Iran continues to fly military personnel and quantities of weapons into Syria by civilian aircraft which cut through Iraqi airspace, American intelligence sources disclosed early Thursday, Sept. 20. UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon also said that, “Unfortunately, both [Syrian] sides, government and opposition forces, seem to be determined to see the end by military means.”
Clearly, Iran is augmenting its military involvement in the constantly escalating Syrian civil war, broadening it into a multinational conflict which threatens to drag Lebanon in, by means of the Iranian-Syrian ally, Hizballah.
The UN Secretary General’s statement implying that the two Syrian sides are determined to fight to the bitter end is echoed in Iran’s resolve to fight to the bitter end for Assad, on Syrian soil.
Tehran is not hiding its actions. Sunday, Sept. 16, Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Commander Gen. Ali Jafari said openly that Al Qods Brigades units were present and operational in both Syria and Lebanon.
No comment on this revelation has come from the US, Israel or Israel’s military (IDF) chiefs – notwithstanding its menacing import, namely, that Tehran is no longer hanging about and waiting for its nuclear program to be attacked in order to punish Israel, but is getting ready for a pre-emptive operation.
Still, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have chosen silence in the face of what any other nation would regard as a casus belli: the open deployment of enemy forces on its northern and eastern borders.
This must have been the catalyst for the IDF’s surprise two-division strength drill Wednesday on Israel’s Golan border with Syria. But the IDF spokesman sounded almost apologetic when he explained that the exercise had nothing to do with the events in Syria or with Hizballah, and that it was no more than a routine drill for testing preparedness.
DEBKAfile’s military sources say that, in the current climate, no military operation by any army on the Syrian border – especially one of this magnitude – may be regarded as “routine.” Only a week ago, the Golani Brigade concluded a large military exercise in northern Israel including the Golan. That sort of frequency must have operational connotations: The IDF is evidently keeping the army on the move and in a constant state of readiness to fight a real war without delay on terrain made familiar by repeated war games.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz has a penchant for expressing himself through symbols, his method of overcoming the restrictions placed on his tongue by military and other constraints.
On New Year’s Eve last week, the general handed military correspondents a small gift: The Hebrew edition of the American writer Richard David Bach’s “There’s No Such Place as Far Away.”
For the Golan drill Wednesday, he decided to attach Maj. Gen. (res.) Nati Sharoni, chief artillery officer in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, to his party of advisers and observers.
The book was a clear message to Tehran and doubting Thomases at home that the IDF is fully capable of an operation against Iran’s nuclear program and of successfully accomplishing any mission far from its shores.
Gen. Sharoni’s presence at the Golan exercise, and the exercise itself, was a warning to Iran, Hizballah and Syria that they will be disappointed if they hope to catch Israel unready, as it was by the surprise attack which almost overcame the IDF 39 years ago before the tide of war was turned back against Egypt.
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