Unreported by the mainstream press, on Monday, September 2, 2013 in response to Israel’s unannounced test of its anti-missile system that entailed launching target missiles into the eastern Mediterranean, hours later Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, the second highest ranking Defense Ministry official, warned that Israel’s missile launches could have triggered a war –even a world war.
Antonov emphasized the volatility of the Syrian crisis, noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been notified immediately of the missile launches, and that the General Staff Central Command Post went on “high alert.” Alarmingly, he likened the situation to an unexpected rocket launch by Norway in 1995 that nearly caused a nuclear war. On January 25, 1995, due to a clerical error, the launch notice for a Norwegian research rocket was not passed to the Russian General Staff. They mistook the rocket for a U.S. submarine missile making a surprise electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack to paralyze Russian retaliatory capabilities. Only then President Boris Yeltsin’s refusal to “push the button” prevented nuclear armageddon.
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Summary: Neither Washington or Moscow wants a superpower war, but Presidents Obama and Putin have put their fleets in the Syrian battle space.