Thursday, February 22, 2007

It was the summer of '73

This would have been deja vu for me if I had been alive at the time, but in the summer of 1973, Syria was amassing troops, tanks, and anti-aircraft missiles. Israel at the time thought to themselves, "Those crazy arabs, what are they up to now?" Israel didn't believe Syria would have the stones to attack Israel. Israel was wrong. Today, Syria is doing the exact same thing as in '73, with an added funding partner - Iran (Russia has been at it non-stop). Additional details of Syria's buildup are in the linked Haaretz news article.
Peretz urges Israel to avoid verbal escalation with Syria
Responding to a Haaretz report that Syria is boosting its army and moving troops closer to its border with Israel, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Thursday that Israel should refrain from making further statements regarding Syria, and urged officials to avoid a verbal escalation of tensions.

Speaking at his weekly meeting with Defense Ministry officials, Peretz said that the situation would be assessed based on concrete information, and that the army would prepare itself as necessary.

Earlier Thursday, Israel Radio quoting Syrian parliament member Mohammed Habash as denying the Haaretz report. According to the radio, Habash told the Dubai-based Al Arabiya satellite channel that nothing has changed in terms of troop size along the border, but "Syria is fully prepared for any situation [that may develop]."

Habash warned that should "Israel decide to do something stupid, it would pay a heavy price."

Addressing the charge that Syria's military buildup is being funded by Iran, the radio quoted Habash as saying that the "cooperation between Damascus and Tehran is no secret, as both are being faced with a direct threat."

The Syrian armed forces are being strengthened in an unprecedented way in recent memory with the help of generous funding from Iran and its troops appear to be moving closer to the border with Israel.

The Syrians are bolstering their forces in all areas except the air force, which has been believed to be weak for some time. The main emphasis of the efforts has been missiles and long-range rockets to compensate for the weak air force.


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