The Kuwaiti newspaper, al Rai, reports that Syria and Hezbollah have agreed to a wide ranging intelligence sharing operation which also includes a joint operations center staffed by Hezbollah and Syrian military officers in the event of a war with Israel:
Hizbullah concluded “field understandings” with the Syrian army, [in] which both sides will cooperate at the military level, including “combat cooperation” in the event of an outbreak of a war with Israel. The understandings include intelligence cooperation. Both sides agreed to exchange data on the “bank of Israeli targets” and dividing responsibility to bomb these targets between Hizbullah and Syria.
The two sides agreed to establish a joint “operation room” which will be occupied by Hizbullah and Syria officers. This room is intended to fill all the intelligence gaps that can emerge in the battlefield, the report said.
The newspaper added that via this cooperation, the Syrian army makes available all the intelligence its units gather regarding the Israeli air force and its flights. The idea is that Hizbullah will be bombing…the Israeli airports before the flights. According to the report, the most important thing in this cooperation…is to damage the Israeli Air Force and reduce its capabilities.
There is very little that is unexpected in this news since Hezbollah is essentially a Syrian proxy on the Lebanese battlefield. But what is interesting is that a confidential source has revealed that this little news nugget was supplied by none other than Israeli intelligence. It wanted both the Syrians and Hezbollah to know that it knew about their war plans.
It seems part of an elaborate game of psychological warfare and intimidation that the Israelis are playing with Iran and the other potential war parties. Israel’s spooks want the enemy to know that Israel knows of their plans the moment the enemy decides upon them. There is nothing they can do Israel won’t know about, etc.
All this strikes me as a little like boys pretending to be spies and soldiers and playing mock battles, with each child hissing and pawing at the ground to frighten his opponent. With the difference that neither Israel nor its enemies are children, but rather nations playing games that will end with death and mayhem potentially for thousands, if not tens of thousands. Can we afford to let these boys play their games at the expense of the peoples of the Middle East who will suffer if the game goes awry and becomes real?
I have written before about the unstoppable momentum for war that happened in the run-up to the 1967 war in which Nasser and Israel’s leaders exchanged ever more bellicose threats which eventually convinced Golda Meir that she had to pre-empt an Egyptian strike by hitting first. Thus political rhetoric and grandstanding led to fateful military decisions leading inexorably to war. The question for today is: are we in the run-up to the next major Israeli-Arab war? Is that where we want to go? Where we want to let Israel go? Because from my vantage point Israel is hellbent to get there.
Who can stop it? Obama? Will he? Can he? American liberals have to put the president on notice that if there is a war, we will blame him as the figure who could have stopped it and didn’t. In other words to paraphrase Harry Truman, the rap stops here.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.