Israel and Iran are headed for a collision in Syria

By | April 12, 2018

Avi Issacharoff writes:

Israel has stated clearly that it will not allow an Iranian military entrenchment in Syria. That is a red line as far as Israel is concerned, and, rather unusually, the military brass and the political leadership are in lockstep about the need to robustly enforce it (in stark opposition to the disagreements about the Palestinian issue).

But meanwhile the Syrian reality has come knocking hard at Israel’s door. The Iranians are not showing any signs of curtailing their actions; on the contrary, they are exhibiting signs of escalation. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are establishing permanent bases in Syria, intended for Shiite militias that Iran funds (some of which are built adjacent to Russian positions so as to deter Israeli strikes), along with airbases and seaports. Tehran is meanwhile spending enormous amounts of resources in order to buy swaths of the Syrian economy (phosphates, mobile network operators etc.). Israeli estimates put Iranian expenditure in Syria and Hezbollah at $30 billion since the Syrian Civil War started. A recent summit in Ankara on the future of Syria, attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, only proves, from the Israeli perspective, that Moscow is fueling the Iranian wildfire in Syria. This reality coincides with the recent Syrian decision, as reported by Israeli journalist Amos Harel, to move its own tanks and artillery into the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights, a clear violation of the separation agreement signed between the Israel and Syria in 1974 after the Yom Kippur War.

And so it would seem that the American position of turning a blind eye toward Iranian involvement in Syria, and Russian dominance in that country, are only encouraging further Israeli military action and, ultimately, a wide-scale confrontation with Iran and Syria.

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