In an interesting and under-reported development, a US official has said more than 100 fighters aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad died when coalition and local coalition-backed forces thwarted a large attack overnight on February 7.
Judging by the fast moving escalations on both sides, such a scenario is no longer far-fetched as the recent war-like developments are quickly becoming a prelude to something wider and more ominous.
The weekend also suggests Russian Federation is now an essential arbiter in the region where nobody considers Syria's borders anything other than lines on a map, and preparations for a war on Iran progress. It fears Iran could use Syrian territory to stage attacks or create a land corridor from Iran to Lebanon that could allow it to transfer weapons more easily to Hezbollah.
On the visit, Liberman said that Israel was doing its best to avoid war, as per a conversation Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday.
Israeli planes frequently attack targets in Syria.
Indeed, a quick look at the map shows that, if successful, Iran would have influence over of a big chunk of the Middle East, allowing Shiite, Persian Iran to threaten more Sunni Arab states and almost encircle American ally, Israel. "Claims about the flight of an Iranian drone are too ridiculous to be addressed because the Islamic Republic of Iran has an advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country's legitimate and constitutional government", Bahram Qassemi, a spokesperson from the Iranian Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by the Tehran Times. Russian Federation made no mention of the initial incident which triggered the retaliation, the Iranian drone. The organization fought in the Syrian Civil War and lost more than 2,000 members to this date.
Hence the Iranian determination to follow through with this strategy despite their clear understanding of Israel's red lines. While Trump campaigned on taking a tougher stance towards Iran and tearing up the nuclear deal, in practice he has imposed "sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps" and offered an "uncompromising indictment of the nature of the Iranian regime at the United Nations, but he has not reversed the nuclear deal or taken significant action to roll back Iran's expansionism".
It often seems that Iran and the Syrian regime are speaking the same narrative.
Israel says Saturday's incident began when an Iranian drone entered its airspace. Hezbollah may be arming itself with advanced weaponry, but it is not interested in fighting another devastating conflict with Israel that could spread to Lebanon.
"The Iranian activity should, of course, bother us". Russia's statement urging "all sides to exercise restraint" indicated that it was not supportive of Iran's provocations that might put the Kremlin's "project" of saving the Assad regime at risk.
Bibi and the FDD want to see USA power deployed alongside that of Israel, against Iran, Assad and Hezbollah. This will only garner them more support from the rest of the Muslim world.
"I think that this incident is likely to be contained", he said.
Nonetheless, Russia appears to be the sole country capable of playing the role of mediator, as Moscow has warm ties with both Iran and Israel.
What outcome would justify another USA war in a region where all the previous wars in this century have left us bleeding, bankrupt, divided and disillusioned?