Friday, August 30, 2013

30-Aug-13: Preparing for peace or whatever comes

Iron Dome deployed in Tel Aviv, facing north
[Image Source: Motti Kinchi, Ynet]
The UN's chemical weapons inspectors are all running, not walking, to leave Syria as we write this. But for us ordinary folk, there is not that much we can do to deal with the rush of events.

IDF today deployed several more Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the Dan region around Tel Aviv and in the north. When an Iron Dome battery was last deployed in Tel Aviv, during the November 2012 shooting war with Hamas in Gaza, it was directed to Gaza in the south. Not this time.

And while Israel goes through various steps to upgrade its readiness in the event that trouble comes flying in from the north and the east, it's hard not to notice that the US Secretary of Defence is taking part in a conference of Southeast Asian defense officials in Brunei (its actual formal name is Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace). We assume Chuck Hagel's email account is working well. Is his absence somehow connected to the US attack strategy? The Wall Street Journal says
President Obama said Thursday he hasn't decided whether to attack Syria, adding that any strike would be a brief "shot across the bow" in response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. We can't recall another President suggesting his goal was to miss his military target. ["A Serious Bombing Strategy", Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2013]
Back here in the abode that is unfortunately threatening to be less peaceful, several longer-range Patriot anti-missile batteries were put into service in the north and in the center of Israel today. And the readiness level of Arrow 2 batteries, designed to intercept long-range missiles from deep inside Syria or Iran, was also reportedly raised.

Times of Israel's Haviv Rettig Gur, its Israel political correspondent, says Israeli officials continue to emphasize that whatever next happens in Syria is unlikely to involve Israel. We're certainly hoping he knows.

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