‘Israel made a mistake by striking Syria & jeopardizing relations with Russia’ – expert
Israel’s airstrike on a Syrian airbase was a strategic error that’d be hard to explain to Russia, as the aggressive act can’t be classified in any other way than aiding terrorists, political scientist Vyacheslav Matuzov told RT.
"The Israelis, I think, have made a strategic mistake because, by picking up the role of a warmongering client of the US, they put into question the whole Israeli-Russian relations," Matuzov said. "The T-4 airfield that was bombed by the Israeli Air Force hosted a number of Russian aircraft, including Mi-8, Ka-52 helicopters. There were Russian servicemen, Russian pilots there."
The Israeli military isn't denying the attack, but refusing to comment on the issue, "which is the same as acknowledging it," Matuzov, who’s also the head of the Russian-Arab Friendship and Business Cooperation Society, believes. "But the Russian military, having all the special means in their possession, clearly identified who fired the missiles."
Early on Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry said that two Israeli F-15 fighters had targeted Syria's T-4 airbase in Homs province. They fired eight guided missiles, with three of them avoiding Syrian air defenses and striking the landing field. The attack was carried out from over Lebanese airspace, with Beirut later confirming the breach by Israeli jets.
The fact that no Russian personnel and hardware was lost in the attack "doesn't make the situation easier for Israel because, when an airfield is struck like this, anything can happen," Matuzov said.
"Now the mechanism of diplomatic and military consultations – traditionally maintained between Russia and Israel – has been launched. I think it'll be hard for Israel to explain this aggressive act. The Syrian army is fighting terrorism and what Israel did can't be classified any other way [than] as aiding the terrorists, who are close to defeat in Eastern Ghouta," the expert said.
"I have great doubts over the statements by some Russian political experts, who say that that Israel is the only reliable ally of Russia in the Middle East, but not the Arab countries. I think this point of view doesn't stand up to criticism," he added.
Israel is interested in a continued conflict in Syria as it is striving to prevent its main geopolitical rival and President Bashar Assad’s ally, Iran, "from strengthening its position in the region, which will certainly happen after the end of the Syrian war. In order to do this, Israel must drain the Syrian army of blood and… help the Americans in achieving their task of bringing down the Syrian regime," Matuzov explained.
Airstrikes aren't the only way the Jewish State is meddling in Syria as "the Kurdish units on the eastern shore of [the] Euphrates are closely connected to and supported by the Israeli and US military," he pointed out.
Matuzov said it's hard to speculate if Israel carried out the airstrike because "the US delegated their dirty work to it" or if it decided to take action on its own, after realizing that the Americans were reluctant to fulfill Donald Trump's threats of vengeance after reports of chemical attacks in Syria.
Anti-government activists, including the controversial White Helmets civil defense group, on Saturday accused the Syrian authorities of using chemical weapons in the militant-held town of Douma in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, saying that dozens of civilians were killed and hundreds more affected.
The reports led to renewed calls for a Western intervention of Syria, despite Damascus saying they were a "fabrication" and Russia's Foreign Ministry describing them as "fake news." Moscow also warned that any military action taken against Syria would be "absolutely unacceptable" and could lead to "dire consequences."