Recommendations for Israeli Policy on Syria

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Udi Dekel - In Syria, the helplessness of the international community in general, and the U.S. and other Western countries in particular, is particularly striking. NATO members, led by the U.S., are tired of military conflicts in the Middle East. From Israel's point of view, there is concern about the Golan Heights becoming a frontier region, where hostile elements challenge Israel, and leakage of strategic weapons and chemical weapons to Hizbullah and other extremist elements. In addition, Israel is worried that attention is diverted from the Iranian issue. However, this situation also presents a number of opportunities because of the weakening of the radical axis, including a change in the Lebanese balance of power and the potential dismantling of Hizbullah's strategic capabilities. Israel should assume that the Assad regime in its current form will not survive. Although Israel has limited levers of influence, it must take the initiative, engaging in low signature activity to weaken support for the Assad regime and Hizbullah; preventing leakage of strategic weapons and chemical weapons to extremist elements; deterring Assad from using chemical weapons; establishing channels for dialogue with opposition elements or an alternative leadership; addressing the Syrian public through new and traditional media; and establishing centers for humanitarian aid in case the flow of refugees spills over into the Golan Heights. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel headed the IDF Strategic Planning Division.

2012-08-06 00:00:00

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