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article imageOp-Ed: Israel launches air attacks on a village south of Damascus

By Ken Hanly     Aug 25, 2019 in World
A number of Israeli airstrikes hit targets in the village of Aqtaba just south of the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday night. The attack was said to have hit Iranian targets but as with many Israeli attacks create little comment.
Attack said to thwart attack by the Quds Force
However a reason was given for the attack: " Israeli Brigadier Gen. Ronen Manelis is claiming that the attack was launched specifically to thwart a plot by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, and that the Quds Force leader Gen. Soleimaini was directing the plot from Tehran." General Manelis said the attack proved how ready Israel was to act. He also said that Shi'ite militias were also involved in the plot. However, it is not clear that Manelis was alleging that the forces, no doubt militias from Iraq were to attack Israel themselves.
Israel constantly argues that strikes in Syria are for self-defense. This is justified only if there is an imminent threat. In this case the Israeli suggest the imminent threat was an attack. However, often there is no independent verification of such a threat. All we have is that Israel says there is. The US and western media never seem to show the slightest interest in a critical analysis of the situation.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM and Defense Minister also commented on the raid: "In a major operational effort, we thwarted an attack against Israel by Iranian Quds force and Shiite militias. I repeat: Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our forces are operating in every direction against the Iranian aggression. We will continue to work against Iran and its affiliates with determination and responsibility for Israel's security. "
Israel also has made recent attacks in Iraq
As a recent Digital Journal article reports Israel is responsible for mysterious explosions that have occurred in Iraq: "Israel was responsible for the bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month, U.S. officials have confirmed, an attack that would mark a significant escalation in Israel’s years-long campaign against Iranian military entrenchment across the region." Since then Israel itself has confirmed the attacks. Israel attacked the Iraqi groups because they were associated with Hezbollah or Shi'ite militias hostile to Israel. However, there appears to have been no immediate threat involved. Indeed it is only recently that Israel would even admit responsibility for the attacks.
It seems that Israel feels that it can take preventative action against those who could attack them or is regarded as threatening to them even though such actions are not legitimate under international law. Of course, the US does the same invoking its anti-terror laws. Israel has the protection and support of the United States with respect to its attacks. The US itself shows how international law can be contravened by suggestion that the aim is self-defense against terrorism: "... Washington is now well into the second decade of an endless War on Terror that seems the sum of its exceptions to international law: endless incarceration, extrajudicial killing, pervasive surveillance, drone strikes in defiance of national boundaries, torture on demand, and immunity for all of the above on the grounds of state secrecy."
The former PM of Iraq has responded to the attacks: Former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki on Friday warned Israel of a “strong response” if it proved to be behind the recent airstrikes against Iranian-linked military targets in Iraq. In statements issued by his office, al-Maliki also said that if Israel continues to target Iraq, his country “will transform into a battle arena that drags in multiple countries, including Iran.”
The threat of a retaliatory move by Iraq simply provides another reason for a further Israeli attack since it is an imminent threat and so justifies further action in self defense. It is not at all clear what Iraq can do in response.
Syria too is unlikely to retaliate against Israeli strikes since it could result in far larger attacks in response. Russia will no doubt attempt to restrain Syria from any robust retaliatory actions.
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
More about Israel Syria relations, Israeli attacks on Syiria, Israel
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