And now Israel prepares for the inevitable response. The Washington Post reports “Israel’s military has deployed a rocket defense system to the north of the country following reported Israeli airstrikes in neighboring Syria targeting weapons believed to be destined for Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants.” The retaliation for Israel’s attack on Assad will not be long in coming. The only question is how heavy it will be.
Amos Harel at Haaretz says Israel, quite without its public becoming distinctly aware of it, is now facing a volatile situation on the northern border. The danger had been building up for a while, a fact obvious to all who were watching. But it never quite got the press attention it deserved.
It seems this kind of escalation between Israel and Syria has been simmering behind the scenes for quite some time. Over the past year, Bashar Assad’s regime has steadily been losing its hold in Syria. Assad’s loyalists are throwing everything they have into near-desperate attempts to save what is left of his regime — the capital, Damascus, the Alawite salient in northwestern Syria and the narrow corridor between them. Assad is highly dependent on Hezbollah’s aid in this fight. Perhaps because of that, he cannot really refuse when Hezbollah asks him to transfer arms into Lebanon — and the Lebanese allow this because they believe Assad cannot hold out much longer.
The bottom line is that Israel, after years of successfully standing aloof from the ‘Arab Spring’ has now finally been dragged into the fray. And it is extraordinarily perilous because there are lots of moving parts churning in this drama, few of whom are good, and some of whom are not even sane.