Although at this point, we can safely assume that Russia has no specific intent to invade Israel, we know that sooner or later God will put "hooks into your jaws" and bring them into the land of Israel. They will also come from the north. Syria is the perfect staging area for the battle of Gog-magog. And with every increase in troops, equipment, bases, tanks, planes, etc., made by Russia, we can see the perfect stage for the beginning stages of Ezekiel 38-39:
Israel’s air superiority over its enemies has been a linchpin of its defense strategy for decades. The capacity of Israeli planes to carry out attacks well within enemies’ borders has prevented Syria and Iraq from creating nuclear weapons. The Israel Air Force’s unquestioned supremacy over neighboring forces has kept Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian planes almost entirely out of Israeli airspace in the country’s wars.
But with the recent deployment of the Russian S-400 “Triumph” missile defense system in Syria, that absolute primacy is now in question.
The S-400’s specs are enough to make any Israeli’s heart race. The anti-aircraft system — constituting an array radar to monitor the skies and a missile battery — can track and shoot down targets some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. At its new position on the Syrian coast in Latakia, that range encompasses half of Israel’s airspace, including Ben Gurion International Airport.
This is not the first time that Russian technology in Syria has called into question Israel’s aerial supremacy, and the precedent was catastrophic: In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 2K12 “Kub” missile defense system, provided to Syria by the then-Soviet Union, destroyed dozens of Israeli planes.
The “Kub” prevented an Israeli aerial offensive into Syria in 1973; the S-400 extends deep into Israel’s sovereign air space.
In addition to the S-400, Russia has been bringing highly advanced ordnance into the Syrian theater of war, including outfitting its jet fighters with air-to-air missiles, the Israeli NRG website recently reported.
By bulking up their air defenses in Syria, the Russians hope to prevent future attacks on their aircraft, like the incident last week when the Turkish military brought down an Su-24 jet that Ankara claimed had entered its airspace.
“This system is liable to worry people,” said Yiftah Shapir, a military technology research fellow at the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies, said curtly of the S-400.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the importance of that coordinationduring and after a meeting in Paris on Monday with Russian President Vladimnir Putin.
So long as that’s the case and the Moscow-Tel Aviv hotline remains open, the S-400’s presence in Syria shouldn’t “keep anyone from sleeping at night,” said Uzi Rubin, a missile defense analyst for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
Besides, Rubin said with dry humor, “there are enough other things for us to worry about.”
And yet, some experts stress, while there is currently no impending threat to Israel’s operations in Syria, there is an inherent discomfort with having your freedom of movement potentially restricted and requiring coordination with an outside force, no matter how friendly. The supremacy of the Israeli Air Force, one of the most advanced and capable air forces in the world, is, after all, a central factor in Israel’s essential capacity to defend itself, by itself, in a hostile and wildly unpredictable region.
Today, the interests of Russia and Israel in Syria do not conflict with one another. Israel’s immediate concern in Syria is not President Bashar Assad or his forces, but Hezbollah. Putin, meanwhile, is concerned with propping up Assad and defeating the Islamic State — and very much in that order of preference.
Meanwhile, Russia has adopted a laissez-faire stance towards Assad’s ally, and one of Israel’s main enemies, Hezbollah, according to Nadav Pollak, a researcher with the Washington Institute for Near East Studies and former analyst for the Israeli government.
All that having been said, the increased presence of Russia as a Middle East actor is troubling to both Israel and the West. In the past few years, Putin has proven time and again that he is prepared to take steps, in both Ukraine and Syria, that NATO countries denounce.
Russia’s overall support for the Assad regime, and its current presence in Syria, have miffed Americans, several European countries and the Gulf States, who have called for Assad to step down.
For Israel, more problematic have been Russia’s plans to sell the less advanced, but hardly less problematic S-300 missile system to both Syria and Iran.
Israel’s concerns over Russian military tech in the Middle East extend back to the Cold War, and the installment of anti-aircraft batteries in Egypt and Syria. Israel has always been able to overcome the challenges those systems presented, but often at some cost, in terms of both military effort and human life.
When Soviet surface-to-air missiles — SAMs, in military parlance — neutralized the brunt of the IAF’s attacks in the Yom Kippur War, Israel’s air supremacy was not in question, it was in tatters. But that was not the end of the story.
In the years following the war, Israel invested heavily in developing weaponry to counteract those anti-aircraft batteries, and in the First Lebanon War, Israeli pilots successfully destroyed those missile defense systems, using a combination of radar jamming and radiation-seeking missiles.
For years, Israel has been preparing for the deployment of the S-300 in enemy territory. The S-400 system is simply a more advanced form of the same S-300 system that has existed for years; indeed it was once known as the S-300 PMU-3.
Russia agreed to sell the S-300 to Iran in 2007, but the transaction was on hold until July’s signing of the P5+1 nuclear deal due to the sanctions against the Islamic Republic. In recent weeks, both Iranian and Russian officials have indicated that it is going ahead, but there has been no definitive confirmation.
"From my understanding of our capabilities, if we wanted to operate in the area protected by the S-400, we could do it. It wouldn’t be easy, but possible,” said Shapir, who served as a lieutenant colonel in the IAF before joining the INSS.
But a military response to the S-400 would be considered only in case of emergency, he stressed. The missile defense system is powerful and a distinct threat to Israel’s air superiority, but at this stage, he reiterated, it is emphatically not trained on Israel.
Though Israel and Russia have thus far succeeded in coordinating their aerial attacks, the possibility always exists for potentially deadly mistakes.
Ultimately, though, the consensus among Israeli experts is that even if the situation changes dramatically, Israel always has its “Plan B” — its technological capabilities. In 2013, the IAF considered the S-300 to constitute a surmountable challenge. In 2015, there’s no reason why the S-400 shouldn’t be considered one as well.
Just letting you know that my husband is finally responding to treatment. He has a long road of recovery ahead of him. With all the world events, we will be taken up and his treatment will be a new whole eternal body.
Thank you everyone for your prayers.
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