Israel launches missile strike against Syria

Following the re-election of Barack Obama in last week’s US presidential poll, Washington and its allies have stepped up their war drive against Syria. In the most serious escalation of the 20-month conflict in the Middle East country, the Israeli armed forces fired a missile into Syrian territory Sunday.

The strike, by an advanced Tammuz guided missile, is the first acknowledged attack by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israeli warplanes struck the site of an alleged Syrian nuclear project in 2007, but neither regime ever officially confirmed the action.

The Israeli missile reportedly struck a Syrian army base, though the government in Damascus has not released any details of the damage caused.

The IDF strike was reportedly carried out in response to a Syrian mortar that landed in the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Nobody was reported killed or injured by what appears to have been a misdirected 120mm Syrian tank shell.

A statement issued by the IDF shortly after the Tammuz missile struck Syrian territory claimed, “IDF forces fired warning shots and relayed a message to the Syrian forces via the United Nations that warns against additional fire. Additional fire will prompt a quick response.”

The IDF acknowledged that eight Syrian shells had fallen within the Israeli-controlled section of the Golan Heights over the past two months, likely the inadvertent result of fighting between Syrian government forces and “rebel” fighters, without any military response from the IDF.

While Israel appears to have turned a blind eye to errant Syrian shells in the weeks leading up to the US election, the decision by the IDF to launch a strike now indicates that Washington and its allies are entering into a new phase of their conflict with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Further evidence of a shift toward open conflict between the major powers and the Syrian regime was provided by General Sir David Richards, Britain’s Chief of the Defence Staff, who on Sunday revealed to the BBC that plans were in place for a military intervention by British forces into Syria.

General Richards told BBC television’s Andrew Marr Show that he expected the humanitarian crisis in Syria to worsen over the winter, which would increase pressure to “intervene in a limited way.”

Source and full story: World Socialist Web Site, 12 Nov 2012

Tom Sullivan