Don’t poke the Bear

It appears Israel recently received a rude lesson in why one should always avoid irritating the Russian Bear:

Syria will adopt a new rule of engagement with Israel now that Russia has taken a tougher and clearer stance on the conflict between Israel and the “Axis of the Resistance”. Henceforth, Damascus will be responding to any Israeli strike. If it damages a specific military target it will reply with a strike against a similar objective in Israel. Decision makers in Damascus said “Syria will not hesitate to hit an Israeli airport if Damascus airport is targeted and hit by Israel. This will be with the consent of the Russian military based in the Levant”.

“Russia has informed Israel that there are Russian officers present at every Syrian or Iranian military base and that any strike against Syrian or Iranian objectives would hit Russian forces as well. Putin will not allow his soldiers and officers to be struck down by Israel’s direct or indirect bombing”.

Moreover, Russia has given Syria the green light – said the source- to strike Israel at any time if and when Tel Aviv’s planes launch raids against Syrian military targets or launch long-range missiles without flying over Syria (for fear of the S-300 and to avoid seeing its jets downed over Syria or Lebanon).

The source confirmed that Syria – contrary to what Israel claims – now has the most accurate missiles, which can hit any target inside Israel. The Syrian armed forces have received unrevealed long and medium-range missiles from Iran. These operate on the GLONASS system – the abbreviation for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, the Russian version of the GPS. Thus, the delivery of Iran and the manufacture of missiles inside Syria (and Lebanon) is now complete. Israel, however, claims it has destroyed Syria’s missile capability, including that of the missiles delivered by Iran. According to the source, Damascus controls a very large number of precision missiles, notwithstanding those destroyed by Israel. “In Iran, the cheapest and most accessible items are the SABZI and the missiles”, said the source.

The new Syrian rule of engagement – according to the source – is now as follows: an airport will be hit if Israel hits an airport, and any attack on a barracks or command and control centre will result in an attack on similar target in Israel. It appears that the decision has been taken at the highest level and a clear “bank of objectives” has now been set in place.

These claims of new rules of engagement in the Middle East may be false, of course. They may be nothing more than the usual public posturing. But we will soon be able to tell if they are in effect or not, because if Israel suddenly, and uncharacteristically, stops launching missile attacks into Syrian territory, that will be a strong indication that the reports of the new rules were genuine.

And I tend to suspect these new rules of engagement also have something to do with the recently announced US withdrawal from Syria, as there will no longer an American buffer to defend Israel from a direct Russian response or even a Russian response-by-proxy to Israeli provocations.

Needless to say, someone is lying, or at the very least, wrong. And based on the entire written historical record of war, it is usually the party claiming that the other party’s capabilities have been entirely destroyed.