Topic:

Syria

Israel’s Active Defense Campaign in Syria: The Next Phase

| July 12, 2018

Tehran’s recent decision to attempt direct clashes with Israel resulted in a resounding defeat on May 10, when the IDF destroyed 50 Iranian military targets in Syrian territory. Iran is now shifting gears back to its traditional proxy approach. While it appears reluctant to mobilize Hezbollah against Israel right now and risk a full-scale regional war, it is continuing to work on securing a military position in Syria to use for future aggression. Israel must maintain its flexibility and responsiveness in order to prevent the creation of a second Iranian mass missile front on the border.

Israel Must Stop Syria’s Advance Southward

| July 5, 2018

Israel must halt the reconsolidation of the Syrian regime, especially in the country’s south. Russia helped to bolster the regime through airpower. In response to the resulting and growing threat, Israel must now unleash the might of the IAF.

Assad Addresses the Chemical Weapons Issue

In an unprecedented television interview on May 30, Syrian President Bashar Assad made detailed comments about his army’s alleged non-use of chemical weapons (CW). Referring to the (confirmed) employment of chemical weapons in Douma on April 7 and the subsequent US-British-French retaliatory raid, Assad claimed that CW had not been used by anyone (rather than by the rebels, as is usually contended).

Russia in Syria: Caught Between Iran and Israel

| June 24, 2018

Intermittent Israeli strikes against Iranian positions in Syria have alarmed Russia, which is trying to solidify its military gains there. Active Israeli interference could bring down the highly unstable security architecture the Russians are working on in Syria. Moscow must balance between its war ally, Iran, and Israel, an important regional player – two states with radically different geopolitical imperatives.

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?