lewrockwell.com / By Eric Margolis / February 2, 2013
The Mideast is stumbling into one of its most dangerous crisis in decades. I’m just back from the region – and as an old Mideast hand, I am very worried.
This region is always tense, but right now a series of separate conflicts are rapidly beginning to intersect. We see the Mideast, North Africa and the Sahara buffeted by revolutions and counter-revolutions. Old colonial powers France and Britain, and the US, are trying to reassert their domination in the region. The jihadists are back.
In a brazen act of war, Israel launched airstrikes on Syria last Wednesday in a clear attempt to worsen the crisis in that war-torn nation and challenge Syria’s ally, Iran. Israel’s forces are on high alert and may invade Syria, whose strategic Golan Heights were seized and annexed by Israel. Will more Syrian land follow?
Goaded by Israel, Iran thundered “any attack on Syria is an attack on Iran.” An Iranian general warned Tel Aviv might come under attack. Hot air, as they say in Farsi. Separated from ally Syria by Iraq, Iran’s not very mobile ground forces would be unable to intervene in Syria in any substantial way. Israel’s air force would devastate any Iranian columns advancing in open terrain.
Iran’s feeble air force is barely operational after decades of crushing embargos by the United States and its allies. Tehran’s dilapidated warplanes are far more menacing to their pilots than their enemies. Iran’s passenger airliners are flying coffins thanks to the US embargo of new aircraft and spare parts.