Saturday, 26 May, 2018

Israel army reservists called up by mistake

AFP  Menahem Kahana Thousands of Reservists Mistakenly Called Up This Morning for Independence Day War
Charlie Simmons | 20 April, 2018, 01:38

Once the drone was shot down, the IAF immediately attacked Iran's drone command and control unit which was based at the same T-4 military airport that was bombed Monday. Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons.

Iranian military forces, however, are already entrenching themselves in Syrian bases within striking distance of Israeli towns.

According to officials within Tehran's establishment, including military leaders, Iran is now in the process of putting together a response plan to deliver Israel a blow.

If true, that suggests that the Quds Force - commanded by Iran's military mastermind Qassem Suleimani - was trying to launch an actual military strike on Israel. The target of the drone is still unclear.

What both analysts agree on, however, is that the strikes serve as a reminder to the west's absolute rejection of Iran's presence in Syria and the threat it poses to Israel's security and existence.

Yossi Kuperwasser, the former head of research at the Israeli Defense Force's military intelligence division, said Israel could use worldwide help in reining in Iran. We have no other option.

That's why Israel is now confronting Iran in Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a regular visitor to Moscow, while his defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whose native language is Russian, had an even longer-standing relationship with the Kremlin leadership.

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Some reservists said they only received the second message, but not the original instruction to report to their bases.

Yossi Kuperwasser, former director-general of Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said that conflict between the two countries is not necessarily inevitable.

American paper cites anonymous officer who says Israel acted to contain Iranian efforts to establish bases in Syria, but later amends report to reflect IDF's official position. Putin and Rouhani share an interest in Syria quieting down now, and not becoming a financial drain or a military quagmire - by Suleimani turning it into an arena for a direct war with Israel.

Israel has bombed Syrian sites several times in the course of the country's civil war.

If/when the United States punishes Syria for the chemical weapons attack, it probably won't be through an Air Force bombing but, like the April 2017 attack, with Tomahawk cruise missiles, positing less danger to American heroes than bombing sorties.

On Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for "offensive plans against the enemy", without specifically naming Israel.

Within hours of the attack, a consensus of talking heads and internet commentators concluded that it was Israel that bombed a Syrian military base.

Israel is understood to have launched strikes over 100 times in Syria since 2012. While the USA and its worldwide partners punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons against civilians, Israel is increasingly concerned about Iranian operations in Syria.

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