Israel contemplates pre-emptive strike on Syria

Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, has ordered the country’s military to plan for a series of pre-emptive strikes on Scud missile sites and suspected weapons of mass destruction in Syria. The current rebellion against the Bashar Al-Assad regime is believed to have reached a dangerous phase, while concerns over the dangerous weapon stockpiles and delivery systems has been a constant concern. According to local media, Israel Defense Forces have increased its surveillance of military bases across Syria, a traditional enemy, such as insurgents have overrun some military and government installations.

U.S. and Israeli intelligence suggest that some of the rebel groups, that are affiliated with the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, have entered Syria via Iraq. As the possibility looms that fanatical Muslim terrorist may soon possess tactical missiles and weapons of mass destruction, Defense Minister Barak confirmed that Israel is closely watching the events and may be forced to take pre-emptive action should the situation deteriorate further.

Sources in Israel suggest that the IDF is planning for two possible scenarios: Should defecting or retreating Syrian government forces transfer advanced Scud missiles and/or chemical weapons to the Hizbullah terrorist organization, which has been cooperating with Assad’s forces, Israel would attack targets to prevent the transfers. In a second scenario, should al Qaeda terrorist secure either a chemical weapons facility or Scud missile base, then Israel would attack.

 There are media reports in Israel that the United Nations and the U.S. have expressed concerns to leaders of the Syrian insurgents about Al Qaeda’s operation in Syria. Reportedly, the White House and CIA have allegedly told Defense Minister Barak that it would be almost impossible for elite ground and air forces to find and destroy all of Assad’s widely dispersed WMD facilities.

Israeli media also reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, are seeking to determine the means to attack Syria’s dangerous missiles and WMD stockpile with risking a widening war with Syria and Hisbullah. The Israeli government and military establishment have expressed concerns that President Assad (and Iran) may wish to embark on war with Israel and thus divert insurgents’ attention away from his regime.  Under this scenario, the Sunni anti-Assad rebels would attack Iran’s Hizbullah-allied Shiite forces in retaliation for their direct involvement in the massacre of innocent Syrian civilians.

Israel is not taking any chances. The country’s Homefront Command is preparing for the mass evacuation of Israelis from northern and central Israel. In case of a significant missile attack against Haifa, Netanya and Tel Aviv, citizens would be evacuated to hotels, public buildings and tent cities at Eilat and the Jordan Valley.
 



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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