Israel will continue air operations against Iranian forces and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group despite Russia’s delivery of S-300 missile systems to Syria, former Russian Ambassador to Damascus and political analyst Alexander Zotov told a roundtable in Moscow on Monday.
“There is a narrative in Israel, among experts, among political analysts and in the media, that is being fueled by statements of Defense Minister [Avigdor] Lieberman and even of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu himself, that generally ‘we [Israel] are not going to deviate from our course of responding to any actions by Iran and Hezbollah which present a potential threat to us, and no one and nothing can stop us’,” Zotov said.
“That is why many people in Israel think that there could be some kind of a demonstrative attack, maybe even at an imaginary facility, maybe far away from all those systems being deployed in Syria now, in order to avoid striking any facilities with Russian servicemen, in order to make it looks like everything is fine and everything goes according to plan,” he added.
The expert noted Israel should be able to understand how risky it is to carry out such operations without coordination with Russia. “In the situation when our air defense systems are given to Syria, the responsibility for retaliatory strikes will lie with Syrians, and we will thus get a room for maneuver,” Zotov said. “Because what Syrians do represents a natural right of any country to defend its territory from an outside threat,” he added