World View: Israel Braces for Counter-Strike if U.S. Hits Syria

This morning's key headlines from
  • Israel prepares for counter-attack from Hezbollah
  • U.S. attack on Syria could come as early as Thursday
  • Russia evacuates its citizens from Syria
  • Monday's Mideast peace process meeting was held after all

Israel prepares for counter-attack from Hezbollah

Both Syria and Hezbollah are promising to respond to an American attack on Syria with a counter-attack on Israel. In Israel, civilians flooded gas mask distribution centers spurred on by fears that any Western military response to last week's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria could ensnare their own country in war. Euro Jewish Press

U.S. attack on Syria could come as early as Thursday

American rhetoric has now reached the point where it will be politically almost impossible to avoid an attack on Syria. ( "27-Aug-13 World View -- The drums of war beat over Syria"

According to Vice President Joe Biden: 

Chemical weapons have been used. 

No one doubts that innocent men, women and children have been the victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, and there's no doubt who's responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime. 

The options that we are considering are not about regime change. They are about responding to the clear violation of an international standard that prohibits the use of chemical weapons.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that American forces are now ready to act immediately on an order from President Barack Obama. 

The U.S. is considering three days of missile strikes on Syria, perhaps beginning on Thursday. After three days, strategists could run an assessment and target was previously missed. The U.S. missile strikes would almost certainly be launched from Nary destroyers or submarines in the Mediterranean Sea. Four destroyers are lined up ready to strike: the USS Barry, the USS Mahan, the USS Ramage and the USS Gravely. 

According to U.S. officials, it will not be an objective to cripple Syria's military, or to topple president Bashar al-Assad. The objective of the attack will be to "send a message" to al-Assad. 

A number of analysts have expressed concern that unless the attack significantly degrades Syria's armed forces, then it will have been for nothing, and America's credibility will suffer even further. Some analysts express concern that President Obama is going ahead with the attack for his own political purposes, to "do something," after have set several "red lines," and doing nothing when they were crossed. NBC News

Russia evacuates its citizens from Syria

A Russian aircraft landed in Latakia airport in Syria on Tuesday, with 20 tons of humanitarian aid, mostly consisting of tinned foods and sugar. About 180 people, 100 of them Russia, will leave Syria on the return flight. 

Russia's foreign ministry says that the West was acting in the Islamic world like "a monkey with a grenade." According to a spokesman: 

Attempts to bypass the [United Nations] Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa. 

We are calling on our American partners and all members of the world community to demonstrate prudence (and) strict observance of international law, especially the fundamental principles of the UN Charter.

Telegraph (London)

Monday's Mideast peace process meeting was held after all

Despite reports that the Palestinian Authority had canceled peace talks on Monday, following the deaths of three Palestinians, the Monday evening meeting was apparently held anyway. According to a Palestinian source, the two negotiation teams met in the house of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat amid the absence of envoys from the United States, the sponsor of the peace talks. Xinhua

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