[Hat tip to: Atman]
Unusually war-like activity from Nancy Pelosi's favorite Middle Eastern dictatorship. Hold on to your burquas, rumors have been rife since June about a possible Syrian attack on Israel. All during August reports circulated about Syria moving civilians away from possible war zones. Is this the prelude?
From the World Tribune
Syria has lost a MiG-21 fighter-jet near Israel.Israel and Syria may decide to 'clear the air' between them--Middle Eastern shorthand for "wage war". Stay tuned.
Israeli officials said the Syrian Air Force sent several MiG-21s on a mission near the Golan Heights, part of which was captured by Israel in the 1967 war. They said one of the MiGs crashed on Sept. 22.
The governments of neither Israel nor Syria officially confirmed the crash of the Syrian MiG-21. The Israel Air Force has been on alert for Syrian retaliation in wake of reports of an Israeli air strike on a suspected Syrian nuclear or missile facility near the border with Iraq on Sept. 6.
The Israel Air Force has been monitoring Syrian air movements. On Sept. 22, the air force sent combat jets to the Golan Heights after a Syrian MiG disappeared from Israeli radar screens.
Officials said Syria has also moved troops south toward the Golan Heights over the last two weeks. But they said Damascus was not expected to initiate hostilities, although they did not rule out attacks by insurgency groups aligned with Syria.
Syrian chemical facilities exploding, mustard gas, MiGs downed, Israeli warnings to "wipe Syria off the face of the Earth". It's been a busy week at the Middle Eastern news bureaus.
[another Atman hat tip]
From the Washington Times:
US Intelligence Assets Step Up Watch on Syria
U.S. intelligence agencies have stepped up monitoring of Syria and Israel for signs of a new military confrontation after a recent Israeli air strike inside Syria, Bush administration officials said yesterday.
Israeli military forces remain on alert but not as ready as shortly after the night raid Sept. 6 into northern Syria, said defense and security officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
If Syria launches it's long-rumored attack on Israel, there are questions to be answered. Will chemical weapons or worse be involved? Was the warning ("We will wipe Syria from the face of the earth".) that Syria received over the weekend from Israel given because of something uncovered by the Mosaad? What role will Hezbollah and Hamas play in the war? Questions still hanging in the air at 8:30 EDT.
UPDATE AT 8:41:
In a story 21 minutes old at this writing:
From the Guardian
Syria is expected to rebuff an invitation from the US to attend a grand Middle East peace conference later this year because it does not believe that either the Bush administration or Israel wants to reach a comprehensive regional settlement.Wouldn't make much sense to attend a peace conference whlle planning, then fighting a war. Would it?
President Bashar al-Assad has made no comment on Sunday's call by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state. But diplomats said yesterday that the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Mouallem, will decline the offer when he holds talks at the UN this week - unless he receives ironclad assurances that the event will be more substantial than currently appears likely.
"Syria attaches more importance to the content than the formalities," a senior official said. "We have no interest in going just to have our photos taken."
UPDATE[9:13 EDT] As with the 'Syria's Burning' stories we did over the weekend, we may either be ahead of the curve or missing the curve. We didn't see any more on burning Syria until later Sunday or early Monday. We haven't seen anything else, for 20+ minutes. Of course, I was knocked offline for 10 minutes and just got back on. Updates will continue, if there's anything to report.
OTHER RECENT NEWS ON SYRIA@Papercuts:
Israel Vows to Wipe Syria 'from face of the earth"
Syria Trades Farm Products for N. Korean Missiles
Daring Israeli Commando Raid
Commando Raid Update
The Mysterious Four-Day Syrian Fire They Can't Put Out
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