Escalation on Israel's Northern Border

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv) Udi Dekel - Israel has been preparing for escalation in the northern theater for a long time. It fears that the events in Syria will spill over into Israel, creating an area along the Golan Heights border that is not controlled by a central government and that will be used by rogue terrorist and jihadi elements against Israel. It is likely that the three violent incidents in March - two on the Syrian border, in territories controlled by the Assad regime and Assad loyalists, and the third in the area of Mount Dov, a Hizbullah stronghold - were Hizbullah attacks against Israel. Hizbullah has regained some obvious self-confidence after achieving military successes in Syria in the Yabrud sector and driving rebel forces from the Syrian-Lebanese border. Assad likely understands that if Israel has to intervene in the conflict in Syria, there would be a dramatic change in the balance of forces arrayed against him, to the point that his regime could be jeopardized. However, he has also received enough messages making it clear that Israel prefers not to intervene in Syria's domestic conflict. Israel's offensive response against the Syrian army on the Golan Heights indicates its assessment that Hizbullah is responsible for the IED attack in the Golan and that it was carried out with the knowledge of Assad's forces. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Udi Dekel is Deputy Director of INSS.

2014-03-25 00:00:00

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