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January 31, 2013

U.S. Confirms Israeli Air Strike as Syria and Iran Threaten Response

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American officials have now confirmed that Israel did in fact launch an airstrike within Syria. A charge Syria made previously but Israel would not confirm. The now confirmed airstrike could cause an expansion of the Civil War in Syria to other countries in the Middle East igniting a larger conflict in the region.

From the New York Times:

Israeli warplanes carried out a strike deep inside Syrian territory on Wednesday, American officials reported, saying they believed the target was a convoy carrying sophisticated antiaircraft weaponry on the outskirts of Damascus that was intended for the Hezbollah Shiite militia in Lebanon.

The American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Israel had notified the United States about the attack, which the Syrian government condemned as an act of “arrogance and aggression.”…

The predawn strike was the first time in more than five years that Israel’s air force had attacked a target in Syria. While there was no expectation that the beleaguered Assad government had an interest in retaliating, the strike raised concerns that the Syrian civil war had continued to spread beyond its border.

The last part of the article regarding a lack of interest in retaliation may prove to be untrue. Syria and Iran are now threatening to retaliate for the airstrike.

Syria and Iran have threatened to retaliate for an Israeli air raid near the capital Damascus.

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali says Damascus has “the option and the surprise to retaliate.” He said he cannot predict when the retaliation will be, saying it is up to relevant authorities to prepare for it.

In Iran, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Thursday as saying the raid on Syria will have significant implications for the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

Israel cannot be surprised at this reaction which makes one wonder if this is what they wanted – an attack by Iran as justification to finally strike targets connected with the Iranian nuclear program. No matter the motivation there is little doubt that there will be some response from Syria and Iran possibly stopping short of military strikes. But if the response by Syria and Iran does take the form of military strikes be prepared for massive retaliation by Israel and the possibility of the United States getting drawn into yet another war in the Middle East.

Photo by U.S Air Force in the Public Domain

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