Audacious Israeli air strikes targeting a major Syrian military facility producing chemical weapons and the precision-guided missiles needed to deliver them provide a timely demonstration of what so-called “red lines” should mean when confronted with global security challenges. The attacks on the facility at Masyaf, in western Syria, came nine days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of Iranian efforts to use Syria and Lebanon as “war fronts” for its goal of eradicating Israel. “This is something Israel cannot accept,” he said.

Unlike Barack Obama when he made his pointless and ultimately highly damaging warning that the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people in 2013 crossed a “red line”, but then did nothing, Mr Netanyahu meant what he said — and he acted resolutely to make good on his word. The Masyaf base, with Iranian forces as well those of the Assad regime, is a branch of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, a Syrian government agency the US and others have accused of producing chemical weapons such as the sarin gas used in April’s horrifying attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Coinciding with Israel’s strike, the UN finally placed the blame for that attack squarely on the Assad regime.

 

Read the full editorial at The Australian (subscription only).

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