You’re to be forgiven if you’ve opened your browser to good ole’ Hot Gas this morning and think you’ve stepped into a scene from Groundhog Day. Israel bombed Syria? Didn’t we just cover this yesterday? Yes… yes we did. But this is the other bombing that happened overnight.
BEIRUT — Israeli warplanes bombed the outskirts of Damascus early Sunday for the second time in recent days, according to Syrian state media and reports from activists, signaling a sharp escalation in tensions between the neighboring countries that had already been exacerbated by the conflict raging in Syria.
Videos posted on the Internet by activists showed a huge fireball erupting on Mount Qassioun, a landmark hill overlooking the capital on which the Syrian government has deployed much of the firepower it is using against rebel-controlled areas surrounding the city.
Of course, Assad is saying that Israel is now engaged in a war with Syria and reports indicate he plans on declaring war on Israel shortly in return. It’s hard to imagine that Israel is terribly concerned about that this week, though, since Assad’s dance card currently seems to be pretty full. (Not to mention the fact that we can hope he’s still sane enough to realize that an outright military attack on Israel would serve as the perfect excuse for everyone else to immediately launch a ground war against him and get this mess over with once and for all.) But of course, Israel is playing it close to the vest and still doesn’t seem inclined to intervene in Assad’s business with his own people.
Instead, they’re noting that Syria continues to try to ship weapons – probably from Iran – to Hezbollah, and they’re not having any part of it.
Likud lawmaker and former Defense Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi stopped short Sunday morning of confirming that Israel had hours earlier struck Syrian targets for a second time in days, but warned that Israel would not tolerate a situation in which Hezbollah profited from the civil war currently raging within Syria.
A Western intelligence source said Israel carried out the air strike early Sunday, in an attack that shook Damascus with a series of powerful blasts and drove columns of fire into the night sky. Israel declined to comment, but Syria accused it of carrying out a raid on a military facility just north of the capital.
The coverage of this story that’s been coming from CNN and NBC this morning has been puzzling to say the least. The number one question I’m hearing being asked is, in various forms, “What does this mean for the United States? Does this put more pressure on Obama to act against Syria?”
That seems a bit off topic, doesn’t it? Obama’s interest, if any, is in the internal war Assad has going on with his own people. This doesn’t appear to be any sort of effort by Israel to depose or kill Syria’s embattled leader. They’re wiping out weapons before they wind up in the hands of people who have every intention of using them against Israel. And even if we were to ignore the motive behind the strikes, do any of these media geniuses really think the President is going to get up in the morning, read the paper and say, “Oh! Israel bombed Syria? I’d better get in on this action too!”
I’m fully prepared to be proven wrong, but I don’t see these actions changing much, if anything, in terms of the current standoff between Assad and the rebels. And I highly doubt that Syria will try to mount an actual ground offensive against Israel. Assad’s blustering about war will, I’m guessing, turn out to be just that… bluster.