Syria’s New Map and New Actors: Challenges and Opportunities for Israel

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The civil war underway in Syria since March 2011 has changed the Syrian nation beyond recognition, and the shockwaves caused by the war have made a very strong impact,  both  in the Middle East and beyond. Following four decades of relative stability, Syria has become an arena marked by internal, regional, and international conflict. The weakening of the central government in Damascus, along with the transformation of Syria into a battlefield featuring many actors with different and often conflicting interests, poses new challenges for Israel. In the uncertain reality marked by the multiplicity of hostile actors, there are also opportunities for Israel to strengthen and possibly forge ties with pragmatic Sunni opposition and minority groups with whom it shares specific interests. This memorandum surveys the main actors currently operating in Syria, especially in the southern portion of the country; analyzes their attitudes toward Israel; and formulates recommendations for a new, proactive Israeli policy in the dynamic Syrian arena. It proposes modes of military, political, economic, and humanitarian action likely to serve Israel’s strategic interests. Chief among these interests are the need to maintain tranquility on the Golan Heights and the need to prevent the entrenchment of “negative” players on the Syrian side. For the full report, click here.
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Syria: The Missing Piece


Last week was a long, Syria-focused one in the Capitol, and it seems that just about everyone feels that they have come out victorious. Everyone, that is, excepting for a senior delegation of the Syrian opposition. They left frustrated that, amid all the hype about Syria, hardly anyone in Washington would make the time to meet with them.

George Sabra, the visiting President of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the umbrella group of the Syrian opposition, warned that the international community is at risk of falling into another Syrian-Russian trap. Sabra protested that the Syrian people were again being left behind. He’s right, of course, but why let that spoil the party? Sabra seems to be alone in his worries. View full post…

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La factura de Bosnia será inminente si Annán duda

Nir Boms, 19 de julio de 2012 a las 19:08

Se cumple este mes el 20 aniversario del inicio de las hostilidades de la Guerra de Bosnia. Mientras las fuerzas del régimen machacan la ciudad de Homs utilizando artillería pesada con vistas a la visita del equipo de observadores de las Naciones Unidas, no puedo evitar una rara sensación de que la historia se repite.

En la Guerra de Bosnia hubo más de 100.000 muertos (200.000 según algunos cálculos), civiles en su mayor parte, antes de que los efectivos de la OTAN pudieran ponerle fin. En Siria, el “más modesto” de los recuentos habla de “solamente” 11.000, pero como hemos aprendido de Bosnia, al fondo siempre queda espacio para más. View full post…

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Bosnian toll looms in Syria if Annan falters

This month marks the 20-year anniversary of the start of the Bosnian War. As regime forces pound the city of Homs with artillery shells in advance of a UN observers team visit, I couldn’t escape an eerie feeling of history repeating itself. In the Bosnian War there were more than 100,000 deaths (200,000 some estimates say), mostly civilian, before NATO forces were able to bring it to an end. In Syria, the “modest” toll is “only” 11,000, but as we’ve learned from Bosnia, there is still time left for more.

Lessons learned from Bosnia are sadly relevant and ominous.

Lesson one: Russia. Most of the weapons in the Bosnian War were, not surprisingly, Russian. Russian volunteer forces also actively assisted the Serbs. While Russia was officially co-operating with the allies, the commander of the Russian contingent to the UN force, Major General Aleksandr Perelyakin, was actually helping to smuggle weapons to the Serbs. Perelyakin, who was eventually dismissed by the UN, became an adviser to the commander of a Serb division in the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska Krajina in Croatia. After the war, Russia gave refuge to several Bosnian Serbs wanted for war crimes and atrocities, including the massacre at Srebrenica. View full post…

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