The announcement by Russia on Monday to transfer its advanced S-300 air-defense system to the Syrian government within two weeks is a disturbing yet surmountable challenge to Israel. In a move that can only be interpreted as an intended punishment against Israel, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow would transfer the system, as well as electronic warfare systems, to Syria’s air-defense units, arming them with advanced weapons to use against the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The move comes as a response to the downing of a Russian intelligence-gathering aircraft last week,

which was shot out of the sky by Syrian air-defense units that fired recklessly while trying to hit Israeli jets. The IAF had struck an Iranian shipment of manufacturing kits for precision missiles, which Iran was planning to smuggle to Hezbollah in Lebanon. A number of initial conclusions can be drawn from Russia’s announcement. The first is that the IAF’s job in Syria–to prevent Iran from flooding the region with weapons and military units–is about to get even more complicated. But that does not mean that this is a “mission impossible.” READ MORE