Act of War: Israel Attacks Syrian Weapons Depot Containing Advanced Russian Arms

latakia arms depot explosionGlobal Research – by Richard Silverstein

A massive explosion last Thursday at a major Syrian weapons depot in Latakia, not far from the main port of Tartus, completely destroyed the facility and munitions stored there.

Tartus is Syria’s main port.  It is largely controlled by the Russian military, and the route by which all weapons transported by sea would enter Syria.  As such, any advanced Russian weaponry would enter via Tartous and might be stored in the Latakia depot.   

Though the Free Syrian Army took immediate credit for the attack, it was not the responsible party.

A confidential Israeli source informs me that Israeli forces attacked the site.  The target were components of Russia’s SA-300 anti-aircraft missile system which had been shipped by Russia to Tartus and stored in Latakia.

Israel and exerted tremendous pressure on Vladimir Putin to cancel its contract to supply the missile batteries to Syria, since once they were operational they would render Israeli aircraft more vulnerable to attack.  Israel, of course, will countenance no front-line state having even defensive weapons which give it superiority over Israeli weapons systems.  In response to Israeli entreaties, Russia’s leader refused to budge and recommitted to providing the weapons to Assad.  Apparently, he’d begun to follow through on his promise with these first shipments.

This is Israel’s third attack inside Syria since January.  It considerably escalates the conflict there since it is the first known attack by Israeli forces which destroyed Russian armaments.  Though Putin was surely warned by Israel that this would happen if he went forward with the arms deal, actually attacking Russian munitions is an act to which Putin will not take kindly, to say the least.

Assad bragged publicly a month ago that the SA-300 deliveries had arrived.  Turns out he was right.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have shot his mouth off.

Ilatakia arms depot attacksrael’s Channel 10 aired a claim by Syria rebels that Israel attacked and Israel journalists tell their viewers that they know things they’re not allowed to tell.  A clear indication of Israeli involvement.  Haaretz reports that a Syrian army source called the explosion the result of a technical failure, which hardly seems credible.

My source further notes that the FSA coordinated with the IDF and launched a rocket attack on nearby government military installations in order to distract loyalist forces from the real target.  But the rebels played no role in the attack on the munitions cache.  Their claim of responsibility conveniently takes Israel off the hook (until people read this report) and lessens pressure or condemnation on Israel for its third major attack inside Syria since January.

It’s all the stranger that Haaretz’s Amos Harel, in writing about the incident would write this:

“Israel wasn’t mentioned in connection with Thursday’s incident in Latakia.  It doesn’t intervene in events in Syria.”

Apparently, Israelis believe that “intervention” means invading the country with boots on the ground.  When it sends its jet planes to bomb Syrian targets inside the country, that’s not considered intervention.  This is further evidence of Israeli delusions and self-denial about their level of interference in the affairs of frontline Arab states.  Such refusal to acknowledge Israel’s real role allows Israelis to believe falsely they’re innocent bystanders, sometimes even victims (!) in the affairs in the region.

How does Harel think Israel coordinated the FSA diversionary attack near Latakia?  With smoke signals?

No, Israeli intelligence has created a tacit alliance with the rebels who serve Israel’s interests when Assad acts in ways Israel believes will harm it.  Hezbollah’s role in the Qusayr fight may have caused alarm in the Israeli defense ministry, which may’ve seen this as further evidence of escalation inside Syria.  If Israel could take Hezbollah down a peg or two after its victory taking the Syria town on Assad’s behalf, it would be eager to do so.  In this sense, the Syrian civil war is a proxy battle between Israel and Hezbollah who are itching for their next direct confrontation (the last one being in 2006).

Israel launched a very similar raid several months ago on the Sudanese capital Khartoum, in which it destroyed a major government arms depot.  It’s known that Iran ships its weapons to Hamas and Syria via ports on the Arabian Sea, from where they’re shipped via Sudan to points north.  Again, Israel has sucked countries throughout the region into the vortex of its own conflict with the Palestinians.  If this doesn’t prove that this conflict is a major destabilizing force in the region, nothing will.

The area attacked is in the Alawite heartland of northwestern Syria.  As such, Assad would think of it as one of his most secure bastions.  Violating it as Israel has done would be meant to show Assad that he has no sanctuary from which to hide and serve as a psychological blow.  At least, Israel would hope to convey such a message.

Haaretz’s Hebrew edition reports that Israel may’ve chosen this time to attack because the attention of the international media was focussed on the Egyptian coup, which served as a convenient distraction.

Another factor to keep in mind is that the recent assistance that Hezbollah offered to Assad in sending 4,000 fighters to subdue the strategic town of Qusayr would come with a price.  Hezbollah would not be shy is extracting its share of the bargain, which would certainly involve transshipment of advanced Iranian or Russian weaponry via Syria to Lebanon, where the Lebanese militia would use it against Israel in any future military confrontation.

Another possibility is that Russia, which recently confirmed that it would honor its contract with Assad calling for delivery of the SA-300 anti-aircraft system.  It’s possible Russia had begun shipping components of these missile batteries to Assad.

This site speculates that Israel used cruise missiles launched from its German-built Dolphin submarines to destroy the complex.  If true, it would mean that German built advanced armaments were being used by Israel in a pre-emptive attack violating the territorial sovereignty of another Mideast country.  Though Israel could just as easily have used its own air force to do the job.

2 thoughts on “Act of War: Israel Attacks Syrian Weapons Depot Containing Advanced Russian Arms

  1. If this is true, Israel might just have dropped the ball here if you cast back to what Putin said about Russian personnel being with Assad’s S300’s at all times, if this is the case then likely Russians were killed in this attack and we will know soon enough when Russia punishes Israel in the coming week or so.

    But we are in a game of second and third level guessing here, I cannot for a moment think that Assad’s quite strident and bold claims about the S300 were not made without approval from Putin and again we are up against the chessmaster versus the draughts player, the Israeli’s might have blown “something up”, it could be a blind by Putin and Assad to let the Israeli’s think Syria cannot defend itself, lulling the west into a false sense of security and ending up being obliterated when they find out the hard way is the Israelis blew up a warehouse of ordnance, old shells and crates and their F16’s falling out the sky teaching them that to play with Putin means you should be playing the same game.

    I am always, always in mind of that uncorroborated story, leaked by someone in the Kremlin where a certain Israeli leader, offering Putin a carrot of stolen gold or stick of terrorism, even nuclear terrorism and Putin physically ejecting said leader and the weekend after or so Moscow airport blowing up, if I read the signs right, Putin knows the US will growl and spit at little countries like Iraq and Syria for Israel but would America commit suicide by stepping up to the plate for Israel if Russia did punish Israel? America is very good at remembering some promises and not others, if you remember Suez as a great example, America turned on its sworn allies fearing British and Israeli fighting would draw NATO into a nuclear war with Nasser’s Soviet allies and pulled the carpet out from the expeditionary forces there.

    In another sort of related issue, I wonder if Israel isn’t going to be soon beset with a new problem, that of losing Morsi in Egypt who continued the Israeli-US position of enclosing Palestine at its borders with Egypt, El Baradei is not a tool of the “west” and very much someone who just might open up the borders and it could be that Putin seeing this on the cards might just send a few shipments of SAM’s and anti-tank weapons their way, now that would really cause some difficulties and it might just force Israel to defend itself from three to five fronts

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