Israel will block ‘Iranian aggression’ after Syria strikes

Missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (SANA via AP)
Updated 21 January 2019

Israel will block ‘Iranian aggression’ after Syria strikes

  • Netanyahu said Israel’s air strikes on Syria had mainly targeted military positions set up by Iran
  • The chain of events sparked concerns of an escalation

RAMON AIRPORT, Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday Israel would not allow “Iranian aggression,” after its military struck what it called Iranian targets in Syria in response to missile fire.
“Yesterday evening, the air force struck a strong blow against Iranian targets in Syria after Iran fired a missile from there toward Israel,” Netanyahu said at an inauguration ceremony for a new airport in southern Israel.
“We do not allow such acts of aggression to pass by. We are acting against Iran and against the Syrian forces who are tools of Iranian aggression.”
Israel struck what it said were facilities belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force early Monday in response to a missile attack it blamed on Iran.
The surface-to-surface missile, fired toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday and intercepted by air defenses, followed an alleged Israeli strike in southern Syria.
The chain of events sparked concerns of an escalation, after a monitor reported 11 fighters killed in the overnight Israeli strikes.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian military targets and advanced arms deliveries to Tehran-backed Hezbollah.
It rarely publicly confirms them, though has in recent days spoken about the raids more openly.
Israel has pledged to keep arch-foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in neighboring Syria.


Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

Updated 10 December 2019

Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

  • The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new PM unraveled
  • Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29

BEIRUT/PARIS: Lebanon does not expect new aid pledges at conference which France is hosting on Wednesday to press for the quick formation of a new government that can tackle an acute financial crisis.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Lebanon to create a new government swiftly or risk the crisis worsening and threatening the country’s stability.
The economic crisis is the worst since the 1975-90 civil war: a liquidity crunch has led banks to enforce capital controls and the Lebanese pound to slump by one third.
Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29, prompted by protests against the ruling elite, with no agreement on a new government.
Nadim Munla, senior adviser to Hariri, who is running the government as caretaker, told Reuters the Paris meeting would probably signal a readiness to offer support once a government is formed that commits to reforms.
“They will recognize that there is a short-term problem and that if and when a government (is formed) that basically responds to the aspirations of people, most probably the international community will be ready to step in and provide support to Lebanon, or additional support,” he said.
“It is not a pledging conference.”
Lebanon won pledges of over $11 billion at a conference last year conditional on reforms that it has failed to implement. The economic crisis is rooted in years of corruption and waste that have generated one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.
The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new prime minister unraveled.
Hariri is now seen as the only candidate for the post.
He has said he would only lead a cabinet of specialist ministers, believing this is the way to address the economic crisis, attract aid, and satisfy protesters who have been in the streets since Oct. 17 seeking the removal of a political class blamed for corruption and misrule.
But Hezbollah and its allies including President Michel Aoun say the government must include politicians.
“Let’s see the coming few days and if there will be an agreement among the political parties on a formation ... otherwise we might take longer,” Munla said. Hariri would be willing to have politicians in cabinet but they should not be “the regular known faces of previous governments.”