Well according to some in DC (them not me) are claiming that the scourge of ISIS has been eliminated…. these fighters may be dying at an alarming rate but the problems in this region are far from settled…..far from.
ISIS is now mostly gone, but the Syria War is actually getting substantially worse, with a series of new conflicts starting to erupt on several different fronts, and threatening a new round of chaos.
For one the Turks have now taken exception to the Kurds in Northern Syria and gone to war against them (US allies I might add)…..then the US kills a bunch of Russians in an airstrike in Syria…..and now Israel wants to flex its puny muscle in the region by attacking position is Southern Syria…..then there was a oops!…..
Israeli officials have been carrying out large-scale attacks against several military sites within Syria, claiming to have done major damage to Syria’s air defenses nationwide. The Israeli Air Force described the attack as the most significant attack on Syria since 1982.
But Syria’s air defenses were a bit more successful this time, and one of Israel’s F-16s managed to crash. Whether it was hit by an anti-aircraft missile or just took shrapnel damage, the warplane crashed in Israel, and one of the pilots was hurt.
Interestingly, almost all Israeli officials are presenting this to the public as an attack on Iran, as opposed to Syria, and are now calling all of the Syrian military bases that’ve been attacked are “Iranian bases.”
Some Israeli analysts are warning that this is a very dangerous rhetorical strategy, as Russian officials have been trying to calm the situation, and with Israel both continuing to escalate and making it about Iran, they may be pushing Russia into a more explicitly pro-Iran stance.
All this jockeying of troops has many asking the same question….is there a new war brewing in the Middle East? Another question being asked is…..what the Hell is Israel up to?
Historically: Israel’s approach to the Syrian war has largely been a hands-off one, and the Washington Post sees what happened this weekend as an indication that it may be about to get off the bench. Israel and Syria share a border, but not allies—Israel has issues with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah in addition to the Assad regime, but stayed largely uninvolved with the exception of small-scale, quietly carried out airstrikes against Hezbollah weapons installations in Syria. But as the seven-year war moves toward its end, Israel is bristling at what it sees as an apparent effort by Iran to establish military bases within Syria.
- What’s changed: ISIS, for one, observes the Post. “US- and Russian-backed forces had a common enemy” in ISIS, which has been defeated in the country. But rather than the temperature coming down, new conflicts are heating up. “Turkey, for example, recently launched its own offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria’s north, placing it in de facto opposition to the United States, which had allied itself with some Kurdish forces to defeat Islamic State forces.”
- The likelihood things will escalate: Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Rory Jones sees the potential for “another front line in war-torn Syria.” He notes the last time Israel lost a fighter jet was more than three decades ago. Israel’s “strong reaction illustrates how the competing aims of Iran and Israel could lead to a war between the two Mideast powers—as Tehran increases its military presence in Syria, a move Israel has warned it won’t allow.”
- Israel’s air prowess: The New York Times characterizes the downing of the F-16 (per the LA Times, from shrapnel, not a direct hit) as being viewed by Israel as “Saturday’s biggest surprise.” As Bashar al-Assad has gained strength, he has also in the last year been more willing and aggressive in using antiaircraft missiles against Israeli incursions into its airspace. But after so many decades unscathed, Israel had established itself as seemingly untouchable in the air. No more.
There are many thinking that Israel is lining up Lebanon for another incursion. As always they accuse Iran of everything that will garner approval for any action they take.
But will Israel actually go to war with Syria or Israel? I mean a declared war instead of across border raids that they are famous for committing. They will continue to thump their chest in macho bravado as long as the US is kissing their ass. I think in the long run that Israel would be alone and that will cool their jets (pun intended).
Israel is a regional bully….and you know what they say about bullies?