Iran's presence in Syria on Syrians' invitation

Iran's presence in Syria on Syrians' invitation

Over the weekend an Israeli F-16 was gunned down as it returned from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria early on Saturday, an official in Damascus said. Israel immediately responded by sending a second wave of aircraft that bombed Syrian air defense sites and more Iranian bases.

Indeed, a quick look at the map shows that, if successful, Iran would have influence over of a big chunk of the Middle East, allowing Shiite, Persian Iran to threaten more Sunni Arab states and almost encircle American ally, Israel.

He further said, "God willing they will see more surprises whenever they try to attack Syria".

The Saturday statement on Central Military Media, which is allied with the Syrian military, called a subsequent Israeli attack on a drone station in Syria's central Homs province a "terrorist act", warning of "a tough and serious response".

On the visit, Liberman said that Israel was doing its best to avoid war, as per a conversation Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday. How far can Israel go? "And I would like to paraphrase the well-known saying: 'This is not the time to bark, this is the time to bite'". And the possibility becomes much more probable that the cycle of the steps and countersteps could lead to an open escalation.

But the government is at the same time backing the tribal militias who have been attacking the USA -allied Kurds and their US advisers in eastern Syria. In addition, there are roughly a few hundred Iranian experts from the Revolutionary Guards and Quds forces.

"We commend the Syrian response to the Israeli aggression".

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The Syrian government controls the biggest chunk of territory, with over half the country at least under nominal control of Assad loyalists, backed by Russian Federation and Iran. Whilst Assad welcomes Russia's presence, he (Assad) needs Iran as a partner to provide regional legitimacy, particularly in the Muslim world. Therefore, Iran is free to advance its own interests: building bases in Syrian territory that may later be used against Israel and integrating Iranian forces into the structure of the Syrian army and advancing them later to the border of Israel.

Russian Federation has been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with air forces and troops in that country's civil war since 2015. It mounts air strikes in Syria on a regular basis, striking suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group. The Syrians were effective in blocking these Iranian attempts. The Iranian people staged massive protests at the turn of the year, calling for not only and end to Iran's efforts in Syria, but also regime change. But whether Russian Federation can really control the conflict moving forward remains to be seen, and surely serious discussions are underway in Moscow regarding last Saturday's events.

This is a continuation of Moscow's public policy of taking the Arab side when it comes to diplomacy involving Israel.

"The United States and the coalition forces that are working with us to defeat (Islamic State) today control 30 percent of the Syrian territory, and control a large amount of population, and control a large amount of Syria's oil fields", he told reporters. Moreover, even if war starts between Israel and Iran, these two will not be able to dictate the outcome of the Syrian crisis, and they know it.

Are there options for the Europeans to mediate?

A Western diplomat in the region said: "My impression is that it seems to be contained at this point. It's just a matter of sobriety", Cohen said, "and both sides understand there's really nothing to be gained". Across its borders, Israel now faces Iranian commandos and allied forces, including the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement and some of the most powerful Iraqi Shiite militias that challenged US troops in Iraq a decade ago.

What outcome would justify another USA war in a region where all the previous wars in this century have left us bleeding, bankrupt, divided and disillusioned? I, too, am concerned that too many questions are deliberately left unanswered by the media, like "Why do we feel obliged to help rebels maintain control over Syrian oil fields stolen from the Syrians by rebels (once called ISIS) and drop bombs killing 100 Syrian troops who killed no one?"

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