The Ongoing Israel-Iran Confrontation in Syria

(Atlantic Council) Amb. Frederic C. Hof and Mona Alami - Frederic C. Hof: In my view, reliance on Russian assurances will be non-productive. Yes, Russian President Putin is well-disposed toward Israel and its prime minister. But he lacks the intent and the capability to remove Iran from Syria entirely or keep it permanently away from the Golan Heights. Putin argues that an Assad-led Syrian state supported by Russia is the best guarantee against a continued prominent Iranian role in Syria. But the ground combat power deployed by Iran in Syria is essential to Assad's continued rule. Mona Alami: Israel wants to maintain direct military and diplomatic channels with Russia to contain Iran in Syria. Israel is gathering significant intelligence on Iran's presence in Syria. In May, Israel struck over 70 Iranian positions in Syria - intelligence installations, rocket depots, army bases, and logistic warehouses used by Iran. Israel has struck Iranian targets in Syria over 150 times in the last few years. FH: Moscow regards Israeli strikes of this nature as a cost of doing business; a way to increase its own credibility in the eyes of Israeli leaders by remaining passive so long as the targets are Iranian and not regime in nature. Neither Iran nor Hizbullah wishes to provoke an Israeli response on the order of 2006. Although they strongly desire to have a presence along the eastern base of the Golan Heights, they will be cautious in the level of harassment they try to inflict on Israel. MA: For now, Iran is prioritizing the reclaiming of Syrian regime territory, namely in the north. Any confrontation with Israel appears to be thus postponed. The writers are nonresident senior fellows of the Atlantic Council.

2018-08-03 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive