It’s deja vu all over again and back to 1990, when Saddam Hussein threatened to “burn half of Israel” if the allies, led by the US, attacked Iraq over their invasion of Kuwait. And he kept to his promise – or at least he tried to, launching 39 Scud missiles at Israel over the course of the First Gulf War. At the time, we Israelis were terrified that he would use chemical or biological weapons, since he had previous form in the massacre of Halabja. The whole population of Israel was issued with gas masks and nerve gas antidotes, and we spent long weeks taking shelter in our sealed rooms for hours on end. Thank G-d that in the end Saddam “only” launched regular Scuds, and miraculously no one was killed although there were many injuries and widespread destruction of buildings, especially in the Tel Aviv area.
So it’s with a familiar but sick feeling that we read that Syrian President Bashar Assad has threatened to attack Tel Aviv if NATO attacks Syria – as if Israel is a player in that game.
Syrian President Bashar Assad warned western countries on Tuesday that if Syria comes under NATO attack it would fire missiles at Tel Aviv, Iranian semi-official news agency FARS reported.
During a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu Assad allegedly threatened: “If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.”
According to the report, Assad also reiterated that Damascus will call on Hezbollah to launch such an intensive rocket and missile attack on Israel.
“All these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the US warships in the Persian Gulf and the US and European interests will be targeted simultaneously,” Assad said, according to FARS.
Assad’s comments came as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he would set out his country’s plans for sanctions against Syria after he visits a Syrian refugee camp near the border in the coming days.
The move heralds a further deterioration in previously friendly relations between Ankara and Damascus since the start of Assad’s crackdown on protesters.
My next question is, would Turkey attack Syria over its brutality to its protestors, or would they join in with NATO in such an attack? And if so, would Assad still consider Israel a legitimate target, taking into account the deteriorating relations between Turkey and Israel?
Middle East politics make for very strange alliances and enemies.