ForexTV NewsDesk | January 31 2013 4:42 EST
ForexTV.com (New York) by Kaveh Eslampour
An Israeli airstrike inside of Syria has touched off hostilities throughout the region, threatening to extend the violence beyond Syria’s borders. Today, Syria and Iran publically announced the desire and willingness to retaliate against Israel.
U.S. officials confirmed that Israel launched an airstrike targeting a convoy believed to be carrying anti-aircraft missiles bound for Lebanon on Wednesday. The Syrian military claims that a scientific research facility, known for developing weapons, was targeted in the attack.
As Syria’s strongest international ally, Russia condemned the attacks as unjustified regardless of the motivations. The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the airstrike as a “case of unprovoked attacks on targets in the territory of a sovereign state, which grossly violates the U.N. Charter and is unacceptable.”
The weapons, believed to be Russia-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missile intended for Hezbollah, represent an escalation of the Syria conflict which threatens to draw in Israel and potentially, the United States.
The missiles would allow Hezbollah militants to shoot down Israeli jets, helicopters, and surveillance drones. According to a former intelligence official, the SA-17 would “cut into [Israel’s] ability to conduct aerial intelligence” and is a “real concern.” Hezbollah plays the decisive role in Lebanese politics and remains committed to destroying Israel and supporting the Assad regime.
On Sunday, Israeli military officials also moved the “Iron Dome” rocket defense system to the northern city of Haifa. Although Haifa is less the 100 miles away from Lebanon’s southern border, Israeli army officials dismissed the move as “routine” and did not say if the two operations were related.
For the past 20 months Israel has attempted to stay out of Syria’s civil war, and avoid a wider confrontation with Hezbollah and Iran. But as the conflict intensifies, Israel’s role in Syria has become a matter of national security.
In November, Israeli tanks fired on a Syrian artillery unit following mortar attacks. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the airstrike, but is likely to continue limiting the flow of weapons into Lebanon. Israel has made it clear that if Syria losses control over its chemical weapons or attempts to transfer them, it would be compelled to attack.
As the situation inside of Syria dissolves, the Assad regime may be forced to move some of its most advanced weaponry out of the country.
Even Syria’s most longstanding ally, Iran, is attempting to bring a negotiated solution to the crisis. Today Iran hosted a summit of 30 countries, including Russia and China, to discuss how to quell the conflict. Their ceasefire proposal is meant to be an alternative to the Western-led Friends of Syria Group and UN intervention. Tehran has encouraged President Assad to take part in negotiations with opposition groups who will meet without preconditions.
However, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Oppositional Forces recently offered to negotiate, with two nearly impossible preconditions. Iran remains more committed to the Assad regime than ending the bloodshed.
Iran has been steadfast in their support for the Assad regime, transferring soldiers and weapons to Syria over Iraqi airspace. The persistent sectarian violence in Iraq and the government’s inability to provide vital services allows for few certainties moving forward. The civil war in Syria and growing political influence of Iran continue to impede Iraqi stability.
During his confirmation hearing today, Senator Chuck Hagel appeared on board with President Obama’s strategy with regard to Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. The escalating situation in Syria threatens to frustrate all of them.
Forex research by ForexTV.com