Netanyahu calls up reserve forces; Huge US military build up in Qatar; Russia evacuates citizens from Syria
Senior Syrian and Iranian officials have again warned that should the US pursue military action in Syria, the state of Israel will find itself firmly and immediately in their crosshairs.
“If Damascus comes under attack, Tel Aviv will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a license for attacking Israel,” said a Syrian army official in comments to Iran’s Fars News Agency.
“We are rest assured that if Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors,” the official said, maintaining anonymity during the interview.
The army official also stated that if the US chooses to help Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, their will be significant blowback in Israel.
“Weakening the central government in Damascus will actually start growing attacks on Israel and will create insecurity for that regime,” he said.
“Thus, a U.S. attack on Syria will herald frequent strikes and attacks on Israel, not just by Damascus and its allies in retaliation, but by extremist groups who will find a ground for staging their aspirations,” the official added.
Senior Iranian officials echoed the comments, with Hossein Sheikholeslam, the director-general of the parliament for International Affairs telling Fars News that “the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria.”
Iranian Member of Parliament Mansur Haqiqatpur was also quoted as saying that “In case of a U.S. military strike against Syria, the flames of outrage of the region’s revolutionaries will point toward the Zionist regime.”
The fresh threats come in the wake of similar comments made earlier in the week by Syrian Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah who warned that Israel will “come under fire” should the United states strike against the Assad regime. He added that the Syrian government has “strategic weapons aimed at Israel,” and warned that “If the US or Israel err through aggression and exploit the chemical issue, the region will go up in endless flames, affecting not only the area’s security, but the world’s.”
Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom quoted Muftah as also warning “It’s possible to say unambiguously that a process of war against Syria could lead to an all-out world war. The responsibility for that will rest on the US and the Zionist entity’s shoulders.”
The Beirut Daily Star quoted a “senior source close to” Hezbollah as saying that in the event of major Western strike against Syria “Hezbollah will fight on various fronts,” and predicting an immediate “inferno of a war with Israel.”
Pro-Hezbollah cleric, Afif Nabulsi, who is closely aligned with the Syrian and Iranian governments, was also quoted as saying that “any [US] strike against Syria will be met by harsh responses against US interests in the region and against Israel directly.”
Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour stated in a radio interview that the country would retaliate if Israel “exploits a strike against Syria to attack Hezbollah.”
In response to the threats, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said “The State of Israel is ready for any scenario.” Following a meeting with security officials in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said “We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength.”
According to Israeli intelligence website DEBKAfile, the Israeli security cabinet held another emergency meeting today, ordering the partial mobilization of select, qualitative IDF reserve forces: Rocket, Air Force, missile interception, Home Defense command and intelligence units.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that an American military operation on Syria is scheduled to start Friday night, early Saturday Aug. 30-31. The report adds that US forces are finalizing a a major buildup at the huge US Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
“US air force reinforcements in Qatar will stand ready to rush to the aid of US allies – Israel, Jordan and Turkey – in the event of their coming under Syrian Scud attack.” the report states, adding that on the opposite side the Syrian army has been scattering personnel, weapons and air assets to pre prepared fortified shelters in order to limit damage and losses.
“Syrian army command centers in Homs, Hama, Latakia and the Aleppo region were also being split up and dispersed, after a tip-off to Syrian and Russian intelligence that they would be targeted by the US strike.” the report adds.
The Associated Press also reports that Israel has ordered a special call-up of hundreds of reserve troops to beef up civil defense preparations and to operate air-defense units near the border. Defense officials have confirmed the deployment of Iron Dome and Patriot missile-defense batteries in areas near the Syrian border, stating that they believe a US strike on Syria is imminent.
Israeli security and rescue forces are also engaged in a two-day drill in the Golan Heights along the Syrian border.
The intelligence supposedly handed to the US and its allies suggesting that the Syrian army was involved in the chemical attacks last week is said to have come predominantly via Israeli intelligence agencies.
Meanwhile even firebrand broadcaster Glenn Beck has come out against intervention in Syria, warning that because of China and Russia’s alignment with Iran and Syria, a wider war in the middle east would mean that the US “would not survive”.
Beck warned that “this is World War 3 in the making,” noting the Obama administration is on the exact same destructive warpath that the Bush government set out on 12 years ago.
Beck desperately appealed to his conservative listener base to find common ground with real liberals and hold huge anti-war rallies.