Media attention caused by the explosion in the occupied part of Cyprus in early July, finally eased down. Many controversial statements were made. Unfortunately, it seems that no account of the events offered, sorted out the causes of the incident in detail. Everyone seemed to be unworried by the allegations that the incident was accidental and the probability of its recurrence extremely low. However, no one was able to give convincing assurances that the incident will not be repeated in the future. Fortunately, this time the explosion on the Pentadaktylos mountain range caused no casualties. Alas, this was the case only here, in Cyprus.
Navel gazers and insular islanders as we mostly are, we tend to forget that neighbours civilians - citizens of Syria - including a baby were killed. Many cynically noticed that the Syrian authorities needed to be more careful when using their anti-aircraft missile systems. Is this is possible when we speak about the lives of innocent people? Apparently, the crew of the Syrian Air Defense systems defended their own people from the missile attacks of the Israeli Air Force. Had they not reacted, there could probably be more civilian casualties. Shouldn’t those who use lethal weapons causing inadvertently collateral damage of unnecessary human suffering, be more humane and considerate? As the Israeli authorities offered no comments, the international community apparently followed suit.
It is noteworthy that the air raid of the Israeli Air Force was carried out from the airspace of Cyprus and Lebanon. It is rather odd in this respect that the Israeli Air Force should use the Cyprus airspace to launch an attack on the soil of a third friendly country and not the national airspace of Israel. The Cypriot leadership considers Israel a friendly country, the main regional partner and protector of Cyprus interests. But let us stop for a moment and ponder: in the worst case scenario of a further Turkish advance, will Israel really come to our rescue? We are of the humble opinion that the strategic alliance with Israel, however expedient it may be at the current juncture, has to be more balanced in order to avoid unpleasant consequences which potentially damage Cyprus’ friendly relations with other immediate neighbours to the east.
Faisal Al-Mikdad, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister declared his country’s readiness to change its response to Israeli aggression. In other words, it looks like that the era of Syrian restraint in the face of Israeli Air Force raids on Syrian territory is coming to an end. In the light of the new Syrian assertiveness, no one can guarantee that in the course of repelling the next attacks of the Israeli Air Force, another load of lethal ammunition will not land on our island. Nobody, in his right mind, wants chance to become a regularity.
Like any other unilateral actions, such Israeli air attacks carry the danger of regional destabilisation. In such conditions, the national security interests of none of the Eastern Mediterranean states can be reliably ensured. We are in dire need of a truly comprehensive and multilateral approach to be adopted by all parties in order to achieve stability and security in the region.