The Dilemma of Sponsorship, from Southern Lebanon to Daraa and Quneitra
Israel may soon face a dilemma. The “arrangement” with Russia as to the future of Syria may stave-off an Iranian presence but will pose an existential danger to the groups of rebels near the border – groups which have worked closely with the IDF to prevent direct friction with hostile elements on the line of contact. It is vital that the solutions to this challenge demonstrate to future partners that Israel does not turn its back on those who have assisted it facing a common threat.
Colonel (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman and Dr. Nir Boms
Defense Minister Lieberman’s latest meeting with his Russian counterpart Shoygu and the Prime Minister’s latest conversation with President Putin have turned an additional spotlight to the issue of the “Arrangement” addressing the withdrawal of foreign forces – Iranian and otherwise – out of Syria, including out of the region of southern Syria and near Israel’s border. As is known, the southern Syrian region has in recent years been characterized as a “strip of influence” where the IDF has been active mainly on the humanitarian level and in coordination with rebel groups on the other side of the border. Alongside the security and strategic considerations guiding Israel toward the anticipated regularization (of the Assad regime’s presence in the southern-Syrian area), it is important to also consider the ethical dimension and Israel’s long-term interest of not appearing to forsake those who have relied on its aid in recent years.
The ongoing conflict in Syria continues to top the world media’s headlines, with major developments across the war-torn country.
To further discuss those developments, I’m join here in the studio by;
1. Dr. Eran Lerman – Vice President of the Jerusalem Institute for strategic studies and a lecturer at Shalem College
2. Dr. Nir Boms – Research fellow, Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University
Nir Boms (2018): Israel’s Policy on the Syrian Civil War: Risks and Opportunities, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/23739770.2017.1430006
The war in Syria, which to date has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced almost half the country’s population, seems to be nearing an end. The Syrian tragedy, which drew in additional actors from throughout the Middle East and the world—paid militias, “volunteers,” and foreign armies—at unprecedented speed, seems to be stabilizing. This has created a new status quo, and will enable a smaller circle to wield control over the state still known as Syria when the smoke of battle ﬁnally clears. In August 2017, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) announced that over 600,000 displaced persons, some 10 percent of the total number of refugees, had already returned to their homes in Syria, many to the city of Aleppo, which, until several months earlier, had symbolized the battles between the weakened rebel camp and the regime forces.1 Syrian tractors are already clearing the way for new roads, and Russian cranes are building a new port terminal, while the Iranians have started constructing a modern “medical city” near Damascus. The year 2017 is also ending with Syria’s conquest (aided by Hizbullah)of the village of Beit Jann, one of the more signiﬁcant pockets of resistance supported by Israel.