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1 Nov, 2013 03:41

Israeli strike on Syrian defense base an attempt to derail peace talks

An alleged Israeli strike on a Syrian air defense base near the port city of Latakia late Thursday had multiple purposes - not least of which was to undermine Syrian peace negotiations, former US Senate foreign policy analyst James Petras told RT.

An Obama administration official told AP that the attack happened overnight on Thursday, but provided no further details. Another security official told the news agency that it took place in the Syrian port city of Latakia, and that the targets were Russian-made SA-125 missiles.

“The Israelis’ efforts to undermine [peace talks] by supporting the opposition have failed,” Petras said. “I think this is clearly an effort to sabotage the negotiations that may take place shortly.”

Petras also sees Israel’s aggressive stance against Syria as part of a “policy...to destroy any adversary of its land grabs in Palestine, and Syria is certainly an ally of the Palestinians.”

RT:Do these reports surprise you?

James Petras: I think they’re quite reliable. I think there’s no question that Israel is deeply involved in trying to undermine the peace process in Syria. The international community is looking very favorably on Syria’s destruction of the chemical weapons. There’s an effort clearly underway to organize peace negotiations between the opposition and the government in Geneva. The Israelis’ efforts to undermine that by supporting the opposition have failed. I think this is clearly an effort to sabotage the negotiations that may take place shortly.

RT:Why do you think Israel would resort to such actions and undermine peace talks when an unstable Syria would be more of a threat?

JP: I think the reason is that Israel’s policy is to destroy any adversary of its land grabs in Palestine, and Syria is certainly an ally of the Palestinians. They support Palestinian self-determination. And Syria is also an ally of Iran. So the Israeli policy is rule or ruin. And they are now supporting the opposition, not because they expect the opposition to be any better but because the continuing support for the opposition will perpetuate and destroy the economy of Syria and undermine civil society and any modus vivendi. I also think this is a precedent for a possible attack on Iran. I think the Israelis have been pushing here in the US Congress, going whole-hog to push legislation that would strangle the Iranian economy just as the peace negotiations between the 5+1 is underway. So I think this attack on Syria has multiple purposes. One, as a distraction from its building 1,500 new apartments in East Jerusalem. I think it’s a way of signaling its superiority in the region, and I think it’s a way of undermining Syria’s resistance to the opposition.

RT:But if these strikes are targeting Hezbollah - which Israel considers a terrorist organization - isn't that a justification?

JP: I think this is ridiculous. Hezbollah did not invade Israel, Israel invaded southern Lebanon. Israel violates the skies over Lebanon. They violate the borders of Lebanon, and not vice versa. Everything points to an aggressive Israel. Normally, these kinds of acts of war by Israel would receive sanctions and strong criticism.

RT:If it is proven that Israel has attacked another sovereign state without provocation, would that constitute a war crime?

JP: Exactly right, and the only way Israel can act with impunity is because in the United States, the Israeli Fifth Column is so influential on Capitol Hill and, in particular, it is influential within the Obama regime. There is hardly an appointment that goes on in the Obama regime which doesn’t result in a pro-Israeli official. Look at Commerce, look at Treasury, look at Trade. All the appointments - [US Trade Representative Michael] Froman, [Dept. of Treasury Secretary Jack] Lew, [Dept. of Commerce Secretary Penny] Pritzker - are all pro-Israel zealots. I think this is one of the problems. The US does not act in accordance with international law when it comes to Israeli war crimes.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.