WW4 File: Syria, Iran vow retaliation against Israel for airstrike over Syria; Ba’athist regime insists Israeli warplanes hit “scientific research facility” near Damascus, US officials say IAF took out Hezbollah-bound weapons convoy, MK close to PM Netanyahu cagey on Israel’s involvement; Syria feared Israeli nuclear counterstrike after 2007 IAF operation

News Highlights

– Syria, Iran Vow Retaliation against Israel after IAF Strikes Military Target in Syria (source)

– Hezbollah Denounces “Barbaric Aggression,” Russia Condemns “Unprovoked Attacks” (source)

OUTW: Debate swirls in the news media and blogosphere concerning reasons for large Russian warship presence in Syrian waters: 1) evacuate Russian citizens, 2) deliver munitions to embattled Ba’athist regime in Damascus, 3) provide secure floating base for President Assad, and/or 4) deter NATO ground invasion of Syria.

– Russian Warships Transporting Munitions to Syrian Port of Tartus, Identity of Recipients Unclear (source)

– Excerpts from London’s Asharq Al-Awsat (source):

“A Russian naval task force is reportedly sailing into the Mediterranean this weekend for exercises with a mix of political and strategic aims linked to the crisis in Syria. Consisting of five battleships, the force could be used to evacuate Russian citizens in Syria in case Damascus falls.”

“According to sources in Moscow, Russia has already seized effective control of the Syrian port of Tartus.”

“Reports of an Iranian naval participation in the exercise have not been confirmed, although Iran maintains a token presence in Tartus. This consists of around 400 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) naval combat units armed with small assault boats.”

– Russian Foreign Ministry Denies Assad and Family Living on Russian Warship in Mediterranean Sea (source)

– Russia Begins Evacuation of Citizens from Syria, 80 Expatriates Airlifted from Beirut to Moscow after Bus Trip from Syria (source)

– Washington Quietly Requests Turkey and Jordan to Monitor and, if Necessary, “Manage” Syria’s Chemical Arsenal Should Assad Regime Fall (source)

– Flashback: IAF Destroys Syrian Nuclear Reactor in September 2007, Damascus Eschews Military Response, Fearing Israeli Nuclear Counterstrike (source)

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2 responses to “WW4 File: Syria, Iran vow retaliation against Israel for airstrike over Syria; Ba’athist regime insists Israeli warplanes hit “scientific research facility” near Damascus, US officials say IAF took out Hezbollah-bound weapons convoy, MK close to PM Netanyahu cagey on Israel’s involvement; Syria feared Israeli nuclear counterstrike after 2007 IAF operation

  1. Dov January 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    What worries me most is the mention of a lone MIG-31 flying a profile through Sinai towards Israel, then turning to the Med and departing. This could very well be a practice run for Russian aircrew to practice launching something. Debka did not say which variant of the MIG-31 that did this but they can launch ASAT and even satellites; they could surely use this to launch something that would take out Iron Dome that the Israeli’s recently moved to the northern borders. It would have been Russian aircrew flying it, so this could indicate a greater superpower involvement. The Israelis would not be too worried about a lone Mig, and now the pilot and back seater may have already rehearsed their run. The next few days between now and Monday will be critical.

    • periloustimes1 January 31, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Hi Dov. I have appreciated your comments in the past. I am familiar with the article you referenced. Still, I’m not sure what to think about this Debka story.

      I’m no military expert. However, the only way Russia could fly one of its Cold War-era MiG-31s over the Sinai Peninsula would be if the plane was based on the Russian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. According to the Russia media, Admiral Kuznetsov was in the vicinity of Syria four weeks ago and could still very well be lurking about in the E. Mediterranean.

      But, according to Wikipedia, Admiral Kuznetsov’s aircraft inventory includes Russia’s more advanced fighters, such as the MiG-29K and Sukhoi Su-33. Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, there are no regional powers in the Middle East that use the MiG-31.

      Maybe the report was inaccurate and what was meant was in fact one of Russia’s more recent combat warplanes.

      Watching and waiting.

      http://www.debka.com/article/22724/Russia-slams-Israeli-attack-on-Syria-US-forces-in-Jordan-on-alert

      http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=791_1357254740

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