Israel has chosen to use the Syrian civil war to its full advantage by doing a great deal of damage to one of Syria’s closest allies, when the Syrian military and its terrorist buddies are too preoccupied to offer a formidable response. The Jewish state recently destroyed some chemical weapons and missiles in Syria that were about to be delivered to Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militant group that wants Israel wiped off the Earth.
Hezbollah has a strong arsenal of guns and rockets, but, like most other countries, would not fare too well in a full-on war with Israel. That’s why they made friends with Syria and Iran, two other countries who also hate Israel. Syria and Iran teamed up in the late seventies/early eighties to take on Iraq and they sought out Hezbollah a few years later for the extra man power and influence in Lebanese politics. In exchange for their military assistance, Hezbollah was rewarded with a ton of weapons and protection from any political opposition in Lebanon.
Anyway, right now Syria is in the middle of a terrible civil war that is showing little if any signs of ceasing anytime soon. Hezbollah has been helping out the Syrian military fight off the endless assault of rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and receiving new batches of weapons in return. Most of these weapons came from or were funded by Iran, who many believe is supplying weapons to both Hezbollah and the rebels just to maximize profits off the war.
Israel has always wanted an excuse to stage a massive attack on Hezbollah and Hezbollah has wanted to completely eliminate Israel ever since Israel occupied Southern Lebanon in the early eighties. Hell, Israel probably would have just bombed all of Lebanon by now if it weren’t for the response it would trigger from Iran or the sanctions the U.S. would have to force on them as a result.
So they’ve settled for putting a big gap in Hezbollah’s flow of incoming weapons and thus making them much less capable of staging any sort of offensive on Israel in the near future. It’s almost guaranteed that Syria and Hezbollah won’t do anything in response because they are both too invested in the problems at hand. The Syrian government didn’t even recognize that an Israeli plane was flying over its own country!
And even if Syria does retaliate, this would be the best chance Israel has of ridding itself of one or even two enemies the least difficult way possible. Syria said it would launch a few missiles and let Hezbollah ground soldiers loose in Israel if Israel bombed another weapons shipment. You could even argue that Israel wants Syria to strike back so it could easily destroy the missiles with its incredible defense system and have an excuse to take out a gang of Hezbollah guerillas along with the regime that should have gotten the Saddam Hussein treatment a long time ago.
Syria and Hezbollah have been enemies of Israel for so long and the only way to end this feud is if the two allies are weakened to the point where they pose no threat to the Jewish state. Hezbollah and Syria have basically done this to themselves by sacrificing so many bodies to this civil war. The work Israel would eventually have to do in combatting at least one of these factions in the next few years is already at least a quarter of the way done.
Israel has stated many times before that they would take action if any high-tech weaponry were to be transported to Hezbollah, meaning anything more destructive than the traditional rocket. When Syria accused Israel of basically declaring war on them by dropping bombs in Syria, Israel simply said that the attacks were not meant to harm the power of the Syrian government and that they would like to remain neutral in the midst of this horrific civil war.
If anything, it can be said that the militant group Israel is most worried about is the band of Islamic jihadists who are also trying to overthrow the Syrian government. These radicals are clearly more reckless than the Syrian army and they’ve received an intimidating arsenal of weapons from Iran and several unconfirmed sources.
Even though there is only an extremely slight chance that they’ll gain the military muscle comparable to the Syrian army or the organized Syrian coalition funded by the U.S., Israel still would not want to take its chances and make itself the No. 1 target for these jihadists if they ever gain the power they are looking for.
But these radicals, a good portion of which could be affiliated with al-Qaeda, will also have to be dealt with sooner or later by Israeli/U.S. forces. It’s not like they are just going to go away even if the organized Syrian opposition that the U.S. funds succeeds in pushing the Syrian government out of power. That being said, Israel would want to make sure they only have to worry about one group of Jew-hating terrorists come the end of the civil war.
After the success of this attack on Hezbollah weapons, Israel will be investigating any other opportunities to interfere with Hezbollah’s quest for power when they aren’t watching their backs once again.