The Rachel Maddow Show | January 30, 2013
>>> map time! here is the part of the world where more than anywhere else you need to be looking at a map to understand what's going on there in the news on any given day. for reference, here is where our current war is. that's afghanistan. now, the eight and a half yearlong war that we just finished up, that was here. oh, what's that one big country right in between our two wars? that would be iran , and we know why the u.s. feels antsy about iran . this shows in part why iran feels antsy about us. mostly because of the impact of our iraq war , iran now exerts considerable influence in iraq. iran also has considerable influence in lebanon and the terrorist group hezbollah that operates out of lebanon . lebanon not only has a big board were israel , lebanon also has a big border with syria . and syria , of course, is embroiled in a raging and brutal civil war . look where the capital city of syria is relative to this map. look how close it is to lebanon and to israel , this ravaged capital city in this horrible ongoing war . and it is that geography that explains why there was an international gasp and shock today when this headline crossed, that israel had sent planes to bomb inside syria . or maybe it was on the border between syria and lebanon , depending on which headline you read and who they had asked for information on the ground. but if israel is sending bombers now deep into syria , or just over the border, does that mean this war inside syria , this 2-year-old awful civil war has just gone international? specifically, has it become a war that involves israel too? and at least iranian interests, if not iran itself? did a much bigger war just start? joining us now from cairo is aman al hadin. it's really nice of you to be here, especially staying up so late. what do we know about this today, especially where it was?
>> well, we can start off with what we officially know from the sources of those that we have been speaking to. one, the syrian government has come out confirming the air strike did take place. it does not say it happened along the border.
>> it does not say it took place targeting a convoy, but rather at a research facility northwest of damascus. it also confirmed that two people were killed, five were injured, and there was substantial material damage. we also know from the lebanese government that in fact israeli airplanes violated lebanese airspace multiple times on wednesday in an attempt to suggest that israeli airplanes flew in the direction of syria . we haven't heard yet from hezbollah . their media has been silent. they have not confirm anything that has happened as a result of what we've been reporting on today. and we've also learned from the united states government that in fact israel carried out air strikes targeting a convoy that was carrying weapons to hezbollah . we haven't heard anything from the israeli government . so you can see on that map that you just pointed out, a lot of players, a lot of different mixed signals.
>> we don't generally expect to hear israel cop to do things like this. in the past when they have done things not exactly like this, but similar to this, they generally make a policy of not announcing it. in 2007 , when israel bombed a nuclear reactor in syria , neither israel nor syria said that it happened. and it was widely viewed that syria not admitting that that strike had happened sort of gave them more of a pass than thigh they might otherwise have had in terms of retaliating. the fact that syria is confirming that this happened today, does that mean that there is going to be some sort of next step, either syria is going to do something or hezbollah is going to do something or iran is going to do something?
>> well, you know, in the past, the policy has been kind of intentionally ambiguous.any of the regiona l players like to keep it so they aren't forced into a corner and have to come out and react. in recent days, the iranian government has said that an attack on syria would be considered an attack on iran . now, to what extent that is going to be tested remains to be seen. we know that in the past, hezbollah has also defended syria and has said that it would in any case if it felt that it was being attacked also join the fight there to defend its sovereignty and lebanese sovereignty. so really, it's a matter of interpretation. and as you said, since we don't officially know who was behind it, it's very difficult to anticipate how either one of these or any of these party mace respond. the syrian military and the government is really bogged down in this civil war . it probably doesn't have the capabilities at this stage to engage in a regional war. the question really depends now on what would hezbollah do in southern lebanon towards northern israel , and more importantly, whether iran would actually deliver on its promise to defend syria if it is in fact attacked.
>> wow, aman, thank you for staying up late for us. this is impressive but a scary situation. it's good to have you perspective on it. thanks a lot.
>>> john kerry is about to become our new secretary of state. just in time. the world is a complicated place right now. john kerry 's replacement as a u.s. senator turns out also to be complicated. hold on. we'll be right back with that. is a