Nir Boms

The Syrian Wars – A new chapter opens in the Golan Heights

The sounds of war have again echoed over the Golan Heights this past week. However, the drums of war have changed their course. Until last summer, we could clearly hear and witness the Syrian war with Syrian and Russian planes bombing rebel positions, occasionally “stray mortar” hitting the Israeli Golan.

However, this week those were Israeli tanks allegedly shooting to Quneitra, just across the Alpha Line and last month it was the roar of Iranian surface-to-surface missiles, flying above the heads of Israeli skiers who surprisingly saw the rendezvous of Israeli Iron dome interceptors.

The sounds of Israeli fighter jets – operating to dismantle Iranian positions, ammunition depots and shipments to Hezbollah have replaced the Syrian ones – have added additional drums of war to the northern horizons. The Syrian war episode may have entered its concluding chapter, but the Israeli-Iranian confrontation is opening a new one.

In the summer of 2018, the Assad regime reestablished its control over the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, restoring Syrian sovereignty and redeploying Syrian Army elements to their pre-war positions.

However, a deeper look at the developments across the Syrian-Israeli frontier reveals that the new reality is different from pre-civil war Syria. Today, Syrian military bases host a number of new actors, which include pro-Iranian militias, Russian military police, and reconfigured Syrian units. The local leadership and elements identified with the opposition – who informally governed these areas before the Assad regime reestablished control – have fled or been killed. In their place, stands a new security architecture that is based and supported, in part, by foreign actors.

Eight years of war have dramatically changed the face of the Syrian state. The Syria of the past no longer exists. Demographic and social changes have rearranged the country, which numbered 23 million people before the war.

Today, there are more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees living outside the country, the vast majority of whom are Sunni.

The numbers of those killed is reported to be at least 511,000. The Syrian army, which numbered some 200,000 soldiers before the war, quickly eroded and Assad remained in power, supported by mobilized militias that filled the ranks of his army. View full post…

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Lebanon, the battle for stability- Jerusalem Studio

Almost nine months after Lebanon has elected its Parliament, outgoing Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri has managed to form a new cabinet over which he will continue to preside, despite the fact that he has lost almost a third of his supporters among Beirut’s Legislators.

Panel:
-Jonathan Hessen, host.
-Amir Oren, analyst.
-Prof. Hillel Frisch, Senior Researcher Begin Sadat Center.
-Dr. Nir Boms – Research fellow, Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University.

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Iran and the New State of Play in Southwest Syria



In the summer of 2018, the Asad regime reestablished its control over the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, restoring Syrian sovereignty and redeploying the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to its pre-war positions. However, a deeper look at the developments across the Syrian-Israeli frontier reveals that the new reality is substantially different from pre-civil war Syria. The Syrian military bases today host a number of new actors, which include pro-Iranian militias, Russian military police, and reconfigured Syrian units under new command. The local leadership and elements identified with the opposition, who informally governed these areas before the Asad regime reestablished control, have fled or been killed. In its place is a new Syrian security architecture that is based, in part, on foreign actors (some with Syrian identity cards), who are playing the role that used to be reserved for the Syrian security apparatus.

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Syria, following US decision to withdraw – Jerusalem Studio 387

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. military and diplomatic personnel from Syria has created a fog of uncertainty, with no specifics on the pace and modalities of the dramatic withdrawal that carries with it significant implications.

Panel:
– Jonathan Hessen, host.
– Amir Oren, analyst.
– Prof. Ze’ev Khanin, expert on Middle Eastern and Russian Affairs.
– Dr. Nir Boms, Research Fellow at Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

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