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14
May
2018

What Role Should Israel Play in the War in Syria?


Damage to an Iranian base outside of Damascus

Damage to an Iranian base outside of Damascus after air raids attributed to Israel. First picture was taken in November 2017, the second in December 2017. (ImageSat International ISI)

Recent developments in Syria show to anyone who has not yet internalized the fact that Israel plays an integral part in the war in Syria. It is no longer appropriate to see the war in Syria as something that has nothing to do with Israel and that Israel should therefore not get involved. Anyone who runs away from a problem will find that the problem will pursue him.

For a very long time, Israel has been careful to maintain a low profile in its actions to defend its interests regarding the “red lines” to prevent of the formation of an Iranian military presence in Syria, the transfer of heavy weapons to Lebanon via Syria, and the entrenchment of terrorist elements connected with Iran opposite the Golan Heights. Within Israel’s policy, there is also the provision of humanitarian aid to the allies it has acquired among the rebels and civilians in southern Syria.

Operation Good Neighbor

(Source: IDF)

Currently, Israel has advanced to a stage of more open conflict with Iran itself in an attempt to prevent it from turning Syria into a new Lebanon – a Shiite terror state packed with missiles and other dangerous weapons.

Unlike in the past, Israel actions are no longer conducted by “unnamed sources,” but carried out openly and directly against Iran.

This Begs the Question

Since Israel is already an integral part of the war in Syria, should it only be satisfied with a direct strike against Iranian activity? Or, should Israel, like the rest of the participants in the Syrian turmoil, make a series of pacts with any side interested in an alliance? Should Israel express an opinion regarding the most appropriate solution to the Syrian problem?

It is possible to make such a deal with the Kurds, who are already allied with the United States. They are able to block the Shiite advance, and they have already proven in the war with ISIS that they are a formidable military force.

The Kurds seek a confederative solution with Syria, which would also be the best solution for Israel. Maybe a time will come when Israel can also express an opinion regarding the type of solution that it would prefer. The division of Syria seems to be the best solution for Syria in particular and for the Middle East in general.

About Pinhas Inbari

Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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