Israeli warplanes struck a military base near the Syrian port city of Latakia this week, an Obama administration official told CNN on Thursday.
An explosion at a missile storage site in the area was reported in the Middle Eastern press, but an attack has not been confirmed by the Israeli government.
The target, according to the Obama administration official, was missiles and related equipment the Israelis felt might be transferred to the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.
There was some confusion about the timing of the attack, with some reports saying it happened Wednesday, and others saying Thursday.
When asked for comment, an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman told CNN: "We don't refer to foreign reports."Israel's Haaretz newspaper claims in its article, "Report: Israel destroyed Hezbollah-bound missile shipment in Syria," that:
According to the unnamed source, the strike targeted a shipment of missiles and related equipment Israeli intelligence estimated were to be transferred to Hezbollah.
Earlier on Thursday, citing anonymous sources, Al-Arabiya carried a similar report.
It said that the strikes targeted an SA-8 surface-to-air missile shipment for Hezbollah and that the two targets were destroyed.
"Israel appears to have done extensive planning and practice for such a strike already, and its aircraft are probably already based as close to Iran as possible. as such, Israel might be able to launch the strike in a matter of weeks or even days, depending on what weather and intelligence conditions it felt it needed. Moreover, since Israel would have much less of a need (or even interest) in securing regional support for the operation, Jerusalem probably would feel less motivated to wait for an Iranian provocation before attacking. In short, Israel could move very fast to implement this option if both Israeli and American leaders wanted it to happen.Barring actual retaliation from Iran, or in the most recent attack, from Syria, fabricated threats could be used in its place. Israel and its US and Saudi partners are most likely probing in preparation for future attacks. Having categorically failed to sell internationally-backed intervention in Syria, and with the West's terrorist proxies waning inside of Syria, unilateral military intervention is the only viable option left for toppling the Syrian government - a long planned US-Saudi-Israeli objective.
However, as noted in the previous chapter, the airstrikes themselves are really just the start of this policy. Again, the Iranians would doubtless rebuild their nuclear sites. They would probably retaliate against Israel, and they might retaliate against the United States, too (which might create a pretext for American airstrikes or even an invasion)." -page 91, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.
"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda."
Additionally, Saudi Arabian officials mentioned the careful balancing act their nation must play in order to conceal its role in supporting US-Israeli ambitions across the region. Saudi concerns reveal just why Israel is currently being used to carry out "unilateral" attacks against Syria (emphasis added):"The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations."
"The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”"That an Israeli attack on Syria goes almost unreported - considering the hysteria that would unfold had it instead been Syria bombing cities in Israel - illustrates just how well Israel has played its part over the years as well as the silent complicity exhibited by the United Nations in failing to condemn cross-border Israeli aggression that would not be tolerated from any other nation.
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