Several days after Israeli air force struck targets inside Syria, President Bashar al-Asad bravely condemned the assault. Moreover, he also asserted with defiance that Israel is trying to “destabilize” Syria, debunking thereby the claims that, by striking a part of Syria’s sovereign territory, Israel was trying to promote Arab unity and social justice from the gulf to the ocean. The Syrian regime reserved for itself once more the right to retaliate when it sees fit, augmenting thereby the rights that it affords itself to retaliate to Israeli strikes inside Syrian territories. In 2007, Israel also struck targets north of Syria and the regime was not quick in responding with defiance also by condemning the attack and reserving for itself the right to respond when it saw fit. When you collect three instances in which you are attacked and you reserve for yourself the right to retaliate, you get a prize from the international community.
As if these retaliatory actions were not sufficient, Syria also formally complained to the United Nations about the attack.
For its part, the US administration yet again demonstrated its customary political integrity in foreign relations in its dealing with the news of a hostile attack on one’s soil. Its response to the Israeli strike against Syria was literally to warn Syria about transferring weapons to Hizballah. Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said “Syria should not further destabilise the region by transferring weaponry to Hezbollah.” The best analysis attributes this concern to the potential ability of Hizballah to strike Israeli jet fighters that have never stopped violating Lebanese airspace since 2000, or to F-16s and F-18s that bomb Lebanese cities, quarters, and villages to smithereens, as in summer 2006. The US administration, consistent with previous US administrations, takes sovereignty very seriously when it involves allies, a perfectly understandable position. What is confusing to the US government, however, are the attempts by state and non-state actors to defend themselves against the violation of their airspace and the destruction of their land and peoples.
Instead, the US administration suggested the export to Lebanon of water/soap bubble dispensers that, upon impact, over the years, might cause the sides of jet fighters either to rust or experience discoloration. (a yellow duck dispenser will be provided to avoid suspicion, and to match Hizballah’s colors, which is a really nice touch).