As Syria Crumbles, Israel Prepares for Instability

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Michael Herzog - Although the turmoil in Syria diminishes the risk of war with the Syrian army, it highlights the risk of confrontation with hostile nonstate actors. Israel would not mourn Assad's departure. He is a linchpin of the radical Iran-Hizbullah axis and a staunch rival of Israel. His fall would deal a major blow to Tehran, significantly weaken Hizbullah, and dismantle the trilateral axis. At the same time, Israel is particularly troubled by the increasing weight of Islamists in the opposition, the growing number of foreign jihadists, and the West's continued passivity about supporting non-Islamist opposition forces. In private, Israeli officials have criticized the West for playing a passive role in the crisis while Iran, Hizbullah, and even Russia actively support the regime. Such passivity has helped empower Islamists and jihadists, enabling them to radicalize the conflict. IDF Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog served as senior military aide, advisor, and chief of staff to four Israeli defense ministers and participated in peace negotiations with Syria.

2013-02-08 00:00:00

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