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Israel Attacks Syria Arms Convoy, Intelligence Exploited Fordo to Conceal Plans

israeli attack on Syria

Air route of Israeli attack on Syria

Israel’s Air Force attacked (Haaretz report) a Syrian arms convoy inside the country that was shipping an advanced anti-aircraft system to Hezbollah forces inside Lebanon. Israel felt especially threatened by this development because it considers Lebanon within its sphere of influence and wants no interference with its right to roam the air freely over that country. It demands the freedom to surveil Hezbollah forces and facilities there to probe for threats against Israeli forces.

The Syrians also said that one of their “research facilities” was bombed and that two were killed. I haven’t been able to confirm the accuracy of this claim.

Israel appears to have taken advantage of the breakdown in civil and military control of Syria to violate that country’s sovereignty with a major attack. It isn’t the first such assault. In 2007, Ehud Olmert’s government destroyed a reputed Syrian nuclear reactor. But this incident is far different because in the middle of the conflagration that is the Syrian civil war any intervention by anyone could create a fatal fracture and precipitate even more bloodshed.

The Haaretz website main headline read, somewhat ominously, Israel Enters Syrian Civil War. If that is the case it can only be a very bad omen. Intervention is a slippery slope toward potential chaos. I hope that Kochavi was told during his Washington consultation that beyond this particular attack Israel should keep its hands off Syria. For Israel to intercede in any way to determine the outcome of the civil war in the favor of one faction of another would likely be disastrous.

Readers will recall last week I reported based on an Israeli source that Israel and other forces had sabotaged the Fordo nuclear facility. Part of the information I was offered said Bibi Netanyahu had convened an extraordinary cabinet meeting the day after the election that had evaluated the success of the Fordo operation.

But my source also noted that Haaretz was reporting that the meeting addressed the precarious situation inside Syria. In hindsight, it appears that Haaretz was correct and that the meeting did cover the impending Syria attack. Part of the meeting might’ve even included mention of a cover-story intelligence would be spreading concerning a fake Fordo incident. Since Israel would want to disguise its intentions, Haaretz’s report might’ve drawn undue attention to its intentions.  The purpose of a Fordo smokescreen would be to distract not just the world’s attention, but the attention of forces in Syria, Lebanon and possibly Iran (if it was the origin for the anti-aircraft missiles) who might be seeking clues about Israel’s military moves.

After speaking with the intelligence source who offered him the Fordo report, my own source discovered that he’d been deliberately misled for reasons I outlined above. But my source told me that the intelligence operative had offered us several important stories in the past that proved accurate. All this proves is that sometimes you’re a pawn in the interests of larger or greater powers. The goal is to minimize these instances in which you might be exploited.

Israel dispatched national security advisor Yaakov Amridor to Moscow, presumably to ream Russia’s military a new asshole for daring to allow their advanced weapons systems to be transferred from Syria to Hezbollah. IDF intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi was sent to Washington to explain to the Obama administration what it intended to do and why. Presumably, the U.S. had no objection to the attack.

This is precisely the path Olmert followed before he attacked the nuclear reactor. So despite Bibi’s bluster and threats that he might go it alone against Iran, we see that he too follows a more traditional model of consultation with Israel’s military patron before launching such a major attack that could destabilize the region in a significant way.

That’s no guarantee Bibi won’t go rogue against Iran. But at least it’s a more positive indicator that cooler heads might prevail before engaging in such a dangerous and reckless adventure against Iran.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • bluto January 30, 2013, 5:27 PM

    Lebanon absolutely has the right to defend it’s airspace from constant IAF overflights and bombing attacks – it needs at least SA-17s to do this and preferably Russian S400s sometime in the near future

    • yonthan achache January 31, 2013, 2:26 AM

      The strike was not against Lebanon. it was against Hezbollah which is known by the UN as a terrorist organization who makes the life of the Lebanon’s citizens as well as Israeli ones. those weapons only makes Nassrallah and his group of militants stronger while eventually tearing an already fragile Lebanon apart.

      • Richard Silverstein January 31, 2013, 5:43 PM

        Actually, the strike was against Syria and within its territory. As for Hezbollah, much more of the world believes it plays a legitimate role in Lebanon’s political life than believe it is solely a terrorist organization. In fact, if Ehud Olmert had negotiated a peace deal with Syria when he could have, there would likely be peace with Lebanon since Hezbollah is largely a client of Syria and would have taken orders from Assad had there been a peace deal.

        • Commoner January 31, 2013, 11:29 PM

          Hezbollah is deeply entrenched in the Syrian civil-war, doing everything it can to maintain the murderous Assad regime. I realize that every enemy of Israel is a friend of Mr. Silverstein, but the cynicism here really stands out.

          • Richard Silverstein January 31, 2013, 11:50 PM

            You have violated a major comment rule. Future comments will be moderated. If you violate them again you will lose these privileges entirely.

          • Commoner February 1, 2013, 9:14 AM

            Not quite a mature way to handle structured criticism.

          • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2013, 5:12 PM

            Calling me an “enemy of Israel” is neither “structured criticism” (whatever that means) or true. It violates my comment rules as well. If you don’t like that too bad. Just respect it. You can’t say things that are lies here.

  • Brian January 30, 2013, 6:19 PM

    So the logic of your source is that by Israel spreading the rumor about Fordo it diverted the attention of Syrian soldiers stationed at the different Syrian radar sites and that’s what enabled the Israeli airplanes penetrate through the Syrian air defense systems and attack in few different locations ?

    May i remind you that in 2007 Israel attacked further into Syrian territory without using such a highly sophisticated intelligence method. I Doubt such a clever move will gain any traction.

  • Brian January 30, 2013, 8:16 PM

    Syrian Arab News Agency – Announcing Israel Attacked a research center @ location near Damascus
    “The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace on Wednesday dawn and bombarded directly a scientific research center responsible for raising the levels of resistance and self-defense in Jamraya area in Damascus Countryside.”


  • Joel January 30, 2013, 11:42 PM

    “Lebanese sources also commented on the reports and stressed that there had been no strike inside Lebanese territory. An eye witness from a border town said that there had been no explosion.”


    I think it is too early to say just what happened.

  • Damien Finter January 31, 2013, 3:35 AM

    I do wish people would desist from using the term ‘civil war’ for this subversion and imperial proxy conflict.
    We are all aware of the Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and Nato special forces input; from funding and intelligence to arming and propagandising.
    Lets face it, whichever numeral you wish to attach, this is is a resumption of the 19th century Great Game for global hegemony put on temporary hold by the the napalm-cold war. It is a resumption of ‘open door’ policies, strictly for capital and corporations..labour units will be stored in camps alongside the maquiladoras. The walls are in place and the drawbridges are lifting; from Mexico to Palestine and Fortress Europe. Global apartheid/balkanisation for resource extraction to tax-haven archipelgos.

  • Commoner January 31, 2013, 11:27 PM

    [comment deleted as off-topic]

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