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Syria-Israel Tensions: Israel’s Superpower Status in Question after Shooting of Israeli F-16

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Syria-Israel Tensions are not new, but shooting down of an Israeli fighter jet in the disputed “Golan Heights”, has inflamed the matters. Israel has continually exerted itself as a superpower in the Middle East but Syria (backed by Russia and Iran) recently shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet, which raised questions about Israel’s superpower status. EurAsian Times has prepared a brief analysis of the opinion of the Russian Media.

This sudden rise of the Syria-Israel tensions surged after Israel claimed that one of the Israeli warplanes was within the airspace of Syria to detect an Iran drone operating within the region of Iran. As facts came to light, it was discovered that the drone was actually within the Golan Heights, a land in the Syria region that has been unlawfully captured by Israel ever since 1967.

Rising Syria-Israel Tensions Show that Israeli Warplanes are Not Invincible

Contrary to the common belief this shooting down of the Iranian F-16 has made it loud and clear that the warplanes of Iran can be defeated. The incident led to Israel playing the victim card to Arab wrath. However, this attack by Syria is clearly an act of self-defence after Israel has repeatedly violated the sovereign laws.

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Although Israel has always been presented as a ‘bystander’ in the Syria conflict, the head of the Israel Air Force stated that the nation had led several operations in Syria, in the previous year. In fact, Israel is an accomplice to many bombings in Syria, arming of the Jihadist terror groups in the Golan region, provided medical aid to terror groups and many other factors that are coming to light and igniting the Syria-Israel tension.

Support To Al-Qaeda – Main Reason for Syria-Israel Tensions

Supporting Al-Qaeda aids Israel in two ways- gaining power over the Golan region and weakening of Hezbollah. This attack on the F-16 is thus a retaliation that had long been due on Syria’s part. This is the first time, since 1982, that Syria has taken down a warplane from Israel. The Damascus leaders have continually warned against a retaliation to the persistent aggression by Israel.

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Although Israel claims to have completely destroyed the air defence of Syria, the Syrian government denies any such destruction. In fact, Syria is ‘winning the war’ by overpowering all the rebel groups and numerous attempts by the west to overthrow the Syrian power, and reclaiming their land against all odds.

How Will Syria React to Israeli Aggression?

A war-like situation between Israel and Hezbollah has long been expected. Hezbollah has gained much power and might since the last war between the two. Hezbollah is also stronger with Iraq and Syria on its side. Israel is unlikely to step into this war, for now. Now that the Syria-Israel tensions are at an all new peak and Syria has proved its wrath and might, Israel might take a step back.

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Additionally, Syria also has the support of US for its democratic front and the support of Russia aiding its government. The Syria-Israel tensions are high but all aspects favour Syria presently. Syria has announced and openly declared that it will not stand back and retaliate to any aggression or act of wrath by Israel.

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India Committed to Funding, Building Chabahar Railway Project In Iran – Indian Officials

TOI quoting senior officials at the Indian embassy in the Iranian capital said, “India is committed to building the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line and is continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

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On the recent reports that Iran had sidelined India from the Chabahar port railway project, New Delhi has contradicted Iran’s assertions that it is out of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project.

Iran-India Chabahar Port Deal: Iran Kicks-Out India from Chabahar Rail Project citing funding delays

Senior Indian officials saying that New Delhi remained “committed” to financing and building the railway which is a vital part of the Chabahar port project, reports the Times of India.

TOI quoting senior officials at the Indian embassy in the Iranian capital said, “India is committed to building the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line and is continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

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The Iranian government source according to the reports explained – It was anticipated that besides investment in the Chabahar Port, New Delhi could also play a significant role in financing and building this vital transit route from Chabahar to Zahedan and from Zahedan to Sarakhs at the border with Turkmenistan which in the absence of active Indian engagement & funding is being developed by Iran.

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The Zahedan railway project reportedly has two elements — the ‘sub-structure’ which is earth-moving and making the ground for the tracks and the ‘super-structure’ which comprises the tracks and rakes. Tehran is responsible for the first part while New Delhi for the rest. However, the Indian part needs steel which is presently under US sanctions, and this has caused a delay, states the TOI report.

The port, however, is doing exhilarating business and has been shielded from US sanctions purely by Indian diplomacy.

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US Troops Withdraw From Five Bases in Afghanistan As Part Of Peace Deal With Taliban – Officials

The US has withdrawn from five military bases in Afghanistan. Afghan media outlet Tolo reported the five U.S. bases that closed are located in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces, in southern and eastern Afghanistan. 

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The US has closed five military bases in Afghanistan as part of an agreement with the Taliban, a Pentagon official said Tuesday. The official, who wanted to remain anonymous, confirmed the bases were in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces.

According to the deal, the US had 135 days to fulfil its pledge to reduce troops to 8,600 from nearly 14,000 in the conflict-hit country, which ended Monday.

The agreement was signed Feb. 29 and is aimed at reducing violence in hopes of fostering bilateral talks between the Afghan government and the extremist group to end the war-torn nation’s 18-year conflict.

The Taliban agreed not to allow al-Qaeda, Daesh or any other militant group to operate in areas they control, as part of the pact.

“The U.S. has worked hard to carry out the 1st phase of its commitments under the Agreement, including to reduce forces & depart five bases. NATO troops have come down in proportional numbers,” Khalilzad said on Twitter.

Afghan media outlet Tolo News reported the five U.S. bases that closed are located in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces, in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The larger U.S. bases in Bagram, located outside Kabul, and Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan remain open.

Despite the reduction in U.S. soldiers as part of the pact, violence between the Taliban and Afghan forces has spiked in recent months, according to the Afghan government.

Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, US President Donald Trump has reiterated his resolve to “bring our soldiers back home” from Afghanistan, publicly questioning the purpose of the U.S. military presence in the war-torn region of Afghanistan.

Donald Trump reemphasised his objective amid reports that the ongoing U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “is well ahead of schedule” outlined in a historical pact signed between the US and Taliban to end the nearly 19-year-old war.

“We are acting as a police force, not the fighting force that we are, in Afghanistan,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. After 19 years, it was time for Afghan authorities to police their own country, he wrote.

Under the U.S.-Taliban pact, Washington had promised to reduce its military strength in Afghanistan from about 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July before withdrawing all soldiers, along with several thousand partners in a NATO-led non-combatant mission by mid-2021.

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Pakistan Affirms Full Support To Turkey On The Eve Of Defeated Coup In Ankara

Pakistan, he added, “stands by Turkey and has been taking all possible steps to support Turkey’s efforts to address the threat posed by Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO),” the group behind the defeated coup.

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Pakistani PM Imran Khan has reaffirmed his country’s support and solidarity for Turkey on the eve of the July 15, 2016, defeated coup. Pakistan and Turkey share a historical bond and both nations are viewed as ‘iron brothers’. 

“Four years ago the Turkish people displayed their characteristic resilience and legendary bravery to defy the forces of darkness targeting Turkey’s peace and stability as well as its democratic institutions,” Imran Khan said in his message for Democracy and National Unity Day, a public holiday in Turkey.

“The saga of human courage and determination witnessed on July 15, 2016 was indeed an inspiration for millions across the globe and will be remembered in the annals of history.”

Drawing parallels with Khilafat Movement, Khan said the spirit of Turks on that day was similar to what “motivated our forefathers not to hesitate from making any sacrifice for their Turkish brethren a century ago.”

In 1918, South Asian Muslims struggled to save the Ottoman Empire from falling.

“We join the people of Turkey in honouring the martyrs and supporting their families,” the Pakistani premier said.

Pakistan, he added, “stands by Turkey and has been taking all possible steps to support Turkey’s efforts to address the threat posed by Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO),” the group behind the defeated coup.

The speakers of lower and upper houses of parliament also expressed solidarity in separate statements.

“We always have, and will continue to stand by Turkey in the face of all challenges,” said Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

Pakistanis stood by Turkey on the night of July 15, 2016, and will continue to do so, said National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser.

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