1 February 2013, 23:24

Israel preemptively strikes Syria, why can’t Syria do the same? - interview

Israel preemptively strikes Syria, why can’t Syria do the same? - interview
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Voice of Russia regulars Rick Rozoff and Alon Ben-Meir, NATO and Middle East experts respectively, both gave their views on the air-strike by Israel on the sovereign territory of Syria near the capitol Damascus. Their views on the matter are almost diametrically opposed with both giving solid arguments.

Hello! I’m John Robles, I’m speaking with Mr. Rick Rozoff. He is the manager and the owner of the stop NATO website and mailing list.

Rick Rozoff

John Robles: Can you give us your views on the strike by Israel inside of Syria, supposedly on a convoy, supposedly supplying Hezbollah, with supposed weapons?

Mr. Rick Rozoff: Yes, those supposeds are all the warranted. The fact to the matter is what we know from the Syrian Government sources: is that an Israeli war plane launched an attack against a military research center within Syria, on the outskirts of the capital city of Damascus. So, this marks a dramatic escalation of the conflict, not so much in Syria, but against Syria.

And what it does is confirm, the suspicions and the statements made, not only by governmental officials in Iran but by a lot of us throughout the world, that part of what is going on inside Syria right now is a warm-up exercise, if you will, a miniature version or a preview of what is intended for Iran. So, the fact that an Israeli war plane could strike near the capital-city of Syria is clearly I think an indication that Israel might harbor both the intent and the means to try something similar within Iran. That’s the first thing.

The second of all, the brazen unprovoked attack within the borders of a sovereign nation, is, as I believe the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned over the last 24 hours since the Israeli attack, a crude and flagrant violation of international law and should be condemned as such. And what is necessary is for there to be an international investigation to substantiate the Syrian Government’s claim of the Israeli attack and it needs to be taken up in the United Nations Security Council.

If the situation were reversed, I can promise you that the United States and its allies would not hesitate a second to take the case up, to demand that a hearing be held in the United Nations. And this is what has to happen NOW because what this is, is more than just a blatant criminal violation of the national sovereignty of Syria, but it is clearly an escalation of the conflict to the point where if you are sitting in Tehran, as well as Damascus, you are wondering what the next move is going to be and this is why it think it is so dangerous.

Robles: What would you say to people on the Israeli side, who were claiming and who will claim that Israel was defending itself?

Mr. Rick Rozoff: To believe for a moment that the Syrian Government was arming Hezbollah fighters with weaponry for use against Israel when the Government of Syria itself is under siege from foreign supported insurgents, including terrorists, defies one’s credibility. It is very difficult to believe that could have been the case.

And again the Syrian Government’s case is that Israel bombed well inside Syrian borders. This is comparable to for example the deployment by Turkey of a war plane inside Syrian air space, summer of last year. But I think also what needs to be seen here, is the fact that Israel has now exposed itself as being on the very same side as extremist elements, that is Wahhabi and Salafi elements, backed by the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf monarchies in their attack against the Government in Damascus, against the Syrian Government.

So, you have this interesting motley medley of forces arrayed against Syria at the moment, you have the US and its NATO allies, you have Israel, you have the most backwards and benighted governments on the face of the earth in the Persian Gulf all operating in tandem.

So, when the United States talks about democracy or praises Israel as being the only democracy in the Middle East and so forth, we have to understand with the military attack of yesterday that it is aiding and abetting, it is supporting, it is complementing other efforts by the likes of governments in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir

Robles: Dr. Alon Ben-Meir he is a professor in international relations and affairs at NY University. Could you give us your views and your comments on the Israeli airstrike and of the supposed convoy?

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir: Israel has stated all along that if it detects anything that may constitute a threat to its national security, it will act.

In this particular case the Israelis have detected two things. One, there was a convoy moving from Syria towards the Lebanese border, apparently a shipment carrying the SA-17, which is a very accurate anti-aircraft missile. Several trucks actually.

As well there was also a military research center near Damascus and I think the Israelis have concluded that the first convoy has to be destroyed because they do not want these kinds of weapons fall into the hands of Hezbollah and hence constitute a serious threat to Israel.

And the other one is the concern over the chemical weapons. I’m not sure it was an attack on one or the other, I believe it was the two simultaneously.

Robles: Do you believe they have the right to attack within another country if they say that the threat is to their own security?

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir: It is not what they say. I think every country, including Russia, the United States, al European, anyone, if they feel there is a credible threat, and I repeat the word “credible”, it is not an excuse to attack. But if there is a credible threat, and I think Israel shared that with the United States before it took action, then the country has the right to do whatever it takes in order to protect national security interests. And I have no doubt, any country irregardless of where it is and where the threat is coming from, is going to take similar actions.

Robles:Using that logic, I mean, then… We know that Patriot missiles have been deployed in Turkey, so then if we follow the same line of logic, then I guess Syria has the right to strike these Patriot missiles in Turkey. Why not?

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir: The Patriot missiles in Turkey is a different story. These Patriot missiles are there in a defensive posture. Every country has many-many such weapons in a defensive posture.

Robles: Mr. Rozoff, if you follow that logic, then wouldn’t that give Syria, for example, the right to strike inside of Turkey which is basing Patriot missiles and NATO armaments aimed at Syria?

Mr. Rick Rozoff: It is an extremely vital point you raise. Not that the two of us believe in pre-emptive or preventive attacks or wars. This is a notoriously criminal concept that was really practiced, to its furthest degree, by the 3rd Reich in the late 1930s and the early 1940s, so called preventive war.

That’s correct! If Israel can claim that Syria, under a siege as it is, is capable in any way of threatening the internal security of Israel, then with a thousand times, a million times, more justification, Syria can claim that it is being threatened by its neighbor Turkey, that it is being threatened by other governments in the area, including those I’ve mentioned in the Persian Gulf, by the United States, by its European NATO allies, who are providing material sustenance, as well as diplomatic coverage to terrorist groups within Syria which are implicated in the deaths of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of civilians in that country.

And the fact that Israel has now struck Syria makes it the aggressor and not the other way around of course.

Robles: China is being surrounded by NATO, Russia is being surrounded by NATO, I mean there are weapons all around both countries that pose a threat to their national security. So, if we followed that same logic Russia and China could launch first strikes on the United States and all NATO countries I believe.

Mr. Rick Rozoff: With far more justification again, than anything that Israel has the right to claim, in regard to the attack of yesterday, or the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, or murderous drone hellfire missile attacks inside nations like Yemen and Libya, and Somalia and all-the-way-down-the-line.

Yes, it is in fact a nations’ aggressor, China and Iran which are being militarily encircled by the United States and its regional and global allies. And it is the aggressor who is claiming they are being threatened and have to launch “so called” preventive attacks, it is a complete inversion of the truth.

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