The volume of the war drums beating in the Middle East has gone to forte. Debka is reporting here that the Syrians are receiving massive loads of missiles via air from Iran.
Fresh supplies also reached the Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas in Gaza. Wednesday, Feb. 3, Syrian president Bashar Assad accused Israel of seeking war, while his foreign minister Walid Moallem boasted: “You know that war at this time will come to your cities.” They spoke after taking delivery of 100 new medium-range surface-to-surface missiles from Iran in January.
Moallem’s threat was comprehensive: “….Syria calls on Israel to halt directing threats once against Gaza, another against South Lebanon, then Iran and now Syria.”
Part of the Israeli response was
Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented nonchalantly that he does not understand what the Bashar Assad wants, confiding to his aides that his goal is to gain international goodwill before Israel decides to attack Iran. Next day, Feb. 4, hardline foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman was more outspoken: “Assad must be told bluntly,” he said, “that in the next war, not only will Syria be beaten but he and his family will lose power. You will not remain in power, and neither will your family.”
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Analysis. The last time that the Israelis came close to removing the Assad family from power we almost went to nuclear war. Lieberman is not the only leader in the Middle East that would like to see Bashar’s head removed from his body. Both President Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah II of Jordan have no love for the Assad family and the Baath movement in general.
What has changed is the Syrian threat to launch its missiles should Israel repeat its “Cast Lead” operation to stop Hamas from shelling southern Israel. In combination with Hezbollah Syria has basically told Israel they they are surrounded and must absorb the attacks without retaliation or there will be regional war.
There will be regional war anyway. The only question right now is who pulls the trigger first. Both sides would like the other to be labeled the aggressor. However, the internal situation in Iran may push the mullahs to begin the war before they loose power to the revolutionaries. Updates on the situation in Iran will be posted shortly. Suffice it to say the situation in Iran is deteriorating at an increasing pace.