Israel’s air strikes near Damascus international air port and the Syrian-Lebanese border Sunday, Dec. 7, are depicted by Middle East military and intelligence sources as Israel’s first overt military clash with Russia in the course of the more than three-year Syrian war. Those sources assert that the strikes demolished components of Russian SA-25 or other types of top-line anti air missile systems that Moscow had destined for Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah terrorist group.
Russian transport planes are said to have shipped these consignments in the last few days to the military section of Damascus international airport. It was pointed out that the Israeli air strikes occurred less than 24 hours after Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the Kremlin’s point man for the Syrian war, met with Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah Saturday in Beirut. The Russians for the first time insisted on widely circulating photos of the two officials shaking hands.
One of the most highly sophisticated Russian intelligence bases outside its borders, the secret site was located strategically close to the junction of Syria’s borders with Jordan and Israel.
The prized hi-tech apparatus, much of it unfamiliar to Western spy agencies, was quickly shipped out of Syria for examination in the West.
Other Israeli air force targets struck near Damascus airport in Sunday’s raid were the 103rd brigade of the 4th Division, which is the Syrian president’s republican guard, and the same division’s logistic rear base at Dimas near the Lebanese border.
The fact that Israel conducted air strikes against two facilities of the same Syrian army division along the route to Lebanon indicates that the targeted weapons were on their way from Syria to Hizballah strongholds in Lebanon.
The Syrian and Iranian foreign ministries have castigated Israel for airstrikes on two areas near Damascus, calling it an act of aggression that proves Israel was “in the same trench” with extremist groups fighting the Syrian government.
Warplanes bombed the two areas Sunday, striking near Damascus’s international airport as well as outside a town close to the Lebanese border. The Syrian government said the attacks caused material damage, and said Israel was behind them. Israel has not commented on the strikes.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem claimed Israel was trying to compensate for losses incurred by Islamic extremist groups in Syria at the hands of the Syrian army. He did not elaborate.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham also denounced the unconfirmed Israeli airstrikes, the Fars news agency reported, and accused Israel of collaborating with rebel groups against the “oppressed people” of Syria.
Arabic media reported Monday that two alleged Israeli airstrikes the day before had targeted advanced Russian-made air-defense missiles bound for Hezbollah.
The reports said that eight Israeli fighter jets were involved in the attacks, one of which took place near Damascus international airport and the other at an airfield in the Dimas area, northwest of the Syrian capital and near the Lebanese border.
Last week the US House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War. Ironically, much of the bill condemns Russia for doing exactly what the US government has been doing for years in Syria and Ukraine!
For example, one of the reasons to condemn Russia in the resolution is the claim that Russia is imposing economic sanctions on Ukraine. But how many rounds of sanctions has the US government imposed on Russia for much of the past year? I guess sanctions are only bad when used by countries Washington doesn’t like.
The resolution condemns Russia for selling weapons to the Assad government in Syria. But the US has been providing weapons to the rebels in Syria for several years, with many going to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS that the US is currently bombing!
The resolution condemns Russia for what it claims are attempts to “illicitly acquire information” about the US government. But we learned from the Snowden revelations that the NSA is spying on most of the rest of the world, including our allies! How can the US claim the moral authority to condemn such actions in others?
The resolution condemns what it claims is a Russian invasion of Ukraine (for which it offers no proof) and Russian violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. But it was the US, by backing a coup against the democratically elected Yanukovich government in February, that first violated that country’s sovereignty. And as far as a military presence in Ukraine, it is the US that has openly sent in special forces and other military advisors to assist the government there. How many times have top US military and CIA officials visited Kiev to offer advice and probably a lot more?
The resolution condemns what it claims is Russia’s provision of weapons to the Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine, which seeks closer ties with Russia, while demanding that the US government start providing weapons to its proxies on the other side.
As I have said, this is one of the worst pieces of legislation I can remember. And trust me, I have seen some pretty bad bills. It is nothing but war propaganda and it will likely lead to all sorts of unintended consequences.
Syrian officials demanded the UN impose sanctions on Israel after Tel Aviv conducted airstrikes near Damascus Airport. They say the attack was a heinous crime against their sovereignty by a country which doesn’t hide its policy of supporting terrorism.
Tel Aviv committed a heinous crime against Syria’s sovereignty, said Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry in two identical letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the Chair of the UN Security Council, SANA news agency reported.
The attack aimed to support armed terrorist groups in Syria, especially after Damascus made some progress in the cities of Deir Ezzor, Aleppo and Daraa, say Syrian officials.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry called for UN officials to impose sanctions on Israel, whose authorities“don’t hide their policies in supporting terrorism.” Damascus also urged UN to take all necessary procedures to prevent Israel from repeating such attacks in accord with UN Charter.
The letter asserts that Israel is trying to divert the world’s attention from the collapse of its own coalition government, which continues “its occupation of the Arab territories and violates the international legitimacy.”
On Sunday, Syrian state TV reported that Israeli army hit targets near Damascus Airport and in the town of Dimas near the Lebanese border.
"The Israeli enemy committed aggression against Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, in all of Dimas and near the Damascus International Airport," the report said, adding that there were no casualties.
After weeks of protests and growing suspicion, Dutch authorities overseeing the investigation of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have finally included Malaysia as a member of its Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
Malaysia had made it clear it was immensely displeased with its inexplicable exclusion from JIT formed after the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Including NATO members (Belgium and the Netherlands), a defacto NATO collaborator (Australia) and a potential culprit in the air disaster (Ukraine), Malaysia’s exclusion looked to be a part of an ongoing cover-up amid a larger attempt to use the disaster to frame Russia and advance NATO’s agenda in Eastern Europe
The conflict amid which MH17 was shot down is perceived to be a proxy conflict between NATO and Russia. That the investigation includes exclusively pro-NATO members or NATO members themselves, both the conduct of the investigation and any conceivable outcome would be highly suspect. Malaysia, the only nation directly effected by the disaster and perceived of being beyond the direct influence of NATO, would have provided a much needed counterbalance.
Now that it has become a member of JIT, analysts must vigilantly watch to ensure it is allowed full access to evidence and equal participatory standings. While Malaysia’s inclusion provides hope that JIT will now be unable to pursue a political agenda with impunity, the possibility is high that NATO will simply cite Malaysia’s inclusion in JIT to legitimize its actions, no matter how biased the conduct of JIT’s investigation may be or how skewed its outcome, even if Malaysia raises protests over both
The diminishing primacy of the West’s powerful global media monopoly may be partially why Malaysia was finally included in JIT. Had there been no alternatives to this monopoly, including networks rising up in developing nations and among BRICS, as well as the more decentralized alternative media of “citizen journalists,” Malaysia’s protests simply would have been tuned out and other issues put forward to cover up the glaringly compromised nature of JIT’s original members and their methodology.
It was also revealed that JIT had arranged agreements among members to bar the release of certain information when deemed necessary. With Malaysia excluded from JIT, any number of relevant or incriminating pieces of evidence could have already been purged from the investigation while other pieces of evidence fabricated to take their place. The alternative media played a crucial role in bringing this suspicious arrangement to the public’s attention.
In all, large and growing outrage over what was clearly a politically motivated investigation was given a platform by the alternative media to reach a wider general public. Unable to ignore obvious misconduct in the investigation and a glaring lack of objectivity and impartiality because of this fact, may have forced NATO to include Malaysia despite the obvious restraints it would put on its attempt to whitewash the investigation