I just love unsourced stories like this in the Israeli press: they can mean everything or nothing or something in between. Usually they’re garbage as likely in this case. But what’s interesting is the sheer effrontery of whoever the U.S. official is:
An American source says that Syria allowed Hezbollah operatives to train within its territory in the use of advanced SA2 anti-aircraft missile batteries, the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported Sunday. In an interview, the senior U.S. official warned that if Syria supplies Hezbollah with this type of missile, Israel will bomb Damascus and a war will likely ensue.
According to the official, Israel has warned Syria not to allow the transfer of the SA2 missiles into the hands of Hezbollah, and views the transfer of such missiles as the crossing of a red line. He added that he did not believe that a war would break out soon, unless one of the sides violated the undeclared agreement not to cross the red lines defined by both sides.
The phrase “senior U.S. official” has Dennis Ross written all over it. But I suppose there are other pro-Israel lackeys in the White House it could be. Imagine a U.S. official having the temerity of doing Israel’s bidding in its battles with its neighbors. Which government does he think he serves? Washington or Tel Aviv?
The idea that a defensive weapon like anti-aircraft batteries would be viewed by Israel as grounds for war against Syria is typical of the Israeli strategic mindset. In their view, anything that threatens their military dominance, even military weapons designed to defend a neighbor’s sovereign territory, is grounds for attack. All I can say is that the Middle East is changing and the Iron Fist no longer works in terms of Israeli deterrence. Israel can no longer bomb its way to victory. I suppose it may take another wasted Lebanon war or two before this lesson sinks in. But eventually it will. At least I hope so. If it doesn’t, then Israel is doomed.