By Fatemeh Mohammadipour

S-300 restricts Israel air superiority in Syria: Lefebvre

October 15, 2018

TEHRAN - If the S 300 high-level missile is delivered to Syria, Could limit air superiority Israel.

A reporter at Tehran Times newspaper recently interviewed Jeffrey Lefebvre Professor in the Political Science department at University of Connecticut to further discuss the issue.

Following is the complete text of the interview with Jeffrey Lefebvre.

Q: Following the crash of the Russian plane in Syria, which took place under the trick of Israel, Russia announced that the S 300 will be delivered to Syria. What are Russia's reasons for this?

A: The Russians seem to be sending a strong message to Israel about abiding by the ‘unwritten agreement’ the two sides have shared over the situation in Syria.  In short, the Russians allowed the Israeli air force to operate in Syrian air space to target Iranian and Hezbollah forces and arms supply routes in Syria and to keep these forces away from Israel’s northern border (in the occupied Golan region).  In return Israel did not participate in Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Crimea.  Thus, a lot is at risk for Israel if the more sophisticated Russian S 300 missiles are delivered to Syria which could seriously jeopardize Israel’s ability to launch air strikes—several hundred over the past several years.

Q: Israel has said that Russia's action is dangerous and will increase tensions in the region. What is the likely reaction of Israel if this plan is operational?

A: The Israeli reaction is likely to be one of continuing to deny responsibility for the downing of the Russian aircraft, pressing Moscow not to deliver the S 300 missiles that have already been delayed by Moscow for delivery to Syria by five years that would threaten Israeli air superiority over Syria, and to ensure the Russian-Israeli ‘agreement’ about Israeli air operations in Syria.

Q: With delivery of S 300 system to Syria, What changes will be made in the balance of power of the region?

A: The Balance of Power between Syria and Israel will be affected somewhat if the S 300 missiles are delivered as they would threaten Israel’s ability to conduct air strikes in Syria largely unopposed.  The more important, long-range issue may involve current and future Russian and Iranian influence in Syria. President Assad seems to be on the verge of winning the civil was in Syria, helped by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.  Interestingly, Russia’s ‘agreement’ not to challenge Israeli air strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria may well continue as it seems to be a tactic to degrade Iranian influence in a post-civil war Syria and clear the way for Russian hegemony in Syria.  

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