Israeli jets find Syria and Iran vulnerable to air attacks

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Israeli jets find Syria and Iran vulnerable to air attacks

Israeli jets set out to probe the effectivenss of their Russian designed antiaircraft weapons last week.

What they may have found is that they can effectively jam the radar and leave Syria and Iran vulnerable to air attacks.

DEBKAfile’s military experts conclude from the way Damascus described the episode Wednesday, Sept. 6, that the Pantsyr-S1E missiles, purchased from Russia to repel air assailants, failed to down the Israeli jets accused of penetrating northern Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean the night before.

The new Pantsyr missiles therefore leave Syrian and Iranian airspace vulnerable to hostile intrusion.

The Israeli plane or planes were described by a Syrian military spokesman as “forced to leave by Syrian air defense fire after dropping ammunition over deserted areas without causing casualties.” He warned “the Israeli enemy against repeating its aggressive action” and said his government reserved the right to respond in an appropriate manner.

Western intelligence circles stress that information on Russian missile consignments to Syria or Iran is vital to any US calculation of whether to attack Iran over its nuclear program.

They assume that the “absolute jamming immunity” which the Russian manufactures promised for the improved Pantsyr missiles was immobilized by superior electronic capabilities exercised by the jets before they were “forced to leave.”

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By netchicken: posted on 10-9-2007

Here we go, there might be soome truth to the first story.

Israeli aircraft that reportedly flew over Syrian territory two days ago were sent on a mission to destroy Russian-made missile systems recently acquired by Damascus, the Al-Arabiya news channel reported on Saturday.

The satellite channel attributed its report to an Israeli official who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue

On Thursday, the Syrian government charged that Israeli aircraft dropped "munitions" inside Syria overnight and said its air defenses opened fire.

Syria stopped short of accusing Israel of purposely bombing its territory, and an Israeli spokesman said he could not comment on military operations.

Analysts speculated such a foray could have been probing Syria's defenses or monitoring long-range missile bases. The reported path also would have taken the jets near Iran, whose growing power and anti-Israel government worries leaders of the Jewish state.

The incident came after a summer of building tensions that have fed worries of a military conflict erupting between Syria and Israel. Syria accused Israel last month of seeking a pretext for war, and the Israelis are keeping a close watch on Syrian troop movements.

Both sides have insisted they want no conflict along the disputed frontier. But Syria fears it is being squeezed out of a US-brokered Mideast peace conference planned for November and will be left at a disadvantage in the standoff with Israel.

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By netchicken: posted on 10-9-2007

It looks like a mirage. Something is seemingly taking before your eyes, but that's not what's really happening. The Israeli flyover that passed through Syria, according to the Syrians, at a low altitude above the Latakia area appears to be such illusion – the story behind the real story.

In the absence of an official Israeli version, we can only base our analysis on the Syrian account of the incident. And what the Syrians say creates a very odd picture, to say the least. A loud infiltration by Air Force jets, at midnight, in northern Syria. It's hard to be rid of the feeling that the planes in fact made every effort to be discovered.

Such aerial strip show must have a reason that will justify, first and foremost, the risk to the lives of the pilots. It has to be a reason that is so worthy that it justifies the risk this flyover will leave behind it a trail of hot air that will light up the sparks along the border.

The Air Force has been flying both in Lebanon and Syria in the distant future, and also in the not so distant future. The aspiration is to acquire capabilities whereby the enemy only discovers the aerial infiltration at a very late phase, if at all.

The Air Force has the knowledge and means to do it. Indeed, in many cases the enemy didn't even know we paid a visit, and in many other cases it only discovered it when there was no longer any risk to the planes. In such cases there was no public announcement, to spare the embarrassment.

Yet yesterday, past midnight, according to Syrian witnesses, the planes appeared at low altitude and were apparently identified by Syrian radar a long time before they crossed the border – a fact that allowed Syria's anti-aircraft systems to prepare for their arrival.

The planes created sonic booms above Syria; residents spotted the jets, and the anti-aircraft systems fired at them – a real air show.

Supreme leadership test

On the face of it, such display at a time when Israel's political leadership is making every effort to allay tensions with Syria makes no sense. It's unreasonable. The Air Force doesn't work that way. After all, the attention of Syria's aerial defense systems is entirely focused at Israel.

Why did they fly there? It's unlikely that someone felt like photographing northern Syria or Iraq, or other landscapes, in the middle of the night. The attempt to explain this aerial display as an effort aimed at "checking the alert level of Syria's defense systems," in that area exactly, on the border with Turkey, with the Syria army deployed against us at this time, makes no sense

The Arab media claim that the planes dropped some kind of armaments. This is incommensurate with the description of sonic booms. Planes that carry bombs on the outside do not create sonic booms.

If the Syrian account is true, the decision on sorties of the type carried out yesterday, according to Syria, is taken by the political leadership: The prime minister, defense minister, and sometimes the entire cabinet. Such decision is a supreme test of the leadership's judgment, knowledge, experience, and responsibility.

The official Israel, for the time being, chose a policy of ambiguity. At times, such ambiguity is aimed at hiding important strategic moves and keeping the enemy unaware. Ambiguity also aims to keep provocation of the enemy to a minimum so that it does not feel obligated to respond, and lets it enjoy the illusion that it succeeded in pushing Air Force planes out of Syrian airspace, for example.

However, at times ambiguity is also aimed at hiding problematic decisions, wild risks, and adventurism. As we don't know what hides behind the flyover, all we can do is hope that we can trust the people who decided on it. Defense Minister Barak has plenty of experience, Army Chief Ashkenazi is a top-notch professional, and the prime minister, following the Winograd Commission, may be more mature.

We also hope that this troika didn't invest this great effort, at a high risk, only in favor of some tactical move that would improve our situation tomorrow morning. Such action is justified only for an important objective – that is, something that will prove beneficial many years from now. We should leave the tactics for Gaza. Syria isn't Gaza.

For now it appears that the Syria's anger and indignation have been channeled to arrogant declarations for domestic purposes. This may be an indication that yesterday's incident will be recorded as yet another small-time event that led to a minor climax, yet had no fundamental effect on the high level of tension we've seen in the past year.

The incident also revealed that Israeli declarations regarding reduced tensions between us and the Syrians were made too early.
By netchicken: posted on 10-9-2007

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