Over the past three years a series of incidents involving attempted attacks from Hezbollah and the movement of weapons through Syria have caused concern in Israel and action to thwart such actions. In this article, retired Brig. Gen.Yossi Kuperwasser explains.
The attacks and reported air strikes indicate an ongoing battle between Israel and the Iranian-led radical axis to set the rules of the game in Syrian territory. Such rules concern the impact of Syria’s civil war on the severity of the threat that the radical axis can pose to Israel from the north, including Syria and Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war was, to a large extent, imposed upon it against its will. This involvement is exacting a heavy price on the organization in the form of numerous casualties and the need to spread its limited resources over many fronts and missions, along with a considerable political price.
Because Assad and Iran view Hezbollah as the most significant of the forces fighting for the regime’s continued existence, and because all of the members of the radical axis, including Hezbollah, regard the Assad regime’s continued viability as a supreme objective, the organization realizes that its deep involvement in the Syrian civil war is nowhere near its conclusion and will continue to exact a heavy price.
To balance the price they are paying for their deep involvement in protecting Assad, Iran and Hezbollah are working to make the most of the new reality. They do so particularly by exploiting their current dominant position in those parts of Syria that remain under control of Assad with axis support.
Israel, of course, views with great concern the Iranian and Hezbollah activity—new armaments and establishing a terror center on the Golan—and Israel’s policy toward its northern front aims at stymieing these undertakings. Israel is, in fact, attempting to establish rules of the game where it is permitted to act against those two aims of its adversaries, especially so long as it restricts its operations to Syrian territory.
At the same time, Israel is not indifferent to what happens on the other side of the border. It supports the suffering Syrian people with humanitarian aid, with an emphasis on medical assistance to the many injured people in the border region, and hopes for the strengthening of the moderate elements among the regime’s opponents, who represent a very large part of the Syrian population but suffer from military and organizational weakness in comparison to their adversaries.
Source: By Brig. Ben. (res) Yossi Kuperwasser
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces
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