PAT BUCHANAN: US being sucked into Syria's war?

Marie Harrington
February 14, 2018

It claimed last Saturday to have shot down an Iranian drone that had entered its airspace-then launched a bombing raid in revenge.

Iranian media close to the leadership in Tehran has focused on the shooting down of the Israeli warplane by Syrian air defences, with one paper declaring it "the end of secure skies for the Zionist regime in Syria". Syria claims the drone was simply on a routine mission against the Islamic State.

Russian Federation has been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with air forces and troops in that country's civil war since 2015. Iran could very well be setting up shop in Syria as the security situation there turns decidedly from dealing with ISIS to determining who will dominate this strategic Middle Eastern country.

The Syrian government has warned the Israeli military of "more surprises" should Tel Aviv commit any further acts of aggression against the Arab country plagued by foreign-sponsored militancy. Russian news reports said Tuesday that an unknown number of private military contractors from Russia were among the dead, illustrating the risks foreign forces face on Syria's crowded battlefields. This way Iran can control Damascus and use Syria as a forward base to put pressure on Israel but pay "wholesale", not "retail".

Indeed, a quick look at the map shows that, if successful, Iran would have influence over of a big chunk of the Middle East, allowing Shiite, Persian Iran to threaten more Sunni Arab states and almost encircle American ally, Israel.

ICG senior analyst Ofer Zalzberg told AFP following the latest confrontation that it increased the chances of war over the longer term.

"We are concerned at the Iranian actions, which detract from efforts to get a genuine peace process under way", Johnson said in a statement. "Not because of the incident itself necessarily but because we are seeing that the parties are now taking more assertive stances". Most of the missiles fired at the Israeli planes were of Russian manufacture, the IDF said Saturday night, with the missile that hit the Israeli fighter jet an older version of a missile. The military also says it struck Iranian targets in Syria that launched the drone.

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That puts Russian Federation and the USA on a possible collision course if a more serious clash flares up between Damascus, backed by its Iranian ally, and Israel.

While Putin continues to back many Iranian interests, the Kremlin is also making infrastructure and oil supply deals with Iran's archrivals in Saudi Arabia. "Iran can create a hell for the Zionist regime of Israel", Salami said.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has pounded a dozen targets in Syria and one of its own fighter jets crashed under anti-aircraft fire, sparking fears it may wade deeper into the conflict.

"Both sides understand, to a degree, that no one is going to come out on top in war".

Iran´s involvement in Syria, including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat and has mounted regular attacks into Syria.

"It's unclear to me if Iran is really calling the shots here", said Blumenthal. Instead, Putin is using Iran to provide ground forces and enlisting contractors, like those Cossacks from a private Russian company named Wagner, to fight and die - as dozens did the other day in a USA airstrike - on the ground. "Several people were wounded on both sides but as of now, there are no further casualties".

Another unanswered question: "Why does the media spend so much time investigating flawed individuals while supporting flawed policies that spend too much money on war machines and spend too little money on the peaceful resolution of crises?"

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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