Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Israel Shifting Strategies To Prepare For Long Term Russian Presence In Region

Israel's December 7th use of long range, surface-to-surface missiles to strike a military airport inside Syria indicates a dangerous change in the tense dynamic of the Middle East. 

The fact that Israel attacked a military target inside Syria shouldn't surprise anyone. A week before, reports indicate that Israeli bombers struck two Hezbollah weapons conveys within Syria and as recently as 2007, Israel bombed a Syrian government nuclear site. 

There is no doubt that Israel is willing, and has been compelled, to defend its existence with military force. But what sets this attack apart is the use of surface-to-surface missiles rather than bombers.

Simply put, the Russian presence in the skies over Syria and their air defense systems have elevated the risk for manned flights from Israel. The cost of a single guided missile with a range of over 25 miles is greater than the cost of a precision munition dropped from an F-16, even considering the cost of fuel for the aircraft. 

But it isn't more costly when considering the danger posed to the pilot, the fighter jet or the risk of starting a war should Israeli planes engage with Russian jets and anti-air batteries.

Israeli military commentator Ben-Yishai was quoted as saying, "Had Israel launched planes to carry out the mission, they would not have had to enter Syrian territory to hit the air base and could have simply flown over the sea or over Lebanese territory. 

But the sensitive and long-range radars, which the Russians brought to Syria when they entered the fray, would have been able to detect the presence of Israel Air Force planes in the area. 

It's even possible that the Russians would have warned the Syrian antiaircraft batteries which, according to reports, have already tried to hit Israeli planes as they embarked on missions to stop Hezbollah from arming itself." 

It is this coordination of Russian and Syrian forces that has raised cause for concern, together with the presence of Russian S-400, S-300 and SA-23 surface-to-air missile systems now employed in Syria. READ MORE