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Hmm?

You may have heard about an incident with Israeli aircraft did something in Syria on September 6th. This article from Counter Currents, Israel’s Air Raid On Syria: Another Threat To Iran, covers much of the reporting and speculation about the attack. [Note: I won’t guarantee that the article is anything more than raw speculation outside of the quotes from news sources.]

Syria has complained, but the Israeli government had maintained a strict “no comment” policy until Joe LIEberman’s party chairman, Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud], blabbed about it in a TV interview, apparently to prove he was relevant.

The most interesting bit in the Counter Currents article was something that I had seen earlier at Uggabugga, a comment by a Turkish officer about the use of external fuel tanks that supposedly ended up in Turkey when the Israelis jettisoned them after dropping their bomb loads in Syria.

If the tanks were in fact recovered in Turkey, the Israeli pilots would have flown 120 miles North after hitting their “target” in Dayr az-Zawr, which makes no sense. Truth be told, nothing about this incident makes sense unless it were a straight ahead test of Syrian air defense systems in preparation for an overflight.

The Syrians have purchased some new anti-aircraft equipment from Russia, which the Israelis may have wanted to test.

The garbage about a secret nuclear deal with North Korea, is just that. The North Koreans need hard cash, and the Syrians don’t have it, or the oil to produce it. The Russians can wait, the North Koreans can’t. With all of the Iraqis flooding into Syria, the Syrians don’t have time for silly games, especially at the largest Syrian settlement near the Iraq border.

2 comments

1 Badtux { 09.23.07 at 12:30 pm }

Speculation is that this was a test of ability to overfly the northeastern part of Syria in preparation for a strike upon Iran. Most of that part of Syria is unoccupied desert. 2/3rds of Syria’s population lives within 100 miles of Damascus, on the extreme other end of Syria, and that is where Syria’s air defenses are concentrated. Dropping the tanks is interesting. Those tanks would be dropped only if the jets came under fire or otherwise had reason to “clear the decks” for combat, and furthermore since a F-15 without the tanks has a combat radius of about 600 miles, they would have been dropped on the way back to Israel, not while still heading out towards wherever they went (and there’s no guarantee that they didn’t overfly Syria entirely and make it into Kurdistan on the way to Tehran before turning back, there’s no reason to believe Syria either when they claim that their anti-aircraft artillery forced the Israeli F-15’s to turn back).

My speculation is that this was part of a test of reaching Iran with IAF F-15’s. Note that the IAF has joint training arrangements with Turkey and thus can fly unarmed jets into Turkish territory as “training missions” (jets armed with active bombs and missiles, as vs. dummies, would be a bit of a problem), so if the F-15’s were fired upon or Israel’s AWACS out over the Mediterranean showed possible jet fighters on the way to intercept, they could dump their bombs, dump their tanks, and head over into Turkish territory as a safe haven. They were probably threading the border which would be why the tanks ended up in Turkish territory (bombs got dropped first). But Turkey obviously would not want Israel overflying their territory to attack Iran, it’d be the end of the treaty or else the heads of Turkish government officials would be displayed on the walls of Istambul, and Turkey gets a lot of goodies from Israel in exchange for the treaty (mostly technical help in keeping their own Air Force running and training for their pilots, since Israel is a leader in those fields). Do note that it would be possible for one of Israel’s tankers to slip into Kurdistan from Turkish territory without overflying hostile territory, as long as a “training exercise” was organized over Turkish territory at the same time.

In any event, I have no reason to believe the Syrians, but no reason to believe Joe “Iraqi WMD’s” Lieberman or the Israelis either. Given geopolitical realities in the area and Israel’s paranoia about Iranian nuclear weapons, preparation for a strike upon Iran appears to be the most likely explanation. And the ramifications of that… well, I just don’t want to think about it at the moment.

2 Bryan { 09.23.07 at 12:58 pm }

They may have seen the Russian radars finally turned on which should have set off their warning systems. The Syrians have been receiving mobile units from the Russians, probably as part of a naval basing agreement on the Med.

The Israeli media [Haaretz] is talking about Dayr as-Zwar, but that makes no sense, there is too much emptiness in eastern Syria to put anything near a town overrun with refugees. The Syrians have to assume that some of the “refugees” are spies.

The Israelis have to be planning to overfly Kurdistan, which isn’t going to make the Kurds happy, especially with the US going around “kidnapping” Iranian diplomats in Kurdistan. The Kurds have to live next door to Iran, and are attempting to normalize relations.

The new Turkish government is not going to be happy with the Israeli playing games, and they are working with the Kurds over oil, and the Iranians over Kurdish radicals.

The fuel tanks and bombing make no sense unless the Israelis saw something out there that caused concern. It wouldn’t be the worst place in Syria for a long range radar system.

It may have been a morale builder for Israel after the Hezbollah debacle, an attempt to imply the IDF is back.

Both sides are hiding something, and everything from the area falls under the general category of rumor, probable lie.

It would be nice to see the before and after satellite pictures of the area.