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article imageOp-Ed: Will Syria attack Israel if US attacks?

By Ken Hanly     Aug 27, 2013 in Politics
Damascus - Syria's Deputy Information Minister said that Israel would face not just Syria if the US and its allies attacked Syria and attempted to remove Assad from power but a coalition of Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.
The Minister said that Syria had "strategic weapons" that it would use in an attack against Israel although he did not specify what they were. Notice that Russia is not listed as part of this coalition. Russia has clearly indicated that it will not enter the war even if the US does attack Syria. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the west was moving to a very dangerous and slippery path and said: “Using force without the approval of the U.N. Security Council is a very grave violation of international law,” Lavrov added: “We have no plans to go to war with anyone,”
According to the Israeli Ynetnews Halef al -Muftah, a member of the Syrian Ba'ath National Council, says that the Syrian government thinks that Israel is"behind the aggression and therefore it will come under fire" should Syria be attacked by the United States. He is reported to have made the statement in an interview on the US radio station Sawa in Arabic, claiming also that Syria had strategic weapons aimed at Israel and could retaliate. He repeated claims made also by others: "If the US or Israel err through aggression and exploit the chemical issue, the region will go up in endless flames, affecting not only the area's security, but the world's." In another interview with an Iranian language TV channel al-Alam al Muftah claimed that the US would be unable to attack Syria since its retaliatory capabilities are well-known and would be directed at Israel. However, Israel has already itself attacked Syria several times with no retaliation. Other senior Syrian officials made similar remarks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel is not involved in Syria's civil war but would forcefully respond to any attempts to attack it saying: "The state of Israel is prepared for any scenario,We are not a party to this civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt to attack us we will respond and we will respond forcefully." Israel has certainly been taking sides. It has even attacked Syrian targets twice in three days in May and also attacked in July. It also passed on to the US intelligence that supposedly proves that Assad was responsible for the recent chemical attack in Damascus.
Assad only responded with rhetoric to earlier Israeli attacks. Unless he feels backed into a corner and lashes out in desperation, I doubt that he will launch an attack against Israel. The response from Israel he probably realizes could be quite severe. However, Hezbollah might strike out at Israeli targets. From recent violence in Lebanon it would seem that the war has already spread into Lebanon in any event.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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