Responding to the prospect of U.S.-led military intervention, Syria threatens a retaliatory attack on Israel through a coalition including Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.
The threats came in the wake of international outrage over reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deployed chemical weapons on Syrian citizens. “Syria is ready to deal with all scenarios,” said Syria’s Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah. “We have strategic weapons and we can retaliate. Essentially, the strategic weapons are aimed at Israel.”
“If the US or Israel err through aggression and exploit the chemical issue, the region will go up in endless flames, affecting not only the area’s security, but the world’s,” he added. “We consider these declarations of a possible attack as a form of psychological warfare and pressure on Syria. We are not worried about them. We hope that those threatening us will listen closely to what we are saying. We believe that the only solution for the Syrian issue is a political one.”
The Iranian government issued similar threats against Israel. “[The Americans] are incapable of starting a new war in the region, because of their lacking economic capabilities and their lack of morale,” said Republican Guard commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi. “No military attack will be waged against Syria,” said Hossein Sheikholeslam, a member of Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly. “Yet, if such an incident takes place, which is impossible, the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly wants a strike in the coming days while outrage over the the chemical attack is still fresh. British Foreign Minister William Hague emphasized that action could be taken even without the full support of the UN Security Council. France and Israel have also asserted that a military intervention in Syria should be initiated following the Assad regime crossing U.S. President Obama’s red lines. Germany also supports taking action against Syria once a UN investigation confirms that Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.
Currently, the U.S. government is refraining from taking action until it “get[s] the facts.” “We are analyzing the intelligence. If there is any action taken, it will be in concert with the international community,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Meanwhile, both Russia and China stand in the way of the UN Security Council taking solid actions against Syria.
By Rachel Avraham
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Tags: arab-israeli conflict, Israeli-Syrian relations, middle east conflict, Syria and chemical weapons, Syria and Israel, Syria human rights abuses, Syria unrest, Syrian civil war, Syrian democide, US intervention in Syria