Topic:

Syria

The Syrian Intervention: Following the Wingate Model

| June 18, 2018

Orde Wingate’s approach to the liberation of Ethiopia from Italian occupation in 1941 provides a useful model for modern-day intervention in Syria. Rather than hand out money and materiel to local forces (à la the British support of the anti-Ottoman “Great Arab Revolt” of WWI), Wingate advocated committing one’s own forces and then allowing local forces to participate of their own accord. In Wingate’s view, loyalty bought with cash and weapons will always prove temporary.

The “Game” Israel and Iran Must Play in Syria

| May 8, 2018

Israel has neither the power nor the motivation to significantly influence the outcome of the war for control of all the pieces of Syria. Israel’s objective in Syria is to prevent Iran from building military facilities there that increase its ability to attack Israel. The only way Israel can achieve this is by destroying any such facilities that Iran builds, or by convincing Iran not to build any threatening facility out of fear that Israel will destroy it.  

Discouraging the Use of Chemical Weapons Is Valuable Unto Itself

| April 30, 2018

The attack on Syria’s chemical weapons (CW) sites wasn’t intended to influence the outcome of the war; it was designed to prevent the future use of CW.  This won’t save many lives, because regular bombs can kill as many people as CW. But ending the horrors of chemical warfare is a worthwhile and feasible international goal.  The way we react to the attack on Assad’s CW assets can affect the possibility of future use. We should applaud the international actions against Assad’s CW instead of complaining about what the attacks didn’t accomplish.

Syria’s Growing Chemical Weapons Entanglement

The chemical weapons (CW) possessed and employed by Syria since it undertook to completely get rid of them have become an increasingly tangled web over the past year. This has many ramifications, particularly in light of the recent US-Britain-France raid against Syria.

Minimal Strike on Assad Shows Extent of Russian Deterrence

| April 20, 2018

While the purpose of the US strikes was to target Syria’s chemical-weapons capabilities, the relatively modest scale of the strikes are an indication of Russia’s ability to cause Western powers to limit their actions.

DEBATE: How Might the Israeli-Iranian Face-Off in Syria Evolve?

| April 1, 2018

Q:      The recent infiltration of Israeli airspace by an Iranian drone launched from Syria was considered by Jerusalem a severe violation of its sovereignty. In response, Israel conducted a mission to strike the Iranian drone installation in Syria. During that mission, an Israeli F-16 jet crashed. In the aftermath of this incident, Israel – while not wishing to escalate – made clear that it is prepared to act with determination and exact a heavy price from anyone who attacks it. BESA joins the debate by posing the question: How might the Israeli-Iranian face-off in Syria evolve?

The Nascent Russia-Lebanon Alliance and Israel

| March 23, 2018

Though Russia has been gradually increasing its economic and military influence in Lebanon, it is unlikely that Moscow is prepared to irreparably compromise its relations with Israel. Russia faces competition from other actors in Syria, and good relations with Israel can serve its interests there.

Who Will Reconstruct Syria?

| February 25, 2018

The fighting in Syria, which began in 2011, between President Bashar Assad and the opposition forces, seems to have reached its final stages. It is almost certain that Assad will remain in power. He will be the one to lead Syria in the coming years, and he will have to deal with the reconstruction of the ravaged country. In the interests of the Syrian people as well as the West, including Israel, it is wise to support China in its efforts to lead the reconstruction.

Russia and the Israeli-Syrian-Iranian Confrontation

| February 15, 2018

On February 11, 2018, Israel conducted multiple airstrikes on Syrian-Iranian targets in Syria in response to the downing of an Israeli F-16 in Israeli territory following infiltration by an Iranian drone. Moscow’s mild reaction to these events reflects its desire to maintain cooperation with both Tehran and Jerusalem.

Why Won’t Russia Support the Investigation of Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria?

| January 31, 2018

Because of Russian antagonism, 2018 might see a termination of investigations by an internationally authorized apparatus into chemical weapons (CW) attacks in Syria. There is a tight, if indirect, connection between that termination and the existence of a residual and possibly renewed stockpile of CW in the hands of the Syrian army, which is backed by Russia (and Iran).