Israeli military officials today confirmed IAF warplanes targeted a supposed shipment of “game changing” weapons inside Syria, allegedly destined for Hezbollah. These “game changing advanced missiles”, (if they exist) have been reported to have been “advanced ground to ground missiles”
Whats interesting, is the similar modus operandi of another recent IAF airstrike on Syria in January, which was also claimed to be targeting a “weapons convoy”. Indeed, the convoy that was targeted may well have been carrying weapons/Manpad’s, but that was not Israel’s primary target. In this case the target, and result of the strike was the death of Iranian IRCG General Hassan Shateri: a major coup for Israel’s continuing aggression and shadow war against Iran. The Times of London reported in February that an Israeli military source revealed Israeli assets spotted Shateri in Damascus, trailed him as he boarded the “convoy” headed for Lebanon, after which the airstrike option was “utilized”. This shows that Israel’s military planners are willing to take huge risk in their opportunistic “targeted killings” of IRGC and Hezbollah commanders, and fully exploit the current conflict in Syria as a means to eradicate and weaken its enemies.
In the run-up to the Shateri assassination, there was also a heavy and blatant increase in IAF airspace violations over Lebanon, these were ultimately recon flights and strike simulations. This strategy appears to be the case in the recent strike on Syrian soil, at the moment of typing, it appears Israeli missiles were fired from jets in Lebanese airspace across the border into Syria.
With the Syrian Government and armed forces facing a full on insurgency; it is hard to believe they would choose to ship large consignments of sophisticated weapons out of the country, during a period it is facing an increased threat of western/GCC military action against it. Further still, Hezbollah is currently engaged in the war against western/GCC proxies in Syria, it poses no offensive threat to Israel at this moment in time. Another major issue going against this “game changing missiles” narrative is the fact that similar range missiles will already be in the arsenal of both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), and, to some extent Hezbollah.
Although more of these weapons would prove a major obstacle to any future Israeli aggression on Lebanon, it’s certainly not a “game changing” dynamic. Israel’s huge military apparatus and air supremacy bare no comparison to the small arsenal’s inside Lebanon. Indeed, after the Shateri strike an IDF official was quoted in the Times article as saying: “a weapons convoy to Lebanon is not on its own a good enough reason for Israel to risk its pilots in an attack through a heavily protected air defense zone.” Although striking from the oft-violated Lebanese airspace puts paid to these Israeli concerns, it still seems an awfully risky manouvre for the sake of a few missiles.
Speaking on Friday Lebanon’s President Michel Sleiman accused Israel of: “trying to destabilise the country” and, called continuing IAF airspace violations: ” Israel’s policy of intimidation”. So who or what was the real target? On the face of it, Israeli airstrikes against Syrian Army/Hezbollah are only going to bolster radical Sunni militia affiliated with Al Qaeda? Oh sorry i forgot, they’re on the same side in this proxy-war. The west’s (ergo Israel’s) strategic moral expediency in plain sight.