The Assad Regime Returns to the Golan

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Yitzhak Degani - The Assad regime's recapture of the entire Syrian Golan Heights took place in tacit consultation with Israel, coordinated by Russia. In the ongoing Israeli-Russian dialogue over the Syrian conflict, an understanding was reached on the redeployment of Iran's proxy militias and their future stay in Syria. For years, Israel has been waging a largely covert campaign against the consolidation of Tehran's military presence in Syria. The feeble Iranian response to hundreds of (undeclared) Israeli air strikes during this period is almost certainly indicative of its inability to contend with Israel's overwhelming air superiority. Hizbullah has not yet overcome the full consequences of its Syria intervention, and the repeated gloating of its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, from his Beirut hideout - where he has been sheltering since the 2006 Lebanon war - can hardly disguise this reality. Due to increasing financial difficulties, exacerbated by the economic crisis in Iran, Hizbullah has been forced to slash the salaries it pays its operatives. As a result, and due to mounting opposition among Lebanese Shiites to its Syria involvement, Hizbullah is having difficulty recruiting new fighters to fill its depleted ranks. Given the decapitation of the Syrian armed forces during the civil war, Assad will need to focus on consolidating his renewed grip on power and reconstructing the country. Under these circumstances, any military confrontation with Israel is likely to wreck the regime's fragile recovery. The writer is a lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

2018-08-17 00:00:00

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