Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Iraq, Lebanon and Iran.

Pajamas Media has a roundup of blogger reaction to the Israeli air strike in Syria. Former Spook has the most extensive analysis. The most interesting aspect of the maps purporting to deplict the strike is that the target was near the Iraqi/Syrian border. The Israelis were said to have penetrated right through the teeth of the Syrian air defense, at one point going through Turkey, including a rotary wing commando unit and attacked, apparently with success.

The supposed targets for the attack was Iranian weapons transiting through Syria. The three words that keep getting mentioned in the same paragraphs, over again are Iraq, Lebanon and Iran. Nothing follows.


Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Last year showed that the Israeli military does not have the same margin of superiority, technically or from a training perspective, that they are used to. If the Syrians/Palestinians are obtaining additional advanced weaponry, it would be in the best interests of Israel to destroy it (and perhaps those involved with training people to use it) before it gets to the personnel who would use it.

9/11/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The reported site of the air/land attack was near the Euphrates before it crosses into Iraq. There are references to a "big hole" in the desert. My first reaction was that whatever was bombed had more to do with Iraq than Lebanon because of location, but on reflection, a "big hole" didn't sound like a secondary from an EFP munitions dump. Then I got to wondering whether the target wasn't a missile staging or transit site to feed launchers that could be positioned east of the Israeli border so that in Hezbollah's next attack the missiles could come not just from the North but from the East, overlying Jordan, catching the Israelis in a crossfire. I don't know. Maybe more details will emerge. The whole thing is still mysterious.

9/11/2007 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Panama Ed said...

At least 69 soldiers wounded in Qassam attack on military base
By Israel Insider staff September 11, 2007

Two Qassam attacks early Tuesday morning dominated headlines today after one rocket hit a non-combat IDF basic training base in southern Israel and injured at least 69 soldiers. Another rocket was fired into Israel but caused no casualties.

"We consider this a victory from God for the resistance," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Hamas radio, according to Jerusalem Post . "We consider the resistance as the legitimate right of the Palestinians to defend themselves and restore their rights."

Yosi Namir, a response team member who was one of the first to arrive on the scene, described the events to Ynet as "truly severe... The rocket landed on a tent. Many of the soldiers on base were sleeping at the time, which increased the panic. We assisted MDA [Magen David Adom medics] in helping the wounded. Everything was a mess... soldiers shouting, calling for help."

Reports indicate that the attack would set the record for the largest number of injuries sustained in a single Qassam attack against Israel, according to Haaretz.

9/11/2007 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Does Google maps have satellite photos of the site yet?

Who knows how big the "big hole" is. I'm more interested in what the ground troops were doing.

You can bet that the Israeli military has been analyzing what went right and wrong in their actions in Lebanon last year, and making plans and adjustments accordingly. I worked with them on joint training exercises a couple of times (20+ years ago) and found them to be extremely capable. They have to be.

9/11/2007 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger geoffb said...

My first thought was maybe someone has found one of the places that Saddam's disappearing WMD's went.

9/11/2007 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Hmmm. This sounds like a quid pro quo. The Israelis could attack a place where the Americans are prohibited (for domestic and diplomatic reasons) from going. If this is the case, this raises the likelihood of an American military offensive against Iran.

9/11/2007 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger John F said...

Perhaps probing Syrian airspace for intel needed re. overflight for a possible strike on Iran?

9/12/2007 02:13:00 AM  
Blogger Norman said...

JohnFarren2 said:
"Perhaps probing Syrian airspace for intel needed re. overflight for a possible strike on Iran?"

I keep hoping...

9/12/2007 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

the "raid" says alot without saying anything...

some very important facts:

Israel flew across syria, bombed something, flew back home, SAFELY

One can wonder if the iranians & syrians took notice that their new wonderful anti-aircraft missiles purchased from russia for several billion dollars actually could work?

the fact that israel could FLY ACROSS (5 jets) the entire country of syria, bomb a target near the Iraq border and return home WITHOUT A SCRATCH must send a signal to assad.

let us remember this is NOT the 1st time the IDF sent a message via the idf to assad. Last time they just gave him a wakeup call with afterburners, this time they took action and say nothing.

time for public discourse is over.

time to speak softly and carry a big stick

time to do, not a time to jaw jaw.

the question is simple.

does iran, syria, fatah el islam, hezbollah, bin laden, hamas, plo plan on compromise, live and let live, accept israel's right to be or not?

the answer is clear.


so? time for more op's without press releases.

side note: just how much intel did israel collect on everything to response times, electronic signatures, battery placements & more by a fly over like this?

9/12/2007 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

General Petraeus stated in his interview, Iran is the long term trouble maker in the region, but even as he claimed difficulty before the Senate in changing focal points, his drawing out and drawing in, so too does the Senate have difficulty in its focus. Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon , and Palestine are all parts of a broader game. Stratford has a twist on the motivations of Bin Laden, motives that early on propelled the Iranian Revolutionary reaction to US and the Shah, motives that trace back to the UAR, and motives that until the fall of the USSR, took a secondary seat on the worlds stage.

Well, the ME and Arabs have our attention now, what is it they want to say. We are listening, who will speak for them. Iran, via Syrian mouthpieces or its puppet Hizballa's eerie Lebanese dialect. Can Wahabi's in KSA and Jordan be more coherent? I do not think anyone of them has a message that the folks its meant to impress will listen.

At the end of the day, what will we hear? Not OBL, and not Al Sadr, not Abdulla nor Ayatolla.

I think the Sunni in al anbar, those same ones that reject OBL and his Wahabi themes. And the Shi'ah Arab rejecting the projection of alien notions of death on the denizens of the lower Euphrates. The Kurds who have been talking quietly for a while, now know such competing devils serve no good end. Through these three, lies the greatest potential to reorient the orient, and fill a vacuume of ideas and leadership.

Such things take time, time bought by the calm a surge of soldiers can allow and time purchased by making a big hole in the Eastern Syrian Desert. The Democrat Senators want the General and the Ambassador to state how long before the Sunni Kurd and Sha'ih will be able to lead. Hell I think the fact that they are following so to learn how to lead, is an achievement worthy of note in the history of the entire ME.
Haifa Street is safe, others to follow..., promise little, deliver big. Expect victory,

9/12/2007 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think the Lebanon semi-fiasco more the fault of supremely incompetent political leadership than an indication of IDF degradation.

The images of IDF soldiers lined up at the border sitting on their backsides for days while rockets were flying into Israeli population centers was disheartening. Equally disheartening were the ROE that sent small IDF units against fortified villages with no backup and no intention of holding. You don't have to be a military expert to understand how grossly bad the war was handled from the top.

The Syrian targets had to be of high value to risk war with Syria. The public description of an "arms shipment" to Hezbullah can only be a gross understatement. How can Assad not respond to such an insult and threat to his power? If history is any guide Assad will do exactly the wrong thing, whatever that may be.

9/12/2007 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

on Wednesday the Nazareth-based Israeli Arab newspaper The Assennara cited anonymous Israeli sources as saying that Israeli jets "bombed a Syrian-Iranian missile base in northern Syria that was financed by Iran... It appears that the base was completely destroyed."

9/12/2007 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Shaping the battlefield, no?

9/12/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Well, one not very reliable news report says the facility in Syria was a "missile base".

"Citing anonymous Israeli sources, the Assennara newspaper said that Israeli jets "bombed in northern Syria a Syrian-Iranian missile base financed by Iran ... It appears that the base was completely destroyed."

More "reliable" news reports don't say what the facility was other than it stashed arms destined for Hezbollah.

While Israel remained silent, media reports began surfacing Tuesday of U.S. officials confirming the Israel Air Force had indeed carried out an air strike last Thursday. The New York Times said Wednesday that likely targets were weapons caches Israel believed Iran was sending to Hezbollah via Syria.

So maybe my guess about it being a missile stash isn't so wild after all.

9/12/2007 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How did Iranian rockets get to eastern Syria, if not overland, across Iraq?

Cargo planes through Turkey?
Then both sides are using Turkey's nuetral airspace.

Or overflying Iraqi airspace on recongnized over flights?

If they arrived by plane, why land so far from the Hezzbollah front. Or were the missiles aimed at Iraq, struck from behind by the Israeli?

But overland through Iraq, that seems the most plausible. Traveling along with Omar the Model's family vacation migration?

9/12/2007 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger geoffb said...

desert rat said...

"How did Iranian rockets get to eastern Syria, if not overland, across Iraq?"

Couldn't they have been shipped by sea? A long way around but not as dangerous.

9/12/2007 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If they were on their way to Hezzbollah, close to al Mayadin, they were going the long way around.

A quick glance at the chart establishes many easier routes from Tartus to Lebanon, than through al Mayadin.

it would seem to me.

9/12/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the targets were more than the Russian supplied anti aircraft SA-22 Greyhound, then the shipment was not just Iranian missles, being newly imported.

They could have just been transporting inventoried equipment to new locations.
But that would not fit this part of the story ...
The supposed targets for the attack was Iranian weapons transiting through Syria.
...as well.

9/12/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The New York Times Weighs in...
One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea. The administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria.

“The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” the official said. He said it was unclear whether the Israeli strike had produced any evidence that might validate that belief.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a military action by another government.

In a letter circulated to members of the Security Council on Tuesday, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, said Israel dropped munitions though they did not cause any “material damage.”

Syria made its protest via Qatar, the Arab representative on the Security Council, United Nations officials said. Security Council representatives discussed the issue on Tuesday, but did not come to any conclusions.

Neither Israel nor the United States has spoken publicly on the airstrikes. The State Department spokesman, Sean D. McCormack, referred all questions to Israel and Syria, and a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

Tensions between Israel and Syria have escalated over the past year, since the end of the Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, and both countries remain in a heightened state of alert along their common border.

Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has said that if Israel is not willing to resume negotiations for the return of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the alternative would be to try to regain the territory by force.

Formal peace talks between Israel and Syria broke down in 2000.


9/12/2007 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Recent events are recasting the battlefield as a regional theater and not simply the "War in Iraq". The political strategy of casting Iraq as "the mistake" which could be isolated from the larger campaign which includes Afghanistan is being ironically undermined by Syria and Iran themselves.

Iran has long seen the fight against America as a regional war. A withdrawal from Iraq will really win America nothing. The idea that if the US withdraws to Kurdistan or Kuwait everything will go quiet is probably the opposite of the truth. It will raise the curtain for the next act.

Now we are presented with potentially portentous information, but we don't know 1) what it signifies; 2) whether to believe it. We fear politicized information but know information is politicized by both the left and the right.

Are we in a regional conflict and are we fighting it as such, or are we trapped in our little Beltway fantasy?

9/12/2007 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

What if you gave a bombing and nobody notices. American news didnt notice.

Israel took something out they regarded as a sufficient a threat to accept the risk of the mission. What was the threat? I dont see AAA as that big a thing. It had to be anti-civilian or some WMD. Wild spec, I'll grant you but this mission was a big thing. (and a big hole tells no tales)

9/12/2007 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

This is more significant that it seems.

Sounds like Isreal has an strategic and operational plan in place and is executing it.

Something was important enough for it to play one of its spoof cards for the Syrian AD network. This is not something done lightly.

I imagine the real target was somewhere else in Syria as well as the minds of the undecided in the Isaeli political leadership.

Without Syria or Iran Hezbollah will wither on the vine.

9/12/2007 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Times Online weighs in and expands on the idea that the target was Syrian nuclear materials from North Korea:
But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?

According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.

The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.

“This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”

An expert on the Middle East, who has spoken to Israeli participants in the raid, told yesterday’s Washington Post that the timing of the raid on September 6 appeared to be linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean material labelled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.


9/16/2007 05:57:00 PM  

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