If the US leaves Syria, that is bad news for Israel - THE LATEST NEWS HEADLINES TODAY

Saturday, October 7, 2017

If the US leaves Syria, that is bad news for Israel

If the US leaves Syria, that is bad news for Israel

Disturbing events are underway in Syria, which will pose a growing threat to Israel's security - unless things turn around.

In the past, there was talk of finding a federal solution for Syria that would be brokered by the superpowers. The problem is that the US had abandoned the Syrian arena, leaving the entire area to Russia's whims.

Syria does not appear to really interest Washington, and Moscow has become the area's 'landlord.' This is bad news for Israel, because Russia is currently assisting its real allies in the Middle East, who happen to be Israel's most dangerous enemies: Iran, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime that depends on them for its survival.

Trump and Assad (Photo: AP)
Trump and Assad
The Russia-Iran-Hezbollah-Assad combination is a danger that cannot be ignored, as it is opening a second northern front against Israel.

In the past, Israel and the Assad regime were locked in a 'balance of terror' situation, leaving the Golan Heights quiet for decades. This balance has been undermined by the arrival of a new axis to support Assad.

Now that the US has, to all intents and purposes, left the Syrian story, Israel's interests are represented by no one but itself.

Israel has no real influence in Syria, and Moscow is not particularly interested in Israel's concerns. Russia has its own perspective on events in the region.

The Iranian-led axis can be expected to avoid creating provocations against Israel for the time being, and focus on consolidating its presence in Syria.

It could use this time to create a well-developed weapons industry, and move its forces into southern Syria. Then, when the time comes, the Iranian axis could face Israel from two directions: Syria and Lebanon. This would make life much harder for Israel.

Israel, for its part, must signal that it will not tolerate such developments. Its reported strike in September against the CERS Syrian weapons center near Damascus, where chemical and biological weapons are developed, as well as powerful ballistic missiles, is a good way to transmit this message. Beyond the tactical advantages of such a strike, there is also a strategic message here: Israel will not be intimidated into avoiding strikes when Jerusalem's red lines have been breached.

Nevertheless, the Israel Air Force could find itself facing advanced Russian-made air defense systems in the future, if Moscow decides to activate these, or allow the Assad regime to do so.

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