

Posted by: hans | Jan 31 2013 16:15 utc | 48


PressTV is not an official organ of the Iranian government, IRNA is.

And here's the article in PressTV on Velayati.

It is clearly saying that he is a senior advisor. My search on the site couldn't find any article talking about him being the "spokesman". Since you are saying that this was verbatim, can you oblige us with the link.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 31 2013 16:30 utc | 49

FYI: Syria is taking their complain to the UN
For what it's worth?
And since this is the UN.... I am not optimistic, given the UN is essentially a very bad sick twisted joke on the world.

Not much news around Syria's complaint, just the usual spin.

What will come of this complaint? Russia and China are key here
So, we will see

Posted by: Penny | Jan 31 2013 17:08 utc | 50

Michal @ 23

Israel was content with Assad?

NO. Israel has been behind this destabilization from March 2011 minimally and likely long beforehand.

That claim, from the early days, is pure spin.
If that is what you believe, then you have been led down the garden path or have not really been paying attention

Posted by: Penny | Jan 31 2013 17:27 utc | 51

According to SANA, Syria operations against the terrorists continued today with no noticeable change. The msm continues dispensing their Israeli supplied propaganda defending their precious rogue state. A worrying development in Russia. VOR, while being fairly forthright earlier, their recent articles are full of Israeli propaganda. They might to be setting the stage for a sell out. Took a look around some alternate news sites to see what they are saying about this latest Israeli war crime.

Global Research, RT and Stephen Lendman have decent material up.
Democracy Now has just a headline up, but it's a fair summary of the attack.
Counterpunch doesn't have anything on the attack, but does have a critical article up about Israeli-American involvement in Syria.
The Real News, Dissident Voice, Voltaire Network, & Z-Net have not posted anything yet.
Antiwar has Israeli propaganda and some mildly critical material posted.
Mondoweiss is pushing the Israeli propaganda exclusively, like the msm is.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 18:33 utc | 52

Since nobody's talking about the bombing raid, my bet is that people coming in to talk about a possible peace settlement similar to the bombing of the Hamas guy prior to the last squabble between the Gazan's and the Isreali's. thr last thing isreal wants is the assadies and the sunnis to patch together an accord,

Posted by: heath | Jan 31 2013 19:03 utc | 53

@52 "A worrying development in Russia... They might to be setting the stage for a sell out."

I agree, I dont like the signs. Medvedev saying how Assad's days are numbered, not providing anything to counter Patriots (Iskanders story was fake). Then Israel bombing Syria with full sense of impunity, and Russia again just condemning. Are S-300 even operated by Syrians (like Patriots are operated by non-turks)? If by Russians, it would be another thing to worry about.

Since terrorists are losing, West are initiating direct war and I'm afraid Israel's attack was the first of many. It doesnt seem Russia will want to take part in the actual war, and maybe even got the deal they wanted and now selling-out Syria. I wouldnt be surprised if Russia gave green light to Israel's attack.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 31 2013 19:06 utc | 54

Why are there so many people in this blog posturing as folks being anti-western policy in the middle-east but in reality salivating for a new round of destructive war ? US has seriousely decided to downgrade it's military expenditure and Israel is not in a position to attack and occupy Syria. Russia is firmly behind Syria in UNSC matter and won't allow any attack on it's soil have a semblence of international legitimacy. This is a long haul fight which most likely won't end up any time soon, and surely not with a big splash war.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 31 2013 19:21 utc | 55

‘Israeli airstrike intended to stop Syrian scientific military research’

I think this shows the goal of Israel and it's proxy's:

Syrians know that “this is not at all about chemical weapons,” Dr. Mohamad told RT. “It’s about stopping the Syrian scientists’ military research projects.”
“It finally makes sense because the rebels or as they like to call themselves the revolutionaries, they have been attacking air defense bases near Damascus for the past seven months,” Dr. Mohamad said. “They’ve managed to attack the S-200 base and over four other surface-to-air missile bases. Now this followed by an airstrike from Israel. So it all adds up, it makes sense. It only shows that Israel has a great interest in the instability in Syria and that it is being helped by groups of armed rebels in Syria.”
“Military research centers are responsible for developing weapons, in particular land-to-land long range missiles,” and Israel wants to stop this research process, Dr. Mohamed explained. “Of course Israel will claim that this is connected to a chemical weapons arsenal, but this is of course not true because nobody stores chemical weapons in a research center.”
“Let’s remember that the Syrian official who was responsible for all military research projects has been assassinated in Damascus by the rebels,” he said. “Let’s also remember that the person who orchestrated the Syrian long-range missile project colonel Dawoud Rajiha was also assassinated in Damascus. This is about stopping the Syrian scientific military research projects and is about breaking the link that will help [Israel] overcome the Lebanese resistance and the Palestinian resistance.”

Which is confirmed by someone from the opposition:
Syria files UN complaint over Israeli airstrike, Iran warns of ‘serious consequences’

Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, one of the most senior Syrian army officers to have defected, told The Associated Press by telephone from Turkey that no chemical or nonconventional weapons are at the site.

Posted by: Gehenna | Jan 31 2013 19:31 utc | 56

ATH, I think a lot of us just prepare ourselves for the worst and have lost faith in any and all politicians.

That said, I agree it is doubtful Russia would sell out while Assad is winning. They would cut their losses if it appeared hopeless. But if they were just looking for a payday from the west they would have sold out long ago.

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 31 2013 19:43 utc | 57

Harry - 54

There was also that Israeli military intelligence general who went to Russia monday or tuesday to talk "Syrian CW". I'm also thinking Israel-America is preparing a Libya scenario now that their terrorists are failing. They did the same thing when their terrorists in Libya were checked. If Russia cuts Syria loose, then Syria will get massacred by the Israeli-American terrorists like Libya.

ATH - 55

I think besides hans, the people here are not rooting for war, but are firmly set against it, and against increasing the level of aggression by all involved. I doubt Israel will invade Syria, but they might continue with more air attacks to support their terrorist ops there. I think the main reason for the Israeli attack is to open a door for USA/NATO war criminals to start openly attacking, like they did in Libya. Once Israel gets the fire started, they will then sit back and squeal and clap their hands with glee, as they usually do. I hope you are right about the Russians, because without a firm nyet from them, and China (who has not yet made any diplomatic move), the people of Syria have little chance.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 19:47 utc | 58

By prearrangement, Israel-America's terrorist tools make one of their asinine announcements to take the heat off Israel:

Al-Qaeda threatens US and Europe, promises 'earth-shattering' attack

Besides the war crime in Syria, the Israelis are also in trouble with the UN over their apartheid war crimes.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 20:22 utc | 59

Bot Tak

I think besides Hans, the people here are not rooting for war

Me rooting for you cannot be serious. The problem in Iran there are far too many Neanderthal men who make all kinds of bravado statements and then fail to deliver. I am a great supporter of Iran sans it's Islamic bigotry.

Posted by: Hans | Jan 31 2013 20:43 utc | 60

Sorry, but I don't care what Medwedjew says. This guy is either the "good cop" in a russian setup or he had lobotomy performed on himself. He almost seems to have made a habit our of contradicting Putin.
Rest assured that Medwedjew were long gone if he *really* stood against Putin.

And no, Russia didn't formally condemn the israeli attack (and that's about it). Nope. They complained and condemned - and said, they had to look into it. That's a major difference because the latter is diplomativ speak for "We are pissed off but still want to wait" (possibly to prepare sth. painful).

This is actually a very smart reaction leaving "all options on the table" to say it in nato-speak. Furthermore it strongly indicates that Putin will not be lead astray by israeli lies but will rather find - and say - the truth and quite possibly react.

And again: There is a major factor in this game that is little talked about, the soon expected death of the saudi king. Everyone sees that israel needs the us. But it should also be seen that the us needs the saudis. If he dies, chances are that the saudi diktatur crumbles or at least strongly erodes. In that case, however, the whole mid-east game changes drastically.
Yes, the americans have other "friends" too but those are rather powerless mini-countries which would themselves have to fear a "democracy wave" once the saudi stronghold fell.

Furthermore, why should the Russian play a strong game right now rather than applying what they learned in Afghanistan and saw it work with the usa, too?

Everyone sees that Iran would be weakened if Syria fell. We should, however also see that the us would be weakened if the saudi diktatur fell.

I stand by my former view. All the noise israel makes is just about one thing: To keep the usa, if needed by force or by fait acompli, engaged in the region. The day the us turns away will be the day of israels death sentence. *Of course* the israelis will do *everything* to avoid that day.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 31 2013 20:52 utc | 61

Is the Syrian Army completely cut-off in Aleppo?

I cannot believe it.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Jan 31 2013 20:55 utc | 62

вот так

Sorry, no.

As much as I'm principally against wars I'm strongly pro war concerning us/israel.

For a simple reason: It's the only way to stop those criminals in a timely fashion.

One might argue (and I have) that it might be sufficient to let them drain, to let them fall ever deeper into misery, poverty and broken infrastructure. And one would be wrong, unfortunately.

I had a hard time to realize the problem with hat view: Actually the americans consider imperialism, despotism and war as *the way* to recover, to earn enough to repair their dammage.

Basically, as I see it, the us (in their view) has two options: They could either say "Well, *we* aren't in danger, nobody aggresses us and, frankly, all those terrorism stories were just useful but invented bull**it". So we'll go home, cut down our military to a reasonable size (and budget) and take care of our own country".
Or they could say "Evidently we weren't tough enough. It seems we do not really dominate the whole world. But that is what we must do if we want all the other nations to pay for our problems as well as for our luxury. So let's play even more with fire..."

*Of course* (stupid me to have thought differently) the chose variant 2. After all they are americans.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 31 2013 21:04 utc | 63

The next stage of the Israeli-American planned war escalation has been reached.

White House warns Syria over 'arms supply'

These Israeli-American threats continue the propaganda being set up to "justify" American/NATO open warfare.

KerKaraje - 62

That story is bylined RIA. RIANovosti is almost wholly Israel occupied media and is about as reliable as any of the other Israel occupied propaganda houses.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 21:15 utc | 64

hans - 60

I misinterpreted what you wrote - apologies.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 21:24 utc | 65

Verry good point to talk about Russia's response because this is not only about Iran. Syria is one of Russia's assets in the middle east. An indication is that before the strike Israel Sends a Hawkish Security Chief to Moscow
So I gess Syria will get a green light to retaliation, but in the same manner (Plausible deniability).

And I am not quite shure if the attak was on a moving target but if this will turn to be true and considering that regimes like Assad's tend to missinformation because this states are verry much guided by people from the Intell. Services.

Posted by: some1 | Jan 31 2013 21:31 utc | 66

Final 2 Patriot systems deployed now. Apparently all the American batteries had to do was drive from the port to their deployment destination.

US deploys final Patriots in Turkey

"The last batch of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles owned by the United States have been deployed in the city of Gaziantep in southern Turkey, according to the Cihan News Agency."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 31 2013 21:32 utc | 67


"The problem in Iran there are far too many Neanderthal men who make all kinds of bravado statements and then fail to deliver".

I believe I proved that you are making up this fallacy. I've seen no official expressing what the Iranian state will do regarding Syria and the kind of response in case of an attack on her. If you have link showing the contrary, again please provide.

"I am a great supporter of Iran sans it's Islamic bigotry."

That is an exact replica of a neo-con propaganda statement. If you want to help the democratic process in Iran let it be resolved internally. Bringing up democracy and human right issue in a purely strategic debate regarding geopolitics is a sure way to display the dick cheney like credentials in you. It only serves the interests of the agressors and is a disservice to the population of Iran.

In the current context of polarization in the middle-east, you certainely sound being on the side of Israeli propaganda, which can be fine by itself if you say it straightforwardly without hiding behind "radical" rhetoric.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 31 2013 21:34 utc | 68

maybe the green light as I mentioned before

PRESS-TV: Syria warns Israel of airstrike repercussions

Syria's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
“Israel and those who protect it at the Security Council are fully responsible for the repercussions of this aggression,”.
In the letter, Syria also stressed:its “right to defend itself, its territory and sovereignty.”

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali:
Damascus was likely to take “a surprise decision to respond to the aggression of the Israeli warplanes.”
“Syria is engaged in defending its sovereignty and its land," the ambassador said.

Posted by: some1 | Jan 31 2013 22:01 utc | 69

@ Gareth [#46]

Q: Syria may or may not be able to withstand a concerted Israeli-American assault, but any comparison with the outmoded and demoralized Iraqi military of 2003 is irrelevant.

R: Once a people decide that an occupation by foreign forces is unacceptable, those forces are doomed. Ask Ngo Dinh Diem and Karzai how that worked out for them. Guerrilla warfare is, by its asymmetrical nature, unstoppable, thus no matter how many [bombable/droneable] assets you have, it'll be humans who'll either win or lose that battle.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 31 2013 23:33 utc | 70

@ Mr. Pragma [#63],

Q: As much as I'm principally against wars I'm strongly pro war concerning us/israel. For a simple reason: It's the only way to stop those criminals in a timely fashion.

R: My sentiments exactly. You don't have a word with a bully, you kick his face in and then start talking.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 31 2013 23:36 utc | 71

Hans (63)

"I am a great supporter of Iran sans it's Islamic bigotry."

I perceive Iran as a genuinely islamic coloured country. I say "coloured" because Islam is not an enforced state-religion but simply the common religion there.
Furthermore, Iran does not say otherwise. There is, for instance, a large jewish community in Iran who live their lifes and their belief in peace and without problems.

Looking at the word "bigotry" I think of indeed fundamentalistic religious zealots starting a war based on a lie and declaring that they follow Gods wishes.
Or I think of a "state" that calls itself "the jewish state" mainly for the purpose to decry anyone who criticizes it horrendous mass murders an "anti-Semite". Furthermore this very "state" drives major propaganda efforts in other countries to become or stay purely saecular states.

But then, there's usually a purpose with such wrong accusations. And - what handy coincidence! - belittling and smearing the main religion of a country that has not attacked another nation for hundreds of years might be considered useful, if one wanted to diminish the clear statement of that nations leader that nuclear weapons are an unforgiveable sin according to their prevalent religion.

Well, asking myself, whose statement I trust and looking a nation that is and acts noble and has a century-long proven track-record of being peaceful on one hand ... and a massmurder "state" on the other hand which aquired nuclear weapon technology covertly, bluntly winks with the "samson option", and does not even consider to join and follow international treaties ... guess which one I trust and which one I'm strongly led to consider bigot and criminal?

Si tacuisses ...

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 1 2013 0:31 utc | 72

@46 I'm pretty sure US navy already left Syria after Sergi Lavrov said that Russia has secured Syrian chemical weapons.

Posted by: nikon | Feb 1 2013 1:29 utc | 73

Who doesn't love a well written, Machiavellian play - Syrian Rebels 'Steal' Credit from Israel for Attack?

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 1 2013 1:44 utc | 74

Just heard a report on World Today.
Russia has said the Israeli attack on Syria was unprovoked and violates the UN Charter - no matter what excuse/pretext "Israel" uses to justify it.
So ... looks like the Kookie Little Paradise's air force might get shot out of the sky before NATO's.
Even though Russians have a wonderful sense of humour, there are some things they don't joke about.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 1 2013 2:02 utc | 75

@ Mr Pradma 63 and Dan Rich, 71.

I'm of the opinion that Syria made a serious strategic error in failing to retaliate in 2007 following the Israeli attack on that "nuclear" facility. Doing nothing erodes a government's legitimacy.

It doesn't have to be an elaborate retaliation. A missile salvo at an Israeli airbase or a ten minute artillery barrage on the Golan would have been adequate. Even if Syria then backed down after the subsequent Israeli counterstrike, at least it would have made a point; we wont take this shit lying down.

I think Syria would be in a much better position today had it retaliated, even if only symbolic, 5 years ago.

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 1 2013 3:11 utc | 76

@ Lysander [#76],

Q: I think Syria would be in a much better position today had it retaliated, even if only symbolic, 5 years ago.

R: Logically, yes. However, if you're confronted with a country that doesn't have to abide by any law [especially international laws], that has a big butt buddy protecting it every step of the way [UN vetoes, etc.], that bombs and kills people left and right without remorse or accountability, would it be the right thing to do strategically? I think that 'death by a thousand cuts' would be the most viable option or scenario in this case, to fight another day and such. I do concur that yelling 'We're gonna kick yer ass, you MoFu!' and then do nothing, doesn't sit very well with those who prefer actions over laptop commando raids.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 1 2013 3:24 utc | 77


Uhm, forage? Is the bouncer machine having fun with me? :o)

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 1 2013 3:25 utc | 78

Dan, I think precisely BECAUSE Israel is as you describe it, retaliation is essential for each and every infraction. Bullies never pick on kids just because they are much weaker, they pick on them because they are convinced they will just take it. Bullies don't want to get a fat lip, even if they will dish out much worse upon their victim. You can be sure Israel will not want a fat lip, even if it will break a few ribs. I know it's easy to say that from the safety of a keyboard, but it doesn't make it any less true. Notice how Israel did *NOT* bomb Lebanon, because they knew they couldn't count on HA to keep quiet about it. HA is without a doubt much weaker than Syria, could count on no support at the UNSC and would be assured of global condemnation no matter how justifiable its actions.

And yet...

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 1 2013 3:54 utc | 79

Re: Michal's comment. Totally accurate. Anybody who seriously believes Israel is behind the Syrian civil war, or that it actually *wants* to have hoards of bearded fanatics hovering on what was previously its quietest border for over 30 years, really needs their head examined.

Posted by: David Montoute | Feb 1 2013 3:57 utc | 80

@ Lysander [#79],

See my remark #71. I agree with you. Like you, I also prove my 'hero status' from behind a screen, so it's kinda easy to tell the Syrians what to do, but what if my decisions making does involve the lives of others? If only the Russians would show how well their armament really is [as they persistently claim]. Or do they [Syrians and/or Russians] only shoot at vintage planes from Turkey?

@ David Montoute [#80],

Nice fallacy. Who says Israel isn't interested in a US puppet like Mubarak/Egypt in Syria? Sure, it doesn't want Wahabi fanatics on its doorstep, but that happens when you play with a can with poisonous worms and open it with a screwdriver [the non-alcoholic version that is]. Unintentional but collateral damage a la Libya, I guess, all my.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 1 2013 4:23 utc | 81

I guess this is my question. Does Syria have an early detection radar system of some sort? Couldn't they have attempted to at least shoot some of the Israeli jets down? When Syria was bombed in 2007, they also failed to shoot down or even AT any jets. It's quite embarassing when another country can simply fly into your airspace with impunity at their leisure and just bomb you. Are Syrian surface to air defense systems modern enough to shoot down Israeli jets?

Posted by: RC | Feb 1 2013 8:14 utc | 82

@ RC [#82]

PErhaps this is of help?

In addition, Russia is fulfilling its obligations under the military contracts without revealing them. According to Jeremy Binnie, editor of Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor, Russia recently supplied to Syria missile launch system "Buk-M2" and "Pantsir-C1", equipped with radar systems. The author added that the C-300 also may have been delivered but are not yet operational.

Doesn't sound very promising, now does it? If the recent bombing [this article dates back to 7 January, 2013] is anything to go by, those defense system either suck big time, are not op and running or are not there at all. By now your guess is as good as mine [or anyone else for that matter].

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 1 2013 9:52 utc | 83

Iran has two listening posts one in the al-Jazirah region in northern Syria and the other in the Golan Heights. This could have been a game of cat and mouse the Iranians wanting to decode communication signals the Israelis trying to determine Iranian, Syrian capabilities. I think the Iranian and Syrians stood down and have gathered all the intel they could. Normally Syria does not communicate about Israel infringement of its sovereignty, in this case it has and promised to retaliate. That SLC expected Syria to deny what happened and carry on as they usually used to do. Now they have to be on their guard against soft, hard and internal attacks, while the Syrians make a political capital about it and the FSA or whatever they are now called try to limit the damage. Syria has good long range missile technology but not short range, Iran is frantically upgrading and designing short range missiles the latest being the Ya Zahra system which looks very promising.

Posted by: hans | Feb 1 2013 10:41 utc | 84

testing, testing

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Feb 1 2013 11:29 utc | 85

Just imagine what would have happened had a handful of Israeli jets been taken down by Syrian air defence systems. Like the Turkish incident, there would be claims and counterclaims made about the location of the planes when they were hit. Either way, Israel would retaliate (they don't like it when they can't act with impunity) and it would be a green light for a free for all.
The Syrians were wise to do nothing. When foreign powers are looking for any excuse to launch an all-out war against you, you do not hand it to them.

Instead, the Syrian Government was given a gift.

Syria's besieged Assad finds unlikely allies: Israel and an opposition leader

Up to now, Assad has contended that events in Syria are not related to the Arab Spring uprisings or a revolution seeking freedom for the Syrian people. Instead, he says, they are a Western plot directed by Israel and the United States (and its proxies in the Arab world), and a war against what the Americans see as the axis of evil in an effort to exclude Syria from the resistance.

Assad had no actual proof in this regard, but this week's attack has now clearly brought Israel into the picture. The headline Thursday in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, which is seen as close to the regime, reflects this sentiment. "Israel begins campaign to topple regime in Syria," the headline reads.

It's a propaganda coup. It gives credence to claims that the insurgents are nothing more that puppets of Israel - that the entire revolt has been instigated by hostile states.
Look at the reaction of those pathetically sheepish rebels to reports that they're effectively being propped up by Israel. This point will not be lost with many in the arab world with whom the resistance movement resonates.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Feb 1 2013 11:30 utc | 86

Just imagine what would have happened had a handful of Israeli jets been taken down by Syrian air defence systems. Like the Turkish incident, there would be claims and counterclaims made about the location of the planes when they were hit. Either way, Israel would retaliate (they don't like it when they can't act with impunity) and it would be a green light for a free for all.
The Syrians were wise to do nothing. When foreign powers are looking for any excuse to launch an all-out war against you, you do not hand it to them.

Instead, the Syrian Government was given a gift.

Syria's besieged Assad finds unlikely allies: Israel and an opposition leader

It's a propaganda coup. It gives credence to claims that the insurgents are nothing more that puppets of Israel - that the entire revolt has been instigated by hostile states.
Look at the reaction of those pathetically sheepish rebels to reports that they're effectively being propped up by Israel. This point will not be lost with many in the arab world with whom the resistance movement resonates.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Feb 1 2013 11:32 utc | 87

Right or wrong, and what is occurring is very wrong - The facts of the matter, airspace was breached, targets hit, and yes Israel did it, even if this was green lights or agreed and driven from it's allies. The point is that this was a dry run, Syria's defenses are exposed, they do not work, now validated. The fact that this has contravened international law is one thing, but since it's the 'special child' that took such action, any redress will simply fall aside, in the same stroke the same Country said a big FY to it's human rights abuses raised by the UN, a clever maneuver - Which will be the focus?

As far as game-play goes it's textbook, it's dirty and smoke screens. As far as retaliation goes, Syria or Iran, they just cant pull it off as the repercussions would be far hotter and actually set-off the demise that is planned, and then the War starts, not a War, but a utter breakdown of infrastructure, Gov, transport networks,supply chains, agri and business, as well as those in power, targeted hits and Syria will be at a standstill within 6 weeks; then the reconstruction starts. We will read/See (Media) 3 months of bombardment and it will plastered on every news channel, so much so the average citizen of the world will just want to watch 'American idol', The walking dead, History channel etc to escape the repeated events and dialog, when it ends, it's just a old conflict that is now ended, like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. The occasional clip-its of news about wrongs/rights will appear and the rest of the world goes on with it's daily life - nothing new.

In the meantime Mali rules the news and the knock on effects like the just in explosion in Ankara, Turkey across from the US embassy, and will not be the last, just headlines 'This is why we need to stop the terrorists( what we caused)' but with spin and theatrics of Hollywood and geopolitics; we are all Dr's of spin and the audience gullible, as they just want jobs and some sense of future, and our world is in turmoil, a very historic story that has been working for thousands of years...

Posted by: Kev | Feb 1 2013 11:39 utc | 88

Hordes of bearded islamists is exactly what Israel wants and needs!

Which is why Israel played ball on Libya and is using Islamists in Africa.

The more big bad'bearded islamists' around the more Israel can cry victim and be forced to 'respond' to perceived dangers...

Hasbara is clearly out in full force. Trying to do damage control
Trying to create the concept that this attack by Israel was not an attack long in the planning

Posted by: Penny | Feb 1 2013 12:02 utc | 89

#87 states: "The point is that this was a dry run, Syria's defenses are exposed, they do not work, now validated."

NO. We do not know this. In fact, it's very possible that Syria simply didn't fire on them for the reasons that #86 pointed out - which all make sense. The Israeli's have done fly-overs in Syrian air-space before without attacking, so the Syrians probably wanted to play their cards close to their chest. Now, if the Israeli's should stage an encore and Assad does nothing, then we can really start to wonder.

Posted by: RC | Feb 1 2013 13:00 utc | 90

Ad "russian weapons":

Russia current air defense weapons can be (very roughly) grouped in two "layers". One is short range and one long range.
Buk, Pantsir and Tor are short range systems and typically used to protect moving units, important structures and buildings and (much more valuable) long range AD systems. Typical ranges are between 3 and 30 km (and 3 - 15 km height).
S-300 and S-400 are long range AD systems and typically used to protect large zones, i.e. a major region, a cost line tone, etc. Ranges are between 10 and 400 km (height virtually unlimited(planes dont fly higher than 20, 23 km).

The short range systems are better in detecting and terminating "low" flying (helicopters, drones) targets and small diameter missiles (typically carried by low flying targets). The long range system have their strong point in high flying not too low diameter targets such as ICBMs, fighter jets, etc.

Comparing relevant parameters of western and Russian (and slowly coming close, Chinese) systems, the eastern systems beat the western ones hands down. This is so strinkingly clear that (besides PR and bullsh*t bingo) even americans generals and admirals "confessed" that a S-300 protected are is basically a no-fly zone.(It's no coincidence that nato countries untertook major steps to keep Russia away from giving S-300 systems to Iran)

Just as a sidenote: The situation is similar in the air that ist, modern Russian jets (which are still just a minor part in Russias inventory) will detect nato jets earlier and have significantly better missiles. There is (gladly) little real world experience but one was an indian test (they like to not buy from one side only). In a large real world manoever the Russian jets won with significant distance.

To put it strongly simplified: The nato (usa) are better with aggressive technology, the Russians forte is defense (but they both have more than suffient ISBM capabilities).

Ad "Iran capabilities":

I'm somewhat irritated by Hans declarations as they happen to be far aside anything known and actually quite contrary to the reality.

So, first: The problem isn't short range systems (but long range systems). Even nations like turkey could produce SR systems of some kind. Furthermore by it's very definition the targets of a short range (aggressive) system can be reached by other means as well (and often even better).

Furthermore such a system has by far more parameters than range. Precision for instance comes to mind (thinking of Husseins scuds). There is a reason those systems are called that, "systems". Because they are complex beasts that, in order to be well working and striking, need many subsystems, parameters and subcomponents to be very well balanced and set.

While the Iranians couldn't come close to what the Russians have, they have made major progress in the last 10 years. Currently, their LR AD systems is what I like to call "S-250" because it has miles of evolution beyond the original old Russian systems but can not yet reach S-300 capabilities.
A well educated guess might come to the following picture of Irans LR AD capabilities: Range ca. 180 - 230 km (height prop. up to 18 km), tracing 20 enemy units, targeting 5 of them, max velocity (of target) mach 1.8, reliably detectable diameters 30 or 35 cm and up, i.e. having a hard time with modern missiles but quite capable to terminate F 15s an F 16s (israel airforces backbone planes).
Concerning the usa it is similar. Iran would be a dimensionally harder and costlier target to attack that Iraq or Afghanistan. For other (non usa) nato countries like uk or France Iran is well beyond their reach. For the usa Iran would be an extremely expensive target that would quite likely lead to unbearable consequences (but mainly non-military).

Do the Iranians share their full potentialand arsenal with Syria? Quite probably not.
While it seems a reasonable assumption that Iran might have given some of their less capable SR AD systems to Syria they almost certainly didn't hand out their high end systems - and they arent't needed.

Ad "current situation":

It has to be assumed that the Russians stationed an S-300 or S-400 in Tartus to protect their interests. This sure enough is one of the main reasons the west has not yet dared to overtly engage in Syria. It has, however, to be seen that the S-300 (and 400) range is still a nominal one, i.e. with missiles that are not yet existing or only in very small numbers. It can be reasonably assumed therefore that currently the now-fly zone would have a radius of 250 km (and not 400 km) around Tartus.

In my minds eye the question isn't "will the usa/nato openly attack Syria?" but rather "Can israel push, bend, and trick the usa into such an engagement?"

The reason is simple: The probability that Russia will engage is overwhelming. And the nato can not win a war against Russia/China. Not conventionally and not a nuclear one (because a nuclear war will be lost by everybody and *everyone* - except israel - will so pretty everything to avoid it).
It should be understood that "losing a war" must not necessarily be militarily. Actually the usa's weakness isn't so much militarily (although they are way over estimated by themselves and nato) but rather financially, economically and socially.

At the end of the day it looks most probable that the current situation will escalate - if not contained in time - to a placeholder war between israel and Syria, probably with "helping parties" turkey on israels side (and not happy about it) and Iran on Syrias side.

Last but not least being a (or dreaming of being) global power like the usa also bring major disadvantages with it. One of them might come up pretty quickly: China engaging Japan in a (minor) brawl - but shifting americas focus swiftly thousands of miles away from israel. After all israel is not a resource but a burden to the usa; Japan however is an obedient and strategically important satellite ...

In the end there is way too little to gain and way too much risk for the usa/nato to engage in Syria beyond (for them) cheap small pissing actions like now.

The real question on the table is "How far will the usa go for israel?". The nomination of Chuck Hagel (and one of the reasons that question arose and became urgent for israel) is a first hint as to what the us' answer will be when it gets hot and costly.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 1 2013 13:23 utc | 91

" Sure, it doesn't want Wahabi fanatics on its doorstep,.."

Why not?It cooperates very smoothly with the "Wahabi fanatics" who run Saudi Arabia.

The idea that NATO and Israel are being tricked by takfiri militants is almost as ludicrous as the notion that they really support "secular" revolutionaries who are, of course, largely nationalists and socialists. Underlying their policies is an orientalist racism which leads them to believe that they can act with impunity in the Middle East so long as they can buy dictators and kill their critics. They have forgotten how much Colonel Nasser frightened them and they pretend that Nasrallah is just a passing nightmare. It is all about hubris.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 1 2013 13:37 utc | 92

Mr Pragma,

I am no expert in military matters but I almost completely agree with your political analysis here. That was right to the point, accurately describing the current situation in and around Syria.

The only small changes I would make to your analysis is: one, to downgrade a tiny little bit the resolve of the Russians regarding Syria. They consider themselves European after all and should follow those interests first and foremost. Europe is the region where they directly challenge and being challenged by the US. So the Near-East will be dependant on that mainly; and two, to upgrade the importance of a sovereign and undivided Syrian state for Iran. Bashar staying or leaving is not the most important factor for Iran but Syria remaining sovereign and undivided is. For that to happen the military apparatus should be preserved and any compromise and power sharing with the opposition should be based on them accepting the military as the guarantor of the state's sovereignty.

Posted by: ATH | Feb 1 2013 14:22 utc | 93

So, does anyone want to guess where the blame for the embassy attack in Turkey will fall?

Posted by: GregB | Feb 1 2013 14:57 utc | 94

The embassy attack in Turkey

The Kurds?
Or the Kurds in Syria?
Which means Turkey will have to 'retaliate'
And it is a good thing those patriot missile batteries are present and ready to go, right?

If I had to guess......

FYI: the attack on Damascus: Prepping for Iran & softening targets?

Posted by: Penny | Feb 1 2013 15:41 utc | 95


Interior ministry has blamed the radical leftist "terrorists" for the attack very quickly! Almost immediately he knew it was not the religious fundamentalists (after all religious fanatics have never carried out any act of terror in Turkey!).
Mr. Erdogan has already cracked down heavily on the radical left opposition, arresting lawyers from the "progressive lawyers association" (Cagdas Hukukcular Dernegi) and even going so far as arresting members of a music group (a group somewhat similar to Chilean inti illimani), based on the claim that they were related to extreme-leftist terrorists and that they were agents working for foreign governments (I can't imagine what the 'international community' would do if those blood thirsty mullahs in Iran had done this!!).
I won't be surprised if they use this incidence to crack down even more ruthlessly on the leftist opposition.

Posted by: pirouz_2 | Feb 1 2013 16:18 utc | 96

The suicide bomber in Ankara is a well-known DHKP-C member, an *armed* left wing insurgent group, nothing to do with *unarmed* civil society organisations like progressive lawyers association--who are unfairly being repressed by the Erdogan authoritarianism. He has been positively identified.

Here's his background

Armed attack with flamethrower on Istanbul police headquarters, 16 July 1997.
Armed attack on Harbiye [Istanbul] military facilities, 14 July 1997.
Detained in DHKP-C safe house 3 weeks later, with arms, ammunitions and charged.

Joined hunger strikes against prison conditions, released on health grounds, skipped bail.

Convicted in absentia to life in prison for the attacks described above and for belonging to an armed group agitating to change the constitutional order. And has now resurfaced with this attack. This is the translation of the announcement about him by the Turkish autorities, excerpted below:

* 16 Temmuz 1997 tarihinde İstanbul Emniyet Müdürlüğüne lav silahı ile saldırı.
* 14 Temmuz 1997 tarihinde Harbiye Orduevi'nin lav silahı ile vurulması.
* 07 Ağustos 1997 tarihinde İstanbul İli Sarıyer İlçesindeki hücre evinde silah ve mühimmatlar ile birlikte yakalandı.
* 11 Ağustos 1997 günü çıkarıldığı İstanbul DGM’nin kararıyla tutuklanarak cezaevine teslim edildi.
* Cezaevinde bulunduğu süre içerisinde F Tipi Cezaevlerini protesto etmek maksadıyla ölüm oruçlarına başladı.
* Rahatsızlandı, Adli Tıp Kurumu raporuyla cezasının infazı 6 ay ertelendi. Ancak süre bittikten sonra cezaevine dönmedi.
* İstanbul 12'nci Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi'nce 10 Haziran 2002 tarihinde 'anayasal düzeni zorla değiştirmek' suçundan ömür boyu hapse çarptırıldı, hakkında yakalama emri çıkartıldı.

Posted by: kodlu | Feb 1 2013 21:53 utc | 97

ATH (93)

Regarding your first point I can't agree.

Two points:

The region is Russias "near abroad" (vulgo "backyard"). Therefore Russia has necessity and interest to hold firm. Furthermore the paid terrorists that molest and maraude Syria are also close to the terrorists who make trouble in the southern belly of Russia and might quite well in part end up there.

Secondly and probably more importanty there is far more at stake and the real story (as I understand it) is another one:
Years ago at a security conference Putin talked about the real problem, the "monopolar world" that is, the marauding usa (and the ever criminal and blood thirsty israel). He should have been taken seriously because this is one of two guiding lines of his policy ever since (the other one being to restore Russia to a modern full power state).
At the same time the us has actually become weaker and weaker, yet bellicose as ever and increasingly arrogant and troublesome.

I'm pretty convinced that in Russias eyes they *want* what the usa tries to avoid: The showdown.
Looking at the usa one sees a nation that is been hated almost globally more than any nation ever has been. And one sees a nation with little substance and a large and loud mouth. And a strength of theirs (in business) has slowly but solidly become a nightmarish weakness, PR and Image. Russia, on the other hand, tends to look innocent and not making a lot of noise but rather caring for substance. Many in the west think of rusted old equipment when they think of Russia. Actually, however, Russia is considerably ahead of the usa in quite some military areas (such as missiles) and, very importantly, they have soldiers that are willing to crawl in the dirt and live a poor and hard life whereas the american military had to first install a PX and modern climate system and other gadgets when opening a base.

Let me give you an example.
People (in the west) think that american carriers are frightening and extremely powerful. In Russias eyes they are simply a perfect target. Hitting one brings extreme damage to the usa. Hitting all 11 (or whatever) basically puts the us military in a wheelchair.
And the Russians *can* hit it. Russia has the sunburn missile series that are extremely smart, basically can't be defended against and (due to their extreme kinetic energy resulting from very high speed) have the power of a small nuclear bomb without crossing the nuclear barrier.
In short (and I know some us admirals who agree behind closed doors) if the Russians ever seriously went against the us and wanted to kill the us carriers they could do it and the us could do pretty nothing against it. And just by the way, those russian destroyers also have a naval version of the S-300 aboard; so the us can not simply bomb them.

Yes, the usa spends multiples of other nations on their military. Yes they have the most weapons. But looking at the reality down on the ground, they miserably failed to win a war against a helpless, drained country with illoyal soldiers (Iraq). And there is a reason for their failure.

So, basically the current situation is this:

The usa are bankrupt (and not only financially). And it gets worse because more and more countries shy away from the us dollar and sell/buy oil in other currencies. As americans are americans they chose to bully the world even more to stay in power.
Meanwhile Russia and China have developed very nicely and are more than fed up with those american hooligans who again and again put a country on fire and play their dirty and bloody games.
What the us currently des is basically trying to keep the show going although in reality they have a chance only against basically helpless and weak (or weakened) countries (which by the way is the reason why Putin bluntly cut off all those "friendly democracy" cia front-ends and troublemakers in Russia).
Looking at Russias policy you will find that Russia is not eager to go to war. But they are fed up and are definitely not ready to tolerate more american sh*t.

Next time the us goes a step too far they will be beaten down and back to the stone age. From that day on israels survival chance is between 0% and minus 300%.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 1 2013 21:56 utc | 98

A lot is being said about the failure of the Syrian AD to defend the Jamraya research centre, but have those making such claims looked at a map of that region and taken in how the attack was carried out? Map:

There is no distance scale, but I've seen reports saying that Jamraya is only 8 miles from the Lebanese border. Prior to the attack, the Israelis had been flying sorties in Lebanese airspace. They do that all the time without attacking Syria. This time, it's obvious the incursions were so the Syrian EW folk would think it's probably just more of the same and not think the Israeli air activity warranted special attention. With the facility so close, the Israelis would have only been in Syrian airspace only a minute or two. Descriptions of the attack mention it being a rocket/missile attack. That means the Israel aircraft probably used stand-off "smart" munitions. They could have even have launched these from Lebanese airspace.

What this means for Syrian AD is that they had very little time to respond. They cant attack Israeli aircraft in Lebanese airspace, and if they did, it would be a disaster, probably ending with an air liner being accidentally shot down eventually. The Syrians wouldn't have known the Israelis intended to attack them until within a minute or two of the attack happening, assuming a best case scenario where all their people were in top form. The Israelis carefully planned the attack to minimise the amount of time they would be under potential AD fire, by planning the attack route to avoid known batteries and by using stand-off weapons so they could attack with only minimally entering Syrian territory. The Israelis probably knew where the AD units were.

It's not really fair to condemn the Syrians for failing to stop this attack, because even if they expected it, and were 100% ready, their chances to defeat it would not have been great.

Posted by: вот так | Feb 2 2013 0:11 utc | 99

Q: This is so strinkingly clear that (besides PR and bullsh*t bingo) even americans generals and admirals "confessed" that a S-300 protected are is basically a no-fly zone.

R: It would have had more credibility if this hadn't been dragged through an online google translation app. This stuff is tested in real time battle environments, not on Bombprom' sales brochures. When under attack, you either eliminate your opponent instantly/immediately or do a Movie/TV act on them [which means that in reality you'll be very, very dead].

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 2 2013 2:33 utc | 100

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