Israel changing approach to Syria war amid Assad's advance

Israeli officials believe West must intervene in favor of moderate rebels as they fear that regime's victory would be victory for Iran as well

Israel changing approach to Syria war amid Assad's advance

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israel’s approach to events in Syria seems about to change in light of the Assad regime’s successes, assisted by Russia and Iran. The change will not be translated into military action, but it is clear that the progress of the regime and its supporters, coupled with a lack of initiative by Western countries, are sources of concern and criticism in Jerusalem.

Three understandings are emerging as Israel updates its positions in light of developments: First, an Assad victory would be bad for Israel because it would also mean victory for Assad's allies, Iran and Hezbollah.

Second, despite the heavy Russian bombings and internal disagreements in its ranks, the Syrian opposition is far from vanquished.

The third is that the West must rouse itself from its inaction and try to send real military aid to what Israeli security officials describe as a kind of third force, the Syrian opposition and the Kurdish armed groups, so they, too, will stand up against the regime as well as against the ISIL.

Israel would consider an Assad victory a bad option because it would strengthen Iran, whose standing has already improved since the nuclear agreement in Vienna in July, lifting of sanctions and relative warming of ties between Tehran and the West. The regime's takeover of southern Syria, especially the border of the Golan Heights, 90 percent of which is under opposition control, would once again create a line of contact with Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syrian territory.

Although intelligence predictions are not uniform, Israel's security leaders tend to assume that it is too early to declare an Assad victory. The main conclusion is that the regime has stabilized and the likelihood that it will fall, as long as Russia is providing such extensive military assistance, has declined greatly.

The West has not formulated a clear strategy in light of Russian military intervention in Syria and is focusing on two defensive objectives – stopping the wave of refugees to Europe and preventing additional terror attacks by extremists in Western countries. Although American efforts against ISIL in Iraq and Syria have borne some fruit, Washington and Europe are helpless in light of Assad's improved position.

Israel's position is that not only is there still something to be done in Syria, but that this involvement is essential to allow the less extremist groups to survive, to stop the regime’s progress and the rise in Iran's standing.

Source: Haaretz

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Şubat 2016, 12:00