U.S. Strategy and Israel's Stake in Eastern Syria

(Jerusalem Post) Jonathan Spyer - The defeat of Islamic State as an entity controlling territory is clearly only a matter of time. The actions of the Assad regime (and the Iranian and Russian interests that dominate it) equally clearly reflect their determination to confront and defeat all other armed elements within Syria. The U.S. is currently backing certain armed elements in Syria for the purpose of defeating Islamic State. At a certain point, Washington will need to decide whether it wishes to abandon its allies to destruction at the hands of the regime, Iran and Russia, or to help to defend the forces it has armed and trained. If the U.S. and its allies are eclipsed in eastern Syria, the result will be the establishment of a contiguous land link from Iran, across Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon and the Israeli border. Over the last half decade, a coalition of Tehran-aligned militias has acted in a coordinated fashion on behalf of Iranian allies and interests. Thus, the prevention of the emergence of this direct land route through eastern Syria is a direct Israeli national interest. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs, IDC Herzliya.

2017-06-23 00:00:00

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