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Sunday, July 14, 2013

US confirms Israel targeted Yakhonts

American officials are now saying that Israel carried out an attack on Latakia, Syria, overnight July 5-6, in which Russian supplied Yakhont land-to-sea missiles were destroyed.
The Russian-made weapon has been a particular worry for the Pentagon because it expanded Syria’s ability to threaten Western ships that could be used to transport supplies to the Syrian opposition, enforce a shipping embargo or support a possible no-flight zone.
The missile also represented a threat to Israel’s naval forces and raised concerns that it might be provided to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that has joined the war on the side of the Syrian government.
The attack against the missiles came to light after Syrian rebels said that they were not responsible for large explosions at Latakia on July 5, and that a missile warehouse had been hit.
American officials did not provide details on the extent of the damage or the number of missiles struck.
Israeli officials have said they would not take sides in the civil war in Syria, but they have made it clear that Israel is prepared to carry out airstrikes to prevent sophisticated weapons from being diverted to Hezbollah.
The strike near Latakia, first reported by CNN, was the fourth known Israeli air attack against targets in Syria this year. 
And an Israeli reaction:

Anyone think Rabinovitch (a former Israeli ambassador to the US and former chief Israeli negotiator with Syria) is wrong? Consider this from the first link:
The Russian decision to deliver the Yakhont missile prompted objections from the Pentagon. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned in May that it would “embolden the regime.”
For Israel, it represented a serious danger as well. In July 2006, an antiship missile fired by Hezbollah seriously damaged an Israeli ship off the coast of Lebanon.
The Yakhont system is far more sophisticated than the one used in the July 2006 attack, and in recent months there has been speculation that the Yakhont cache in Syria would be Israel’s next target.
During a visit to an army base last week, Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, restated Israel’s approach to the Syrian conflict: that it would not get involved except to stop weapons transfers. “We have established red lines when it comes to our own interests, and we are sticking to them,” he said.
Are we fighting a proxy war?

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