On Syrian missiles and the world’s Israel obssession

Yakhont missile in 1997 air show

Did we or didn’t we? Bomb Syria’s Russian-made Yakhont missiles that is. According to assorted sources Israel did indeed destroy these missiles via a submarine fired-missile.

Honest Reporting brings us the Sunday Times article on the story:

According to the Sunday Times of London, an Israeli submarine-fired missile destroyed Syrian barracks in Latakia where advanced Russian-made Yakhont missiles were stored. A number of papers picked up on the Times’ coverage:

The attack, by an Israeli Dolphin class submarine, is understood to have been closely co-ordinated with Washington . . .

Yakhont missiles pose a threat not only to the Israeli navy but also the US Sixth Fleet and British naval vessels in the eastern Mediterranean.

But both Israel and Syria deny Israel’s involvement:

Syrian officials on Saturday denied reports that Israel had been behind an attack on an arms depot in Latakia a week ago.

The denial followed the weekend confirmation by three unidentified US officials that Israeli warplanes had targeted advanced Russian-made anti-ship missiles in the coastal area on July 5. The comments to CNN seemingly confirmed similar reports in the Arab press.

Early Sunday, The New York Times also reported that Israeli planes had targeted the facility, citing unnamed American officials.

On Saturday, Iranian Arab-language news outlet Al-Alam reported that Damascus was denying Israeli involvement in the attack, citing Syrian officials.

Damascus had blamed a technical error for the blasts, which left several soldiers dead.

Britain’s Sunday Times, citing unnamed “Middle East intelligence sources” reported that the attack was carried out by an Israeli Dolphin-class submarine, with coordination from Washington.


Israel has declined to comment on the strike. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon brushed aside a reporter’s question about the attack in the port city with this statement: “There is an attack here, an explosion there, various versions; in any event, in the Middle East it is usually we who are blamed.”

Israel’s stated policy is to not allow advanced weapons from falling into the hands of Hezbollah, and it has reportedly already carried out at least three airstrikes this year on convoys carrying sophisticated weapons from Syria to Lebanon, once in January and twice more in May.

In all cases Pentagon officials later said Israel was behind the attacks, although no Israeli officials had confirmed it.

The first thing that strikes me from these articles are the conflicting reports – were they war-planes or submarines that fired the missiles? If indeed Israel fired them at all.

The second thing that stands out is the Americans’ leaking of stories about Israel. What is it with the Americans that they have to blab about Israel’s involvement in strikes against its Arab enemies? Are they trying to hinder Israel? Or are they trying to bask in Israel’s reflected glory? It’s hard to tell what this muddled incompetent Administration is trying to do.

On a related subject, Stephen Marche in Esquire Magazine calls for America’s Israel obsession to stop:

The issues that originated the obsession with the region have all been either solved or stalemated. North American energy independence is within reach. The hope for a blossoming Arab democratic movement leading to stability and prosperity has withered to ashes. American political and military involvement do not seem to decrease the chance of terrorism at home or abroad. As for whether America will go to war on humanitarian grounds, Syria has put that question to the ultimate test, and the answer so far has been a resolute no. Israel has made it clear that it will deal with a nuclear Iran itself, and frankly, when all is said and done, Israel probably knows best. Its existence is at stake. As for the notion of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, there is no hope and therefore no pressing reason for intervention. So why bother? Why talk about it?

And yet the obsession continues — and not merely for the religious. Israel as a symbol transferred into the realm of secular politics during the rise of political correctness in the 1980s. For the Left, distancing itself from Israel is a way of working through issues of colonialism in a safely remote space. Israeli Apartheid Week is now a fixture on American campuses, even though any historical comparison between South Africa and Israel cannot survive even the slightest scrutiny. Support for Israel can often be equally dubious: born of apocalyptic fantasies borrowed from Revelation or the Book of Mormon, a counterreaction to liberal elitism, or a way to be on the side of the powerful. Israel has no shortage of enemies, and with friends like these…


The time has come to step away from this game altogether. This summer, John Kerry will do what American secretaries of state have wasted fifty years doing: try to fix the Israeli situation. In the spring, the poor man went four separate times to Israel, each a special mission, a “historic opportunity” to make peace.  [He is heading to Israel for the 6th time next week – Ed.] President Obama, during his first campaign, defined political insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. America’s Middle East policy is the comical extreme of this description, a zombie exercise undertaken in the name of hope for its own sake.

The obsession has gone on long enough.


Standard foreign-policy wisdom holds that Israel is the key, that once the crisis there is solved, everything else in the whole of the Muslim world will improve. The terrorists will no longer have the necessary symbolism for recruitment. But the only thing that would satisfy the terrorists is Israel’s ceasing to exist, and Israel, rather gauchely, insists on existing. The symbolism cannot be solved; only its power can be diminished. The real historic opportunity at the moment is for the secretary of state to stop going to Israel, and for everybody else to stop talking about what there’s no point discussing.

 Very wise words indeed, and it is extremely refreshing to read such a politically incorrect – yet so very correct – opinion.  It echoes what I have written many times before. My only small quibble would be to change the headline.  It is not solely an American obsession. It is an obsession by almost the entire world, from the Americans to the British to the Europeans to the Russians, the Chinese, the UN, and anyone who wants to grab a moment of glory in the sun at the expense of those pesky Jews.
That’s why it is deemed legitimate to speculate publicly about one’s allies bombing their enemies’ armaments, no matter that such speculation will likely entail yet more violence.
Nobody ever said that obsessions were logical.
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9 Responses to On Syrian missiles and the world’s Israel obssession

  1. carolmizrahi says:

    Just as I always say: Look! Up in the sky. It’s a plane. It’s a bird. No, it’s Super JEW. Able to leap tall buildings and shuls with a single bound, invincible, everywhere, responsible for everything bad that happens in the world (but nothing good). I wear a big “S” on my t-shirts.

    • anneinpt says:

      Ha! Good analogy Carol. Perhaps you should wear a J on your T-shirt instead. Or an I (for Israel). 🙂

      • carolmizrahi says:

        Thanks for response, Anne? If it weren’t for the fact that I am trying to stay a-political in my whining blog –The Bottom Whine — I would whine about the world’s obsession with the Jews. I am always reminded of that tart response to: “Jews… the chosen people…” and: “I wish they’d chose someone else for a change.”

  2. Mark says:

    It’s disgraceful, really, how a lot of lefties only decided that they cared about the war in Syria once Israel was apparently involved. Obsession.

    • anneinpt says:

      You’re absolutely right Mark. Altogether, the turmoil in the Middle East only captures the left’s (and the media’s) attention when Israel is involved. Otherwise, Muslims killing Muslims hardly rates a sentence, let alone a full-blown headline article. But let Israel injure one Palestinian terrorists, oops, I mean protestor, and all hell lets loose.

      Thank you for your comment and follow, and welcome to my blog.

  3. DavidinPT says:

    Read the above link for a more sinister explanation as to why the Obama administration “leaks” (ie: briefs) the media about Israel’s alleged involvement.
    With friends like these, who needs enemies?

    • anneinpt says:

      Thanks for the link which makes for very sinister reading though I’m always a bit leery of Debka because they’re often not reliable. The article says that the US wants to punish Israel for acting independently, and yet the Americans are no friends of the Muslim Brotherhood. For the same reason, why should they be upset at the Egyptians? OK, it wasn’t exactly democratic to overthrow Morsi, but he wasn’t the epitome of democracy himself.

      Getting back at the Russians might sound a bit more plausible, yet they must take into account the possible Syrian blowback. It sounds much too juvenile and not well-thought out a plan. Though I guess that sums up the current American administration.

      Personally I think it’s simple incompetence and stupidity on the part of the Americans and the media.”Never ascribe malice to what can be explained by stupidity” as the saying goes.

      But certainly, yes, I agree, with friends like these… it’s not the first time that the Americans have let down, if not betrayed, Israel.

  4. I wouldn’t rule out the leaks as a response to the Israeli missile experiment conducted last week signaling Israel’s willingness to thwart Iran’s nuclear program on its own. In any case, these leaks are beginning to shed light on a developing crack in relations with the U.S., a crack that is a result of the lack of trust in the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu.

    • anneinpt says:

      Could be. Anything is possible as the Debka article linked to in David’s comment above shows.Though again, the US is against the Iranian’s nukes so why would they want to deter Israel, especially as they themselves are very disinclined to act.

      As for the the “developing” crack between Israel and the US, that crack developed long ago, as soon as Obama and Netanyahu both came to power. This leak might be a sign of the existence of the gap, but I don’t think it began now.

      I also don’t think the crack will disappear when Obama’s term ends. The rift will heal when (G-d forbid) a leftist gov’t will come to power in Israel and not before. The nations of the world only like Israel soft and pliant and inclined to surrender – aka a leftist gov’t. Right and center-right are anathema to the nations. They signify pesky uppity Jews wanting to defend themselves. What an absurd idea to them!

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