Source: By Richard Silverstein Posted Monday, Jan.27, 2014
Israeli media are reporting (Hebrew and now in English) an attack on Syria’s missile infrastructure in the port city of Latakia. It is Syria’s main port where it receives all weapons that arrive by sea.
Russia, one of Bashar al-Assad’s main military patrons sends much of his missile systems via Latakia, which explains why this is at least Israel’s third attack. The first attack, first reported here last July as Israeli in origin, was supposed to have wiped out the Russian Yakhont anti-ship missile system.
However, Israel had coordinated the attack with the FSA, and an informer planted by the regime warned Assad of the it. Most of the weapons components were removed before the Israeli air force attacked. Thus, an Israeli triumph turned to ashes.
We still do not know what Israel’s target was. My Israeli source will only confirm reports attributed to the rebels that Israel was responsible for the attack. He’s contacted a military-intelligence official who told him jokingly, the latter wouldn’t say anything further about the attack since:
“Anyway, the Americans will leak it in a day or two.
If you get your news solely from Haaretz (and you wouldn’t if you’re reading this), you’ll read this bit of nonsense from Amos Harel:
…There are serious doubts as to whether Israel in fact carried out the attack.
He supports this claim by arguing that if the report was true the U.S. would’ve leaked the information by now. What he neglects is that the U.S. usually waits a day or two before doing so.
Since the attack just happened, the U.S. isn’t likely to respond immediately. Not to mention that it’s slightly distracted by two sets of Geneva peace talks: the Iran nuclear negotiations and Syria talks.
UPDATE: Kol Yisrael (Israel State radio) reports:
A member of the Syrian opposition says warehouses containing Russian missiles were attacked in Latakia tonight. In a conversation with our reporter, Eran Singer, the man claimed the targets suffered a direct hit and, in his words, Israeli planes had attacked them.
Returning to the goal of the mission, these same rebels are saying that the goal was to neutralize SA-300 missile launchers. At this point, this is mere speculation. But it certainly would be what Israeli intelligence would want you to think.
There is dispute among experts about whether Assad has one of Russia’s most advanced weapons system; and if he does, whether it’s operable.
The timing of this attack is curious: world powers are now meeting in Geneva to find a way to resolve the Syrian civil war. The U.S. is working hard to broker a deal between the regime and opposition.
Israel opposes Assad and has thrown in its lot both with the rebels and their Gulf allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This is due to Assad’s alliance with Israel’s sworn enemy, Iran.