For Israel, It's Open Skies Over Syria and Iraq

Oct 14, 2019 | 10:00 GMT

This picture taken on Aug. 25, 2019, from a tourist lookout point at an Israeli army outpost on Mount Bental in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a directional sign for Damascus.

Syria and Iraq, struggling to cope with Israel's aerial might, want to bolster their air deterrent, but that could come with some unintended consequences.

(JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images)


  • Syria and Iraq's inability to secure their airspaces from Israeli airstrikes will lead them to try and acquire better air defense systems.
  • New equipment, particularly from Russia, could increase the deterrent against Israeli strikes, but it won't provide a foolproof solution.
  • But even if Syria and Iraq gain more control over their airspace, their ability to shoot down Israeli aircraft could ignite new conflicts.

Syria and Iraq are facing a common conundrum in their respective skies: a persistent Israeli air campaign that has targeted Iranian and Iran-linked assets. Limitations of both countries' air defense capabilities, has given Israel free range to conduct its campaign. Now, however, they may be trying to rectify this disadvantage amid recent reports that Russia is considering the sale of high-end radar systems to unidentified Middle Eastern countries. If they made such a purchase, however, it could cause unexpected problems for Damascus and Baghdad: The systems won't be enough to completely halt the Israeli campaign, but they would pose a significant enough challenge to Israel's jets that their use could touch off a new round of conflict in the area. ...

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