Iran Brig. Gen. Hassan Shateri killed in last Israeli bombing in Syria?
The Free Syrian Army, one of the main rebel forces battling to topple Assad's minority Alawite regime, claimed Thursday that Shateri, along with several aides, was killed in Israel's Jan. 30 airstrike on Jamraya, near Zabadani.
| This is about the twelfth story we've had sent to the Burg in the last few days about Shateri. May I ask that future posts and referrals focus on anything new that comes up?|
There were unconfirmed reports at the time that there had been Iranian casualties in the air raid but FSA officials said the death of Shateri and his officers weren't disclosed at the time because to have done so would have had "consequences."
This wasn't explained but the Israelis claimed they blasted a convoy that was transporting Syrian-provided, Russian-built SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles to Lebanon for Hezbollah which would have directly challenged Israel's long-held absolute air superiority over Lebanon for the first time.
Direct Iranian involvement in that alleged operation would have raised the stakes in the 22-month-old Syrian civil war to dangerous levels, that could trigger an Iranian response against the Jewish state at a time when the two rivals were locked in a potentially explosive confrontation over Iran's nuclear program.
It's not clear whether the FSA's purpose on this is to emphasize the extent of Iran's involvement in the war in hopes of persuading the reluctant Americans and their European allies they must drop their refusal to intervene militarily to support the rebel campaign to oust the 43-year Assad regime.
But the welter of often contradictory reports concerning the slaying of Shateri reflects the increasing complexity of the Syrian civil war.
It also sheds a glimmer of light on the clandestine nature of the conflict that many believe threatens a regional sectarian war and the subterfuge that permeates it.
For one thing, the killing shows Shateri's security was penetrated by his enemies, a serious setback for the Iranians.
The one sure thing that seems to be emerging in the aftermath of Shateri's assassination, although it's still not clear who was behind it, is that he was a man of importance in Iran's efforts to retain its power and influence in the Levant through Syria and Hezbollah.
Posted by: Water Modem