Syrian Rockets Aimed at Tel Aviv

[Ynet News] Ron Ben-Yishai - The latest IDF intelligence assessment is that Syria is not planning to attack Israel, at least not in the coming months. The accelerated preparations for war undertaken by the Syrian army recently are not aimed at launching an offensive, but rather stem from fears in Damascus that the IDF plans to attack Syria. The Syrian army has not fundamentally changed its deployment, which is still mostly defensive, vis-a-vis Israel. Yet this is not the complete picture. The truth is that there is no certainty within Israel's intelligence community that Syria is not planning to initiate a military confrontation with Israel. We're talking about a Hizbullah-style war - but on an immense scale. Syria is currently completing the accelerated deployment of a large rocket arsenal on the Golan aimed at Israel. We're not talking about Katyusha rockets with a few dozen kilograms of explosives, but rather heavy rockets that can carry hundreds of kilograms of explosives and can reach Tel Aviv. Dozens of launchers have already been deployed on the Golan and they can fire, in one barrage, hundreds of such rockets. This comes in addition to the various types of Scud missiles positioned deep within Syrian territory and capable of hitting southern Israel. The Arrow missile is supposed to intercept the Scuds. Yet at this time the IDF has no good technological response to the heavy rockets. The Syrian army is quickly equipping itself with hundreds of advanced anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets made by Russia and funded by Iran with the aim of thwarting an IDF ground or air assault - an assault aimed at paralyzing the missile arsenal. Since the end of last year, the Syrian army has accelerated the training of all its formations, both regular and reserve, and already views them as fit for confrontation. The military implication is that Syria is preparing and able to embark on a Hizbullah-style war of attrition even without changing its military deployment from defensive to offensive. Syria's president is currently confident of his military power and truly believes that if he only adopts the Hizbullah model, he has the ability to force Israel to accept his demands regarding the Golan Heights, and ease some of the international pressure over the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. A military achievement, even a partial one, in a confrontation with Israel may boost the regime internally. The Iranians tell the Syrians that President Bush intends to strike Iran in the summer or fall, and they expect Damascus to join Iran's counter-attack on Western interests in the region. Therefore, Teheran says, there is a need to prepare and possibly even launch a pre-emptive strike, before Israel possesses effective systems for intercepting rockets. Iranian figures who visited Syria convinced Damascus that the Israeli home front is the Zionist enemy's Achilles heel and that hitting it gravely would force Israel to accept Arab dictates on the Golan. A senior Syrian official told the New York Sun about a month ago: Should the Golan not be in Syrian hands by August-September, Syria would be allowed to embark on a "resistance" campaign, including raids and attacks on Jewish targets. His words make it appear that Syria is planning a war of attrition that would start with border attacks and continue, after the IDF responds, with severe blows to the Israeli home front.

2007-08-10 01:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive