By Steve Brown
Take it as given that Israel tends to operate behind the scenes and would prefer to influence affairs covertly rather than overtly, so when Israel admits to resuming air strikes vs Syria and Iraq that’s worth a look.
Israel has resumed air strikes on Syria and Iraq, claiming to strike Iranian military emplacements in both countries. Perhaps significantly, the Israeli strikes have resumed just subsequent to serious setbacks for terrorist militias in Idlib and Hama; where Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al Sham, al Nusra, the NLF, and many other terrorist groups are based and backed by the US, Turkey, and Israel.
One basis for hope to end foreign adventurism in Syria was the liberation of Khan Sheikhoun, which cut a major terrorist supply route between Hama and Idlib. Considering the Syrian forces in that region, it would be logical for the IAF to strike there, however the New York Times reported Israeli bombing in the vicinity of al Aqraba which is in southern Damascus (and unlikely to have been a real target) while the IAF report says that Dama near As-Suwayda was hit. Most likely, neither report is accurate.
Where Israel truly bombed is anyone’s guess since the normally reliable liveua conflict map shows just the one Israeli report for August 25th with no verifiable evidence, an unusual occurrence in itself. Only the New York Times and Israeli press are reporting the specifics of the attack, and those sources are generally doubtful. Reports this author has seen indicate that Israel bombed a corridor north of Hama used by Syrian security force reinforcements at a time when the Syrian air force and its allies were relatively inactive.
So, Israel’s resumption of air strikes in Syria and Iraq has proved some reporters wrong for now – including this author – ie that Syrian air defenses would have been strengthened and upgraded to prevent or defeat Israeli strikes. At a time when the Russian leadership too is meeting with partners involved in the Syrian conflict and attempting to find resolution (and other major world events occurring such as the G7 meeting in France) it’s possible that this Israeli aggression in Syria is opportunistic.
In Iraq however we see a planned attack, where Israel bombed a weapons depot in SW Baghdad on August 12th , or has taken credit for that — with the complicity of the United States — as formally promoted by the western press on August 23rd. An ‘anonymous US official’ who boasted about the Baghdad strike claimed that the former United States “strongly supports Israel’s right to self-defense, and the United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative actions in Iraq.”
When this author first looked at the Israeli strikes in Syria and Iraq the temptation was to project that the US somehow urged Israel to do its bidding, to act overtly with aggression, considering the classic role of the US as global strategic behemoth.
Put another way, the Israeli strikes provide an entry level discussion on the overall shift in hegemonic plate tectonics, where traditional strategic concerns fade in the background and new tactical alliances merge to the fore.
For those located within the United States it’s logical to consider events from a US-centric point of view, but it’s a great wide world and changes are rapidly at work outside of US control. The Israeli attacks may be an example of that, where Israel believes it is acting in its own best interest regardless of US consideration – even if that “best interest” is only Netanyahu’s desire to be elected to avoid criminal prosecution.
In the end however US-Israeli aggression in the Middle East represents a symbiotic relationship, and whether the cart is before the horse in that relationship is now largely irrelevant. The major point is that historic strategic alliances are being challenged with major new tactical alliances posing a threat to the traditional western hubris and status quo.
As geopolitical analyst Peter Lavelle pointed out, for the first time in modern history an eastern power – China – is alleging parity with the world’s predominant western power, the United States. Such an economic challenge to the west by the east has never happened before.
To take the argument one step further, the predominant power’s client state – Israel – is circumscribed by a powerful Shia crescent, immune to US sanctions, which may pose as big a challenge to Israeli expansionism as the US is being challenged by China. Thus, the great game continues on a multi-level board where not all pieces on the board may be easily identified by their colour, and moves may be forced by more than one hand.
Now there are so many elements to watch going forward: the US economy; North Korea; Iran, Russia and China; Israeli aggression; Yemen, Syria, Iraq, US elections; Saudi adventurism, Hong Kong, Brexit, EU implosion… even the Epstein case..! The list is almost endless.. and we do live in interesting times. Unfortunately for some in the crosshairs of geopolitical intrigue, they are also deadly.
Steve Brown is the author of “Iraq: the Road to War” (Sourcewatch) editor of “Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq” (Sourcewatch) “Trump’s Limited Hangout” and “Federal Reserve: Out-sourcing the Monetary System to the Money Trust Oligarchs Since 1913”; Steve is an antiwar activist, a published scholar on the US monetary system, and has appeared as guest contributor to Fort Russ News, and Strategika51.