Thursday, September 20, 2007
By Sami Moubayed
"The Syrians are disappointed with the synchronised silence of the Arab world over the latest Israeli aerial invasion of Syria, which took place on 6 September. They complained to the UN Security Council on 11 September. The Syrians are equally disgusted with the stream of accusations -- all of which they insist are false -- that are coming out of the US media, claiming that the Syrian village of Tal Abyad was being used to host nuclear weapons from North Korea. Other US media reports say that the Israeli jets hit a shipment of arms bound from Iran to Hizbullah in South Lebanon. In an interview with CBS, President Bashar Al-Assad insisted that Hizbullah does not receive arms from the Syrians. The Syrians have long been saying that they are not interested in nuclear weapons, and never miss an opportunity to call for a nuclear-free Middle East that applies -- first and foremost -- to Israel......
With regard to the accusation that the attack targeted a shipment of Iranian arms bound for Lebanon, that also is highly questionable. If the Israelis had any proof of that, they would have made it headline news, taken photographs of the wreckage and shown them on CNN. The fact that they had no footage -- and were incredibly silent about the entire ordeal -- means that they were embarrassed about something. They went into Syria, with a target in mind, and either did not find it or found something completely different that made them look silly in the international community. States after all are bound by the UN Charter. They are not supposed to violate their neighbour's airspace unless they have very convincing evidence that they can display to the entire world, justifying their actions. The Israelis did not have that. When one intrudes into another country's airspace, with no valid reason, then this is considered an act of aggression. It gives Syria the right to strike back. Bashar Al-Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the UN, told the BBC Arabic service: "The Syrian response is yet to come." His colleague in Washington, Ambassador Emad Mustafa, added, "Israel will not be permitted to do whatever it wants without paying a price." Nobody can blame the Syrians if they strike back. It was the Israelis who escalated the crisis, not Damascus. "