Coffee House

The real significance of Israel’s strikes on Syria

7 May 2013

It is hard to overstate the significance of Israel’s surgical strikes against Syrian military positions over the weekend. The raids targeted missiles bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon while also destroying battery launchers and other delivery systems. Beyond the obvious damage this inflicted on Syrian military capabilities, its real significance lies in the broader political objectives it achieved.

Benjamin Netanyahu made a strategic miscalculation last November when he launched Operation Pillar of Defence against Hamas operatives in Gaza. He failed to inflict any meaningful damage on the group while the Hamas administration secured a number of victories, not least hitting Tel Aviv. The weekend’s air raids therefore go a long way towards restoring Israel’s balance of power in the region by demonstrating their determination and willingness to retain ‘first strike’ capability.

Moreover, Netanyahu has revealed that unlike the President Obama he is prepared to act when Israel’s red lines are crossed. This will send a strong message to Iran with whom the Israelis have been tussling for some years over their plans to acquire nuclear weapons. The Syrian conflict is increasingly becoming a microcosm of all the region’s most pressing concerns – sectarianism, the primacy of confessional identities over civic ones, and authoritarian bargaining. In that context, restating the military supremacy and political will of Israel’s defence establishment could scarcely be more important.

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  • ProffessorPlum

    “The real significance of Israel’s strikes on Syria”

    The real significance is that if Israel is encourage more immigration then it is going to need more territory. That territory can only come from its neighbours. That is the significance of the Israeli strike.

    ““If I had stood here in 1913 and said to you ‘Come to a conference to discuss the reconstruction of a national home in Palestine,’ you would have looked upon me as an idle dreamer, even if I had told you in 1913 that the Austrian archduke would be killed and that out of all that followed would come the chance, the opportunity, the occasion for establishing a national home for the Jews in Palestine. Has it ever occurred to you how remarkable it is that out of the welter of world blood there has arisen this opportunity? Do you really believe that we have been led back to Israel by nothing but a fluke?” Lord Melchett (Jewish Chronicle, Nov. 9, 1928).”

    • Augustus

      Yes, amazing, isn’t it? While the entire Middle East is burning with Islamist fever, Sunni-Shiite enmity, tribal factionalism and a swift shift backward in time, Israel continues to lead the Western world in modernization.

      • Tom Tom

        Que ?

      • ProffessorPlum

        “While the entire Middle East is burning”

        No it’s not. Not yet at least.

        You failed to understand the point though Which was that wars that are relevant to Israel do not happen by coincidence.

        For example some believe that it was just a coincidence that Britain got the mandate for Palestine and then spent more than 25 years protecting the jewish takeover of Palestine.

        Directly after the zionist congress vote to accept Uganda as the jewsih homeland in 1903 Max Nordau had this to say:

        “Let me tell you the following words as if I were showing you the rungs of a ladder leading upward and upward: Herzl, the Zionist congress, the English Uganda proposition, the future world war, the peace conference where, with the help of England, a free and Jewish Palestine will be created”

  • Janet Webster

    There is no red line which the Spectator will not support. About time we told the Jews they are on heir own,

    • James

      Assad represents the islamic twelvers – the same belief as Iran, Taliban and extremist murderers with intent not only destroy Israel – according to the scriptures, but also to destroy the west.

      I know It seems like Israel is an aggressor, but you must understand the facts to understand the actions. For the benefit of foresight, it is also written in the twelver doctrines to deceive the enemies from within, which is why many believers are professionals working in the UK and quiet possibly those responsible for stealing 30 cases of uranium and other radioactive materials from British laboratories up and down the country over the years – because those ingredients make nuclear explosives. We share a dangerous and common enemy.

      • Tom Tom

        Protocols of the Elders of Islam ?

    • MaxSceptic

      ‘The Jews’ (I assume you mean the Israelis) know they are on their own. Which is why they ignore the bien pensant liberal left and get on with protecting themselves and their interests. Sensible Britons know that our interests and those of Israel have much in common – such as the defence of western civilisation.

  • Span Ows

    Funny how the BBC eschew the word ‘Terrorist’ when it should be applied to Muslims but as soon as they get he opportunity (by being suddenly keen to parrot Syrian gov announcement) they whip it out in bold because it can be construed as anti-Israel (of course they had their famous stealth quotes ” “)

    “Israeli strikes ‘co-ordinated with terrorists'”

  • Augustus

    Israel’s need to employ its air force to stop Iranian weapons in Syria from reaching Hezbollah really stems from the end of the 2nd Lebanon War in 2006, from which Israel emerged without reaching its operational goals and with a sense of defeat. Israel has no interest in interfering in the Syrian civil war, nor would it wish to become a party to the ongoing fighting, as the rebels are no better for Israel than Assad. But the next time Iran sends someone to Damascus to see how Assad is coping with the burdens of war, he should tell iran that it might help facilitate his survival if it released him from his duties as the Hezbollah terror group’s weapons supplier.

    • Tom Tom

      Pity that Britain never did airstrikes to stop Israel supplying Exocet missiles to Argentina some years back

      • MaxSceptic

        Don’t be silly. We don’t have the capacity to fight Israel. They’re not the usual third world beggars we’ve been duffing up here and there for the past 60-odd years.

  • Hookeslaw

    Strange I recall someone saying that air-strikes on Syria were impossible due to their wonderful air defence system.

    • Tom Tom

      The missiles were fired from Lebanon. However to test your point Putin is shipping S300 Air Defence Systems and SS26 rockets to Syria with 500km range and capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. He has given Netanyahu a warning as has Beijing. Erdogan has also attacked Israel

  • Austin Barry

    “The Syrian conflict is increasingly becoming a microcosm of all the region’s most pressing concerns – sectarianism, the primacy of confessional identities over civic ones, and authoritarian bargaining. ”

    Or, in a word, Islam.

    • Mohammed

      Northern Ireland’s sectarian strife or Milsovic’s genocidal thirst were were the result of a series of complex historical developments. Actually no, they were down to Christianity.

      See how absurd that sounds?

      • Austin Barry

        I agree that your rather strained analogy is absurd.

        • Icebow

          I went along with the general anti-Serb sentiment back then; now I would like to see them reclaim Kosovo. If there is such a thing as moderate Islam, it is mistaken Islam. Muslims who have read the Koran fully and understood its hatred should either renounce Islam or leave Europe. Israel regards herself as part of the West, and she is right.

          • John McClane

            Kosovo is Serbian. It’s an artificial country created by the EU and still not universally recognised by all member states of the EU.

            • Icebow

              Right you are. Thanks.

        • Mohammed

          You’re a reductive talking head, nothing more. You probably have no understanding of the region or the dynamics at play. If I asked you why it is that Assad soldiers frequently blaspheme Islam when they’re killing rebels, would you be able to give me a solid answer? No. Because you have a fanatical agenda.

          • Austin Barry

            “If I asked you why it is that Assad soldiers frequently blaspheme Islam when they’re killing rebels, would you be able to give me a solid answer? ”

            Yes: it is I don’t care.

            • Icebow

              Muslims doing blasphemy against other Muslims? Wow, that’s really serious.

      • Tom Tom

        Do you think Kosovo being Muslim; Serbia being Orthodox; Croatia being Roman Catholic; Milosevic being Communist turned Nationalist…..had any role to play ?

      • Shazza

        Not all of us are dhimmis. We have heard and understood ‘taqiyya’. The following are absolute :

        There is no such thing as moderate islam

        There is no such thing as islamophobia

        Where there is islam, there is horror

        Churchill’s observations of islam where very perceptive

        Islam is a barbaric, savage, Dark Ages ideology designed to quash all other systems of government and is akin to all other fascist ideologies such as communism, socialism, nazism

        • Icebow

          There can be such a thing as islamophobia, in that the irrationality implied by psychiatric usage is not etymologically implict. If they really do mean you harm, it is not irrational to be averse to them. For those who may prefer it, islamonausea has some currency.

    • Hexhamgeezer


      Gotta love that ‘primacy of confessional identities’

      • Austin Barry

        “…primacy of confessional identities over civic ones, and authoritarian bargaining”

        Yeah, what does this mean? The word bollocks springs to mind, followed by bollocks on stilts. Surely, the Speccie sub-editors could grapple this nonsense to the ground and kill it?

        • Daniel Maris

          It’s Maher’s MO – confuse-a-cat prose…spread some anxiety…

    • telemachus

      Not just Islam
      This embraces Christianity and Judaism

      • Chris Marker

        Not here. The Christ killers are our masters and we must submit to them since they are God’s chosen people.
        We goyims are a peculiar race.

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