Israeli plans for Iran go back years
For more than a decade, Israel systematically has built up its military specifically for a possible strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. It has sent its air force on long-distance training missions, procured American-made “bunker-busting” bombs and bolstered its missile defenses.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threats to strike Iran, voiced last week during a high-profile visit to the White House, were not empty bluster. Although a unilateral Israeli attack probably would not destroy Iran’s nuclear program, it appears capable, at least for now, of inflicting a serious blow.
“If Israel attacks, the intention is more to send a message of determination, a political message instead of a tactical move,” said Yiftah Shapir, a former Israeli air force officer who is now a military analyst at the INSS think tank in Tel Aviv.
Activists: Civilians killed in reprisals
Syrian activists said Monday that pro-government gunmen killed at least 16 people, including some children, in a rebel stronghold recaptured by the government, fueling concerns the government is carrying out reprisals in territory it has taken back.
State media in Damascus, which often ignores activists’ claims, confirmed killings in Homs but blamed “armed terrorists,” as it frequently calls those behind the yearlong uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime.
At the United Nations, the U.S. and Russia clashed after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the divided Security Council to speak with one voice and help Syria “pull back from the brink of a deeper catastrophe.”
Washington and Moscow both called for an end to the bloody conflict — but on different terms, leaving prospects for U.N. action in doubt.