Why is Syria holding back on Israel retaliation?

One might expect recent Israeli raids to stir international sympathy for Syria, which has now been targeted by its greatest enemy. However, the current dearth of responses to Monday's aggression suggests that foreign reactions are unlikely to meet the expectations of the gloating Syrian opposition and its supporters.

A Syrian response to the airstrike is still likely. Such action would be legal and qualify as self-defence. However, the longer this response is delayed, the greater the loss will be. This is the biggest dilemma faced by the Syrian regime, and the source of its internal and external embarrassment.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s reactions have been conservative. Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which Israel considers to be a greater concern than Syria, has remained silent thus far. The Islamic resistance movement has not implied that it will respond to the airstrike, despite the fact that missiles were launched from unprotected Lebanese airspace.

Russia still favours appeasement, and continues to make every possible effort to prevent a regional or international war in which it would become militarily involved. This explains President Vladimir Putin’s telephone call to Benjamin Netanyahu, which was perhaps intended to warn the latter of the serious consequences that any repeat of the Israeli attack could incur.

Netanyahu is unlikely to heed to these Russian warnings because his army bombed Syria and certain Republican Guard units under Washington’s guidance, to serve American interests. The bombs used in Monday’s airstrike, which destroyed repositories containing Fateh-110 missiles, were high-precision bombs designed to penetrate remote depths.

In other words, Israel will turn Syria to a laboratory to test the effectiveness of modern US weapons and their capacity for destruction, perhaps in preparation for their use against Iran if zero hour has arrived and an attack to destroy nuclear facilities deep in a mountain near the city of Qom is imminent.

Israel's aggression seeks to ignite a regional war and accelerate the fall of, or weaken, the Syrian regime, and it will not be surprising if Washington launches raids to achieve the same goal.

Any Syrian military response could open the door to war. The Syrian government is therefore required to consult with its allies, the Russians and the Iranians, before reacting. The regime has therefore resorted to using hackneyed phrases such as: "We will choose the right place and the right time."

Similar phraseology is used in relation to the responses of Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, and with regards to taking action to secure the Golan Heights for Palestinians.

The Golan front has been open since the Syrian government withdrew 20,000 soldiers in order to defend Damascus, so what is stopping the Syrian resistance, with its army and missiles, from making a move in collaboration with resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine?

We do not know what the Syrian regime is thinking or what its strategic experts are contemplating, but we do know that a failure to respond quickly is much more serious than any potential repercussions. Most awful is the silence of the Syrian regime’s enemies, who possess strong tactics and propaganda tools.

Hezbollah confronted and resisted Israeli aggression for more than thirty days in 2006. The Iraqi resistance freed its land from the American occupation, triumphing over the world's greatest ever superpower.

Even the resistance in the Gaza Strip, an area of no more than about 150 square miles, demonstrates strong opposition to Israeli aggression targeting its people, despite their modest potential and semi-primitive missiles.

Israeli aggression on Syria will not stop, and Monday’s airstrikes may be repeated tomorrow, next week or next month. If Israeli attacks cease, the United States or a European power may take over.

Syria is now a target, but the neighbouring resistance represented by Hezbollah and jihadist groups consider Israel to be a target, whether or not the Assad regime remains.

The Syria we used to know no longer exists, and the current Syria is devastated. Its people are divided and living in a state of fierce civil war. This war, now entering its third year, is gradually becoming a sectarian and ethnic war, which may extend to the entire region.

Political solutions are non-existent, and the military approach adopted by both sides during the past two years has failed. Israel entered the crisis with great strength, and we may see attempts to postpone war for a few weeks or months. Nonetheless, it will explode, and Israel may emerge from this impending war as the biggest loser. Didn’t America fail in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hasn’t the United States’ Libyan initiative proved unsuccessful thus far? So what is motivating this widespread fear of responding to their aggression?