According to Reuters and Agence France-Presse, Israeli warplanes in what appears to have been a deep penetration, reconnaissance mission over Syrian territory, were fired upon by Syrian anti-aircraft batteries and in consequence dropped bombs upon apparently desert spaces (see: www.reuters.com & www.afp.com) . The area in question appears to have been in northern Syria. The reaction of the two sides is of interest by merely contrast: while the Syrian official media have denounced the Israeli incursion and warned of possible Syrian reprisals, the Israeli government has been conspicuously silent, with a flurries of 'no comment', being issued. Is today's incident a harbinger of a possible future Arab-Israeli war? While there has been rumors going back to the Spring of this year, that a war was in the offing between Tel Aviv and Damascus, in point of fact, until today's incident nothing of the sort had given the least indication that any such thing might occur. Does today's incident change the underlying situation? While alarmist reports might cause one to think otherwise, I am still skeptical that any such thing will be likely to occur in the future.
Why? Well neither side has reason to indulge in any such 'jeu'. For Israel: the 'fruits' of any such conflict would in essence be a confirmation of the status quo ante bellum. And, the decapitation of the regime in power in Damascus. There is nothing to suggest that Tel Aviv, would want any such thing to occur. Either now or in the future. Unlike the neo-conservative cretins in Washington, the 'official mind' in Israel, quite realistically recognizes the downfall via military defeat of the Alawite regime in Damascus would result in one of two things: a) chaos and civil war, leading to; b) the establishment of a Sunni-based, fundamentalist regime `a la Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. A regime which would contrary to the current one, be openly and fiercely opposed to the status quo, and, would use all of its powers and resources to upset the same.
In the case of Damascus, notwithstanding the occasional rhetoric coming from those in power, about redeeming the Golan, in point of fact, those in authority quite easily recognize that in any military conflict with Israel, the regime would be both defeated and overthrown. There is nothing to suggest that Assad Fils' Baathist regime, has any ambitions to follow Saddam Hussein's one into the dustbin of history. The only parties that would have anything to gain from any such conflict are ideologues in various American and (to a much lesser extent) Israeli think tanks, and, of course the exiled Muslim Brotherhood, as well as more outre Islamic extremists. Al-Quaida being of course one of the same. At this time, the best and most intelligent course for American diplomacy, a course which unfortunately will have to wait until the next President is in power, is for Washington to press hard on a settlement of the Golan issue between the two countries. Every day that is lost, is simply a harbinger of a possibility that an 'incident', such as occurred today, might just might get out of hand. Again, the likelihood of such a thing occurring is practically nil, but, that does not obviate the possibility of it occurring. And, it is precisely to prevent the same, that Great Power diplomacy is needed and required. Hopefully before it is too late.