Tag Archives: Syria

11Jan/20

Jerusalem- Damascus strategic dynamics – Jerusalem Studio 477

A major focus of tension this year is sure to be the Israel-Syria relationship. while gradually coming out of its domestic nine-year conflict, Israel’s northern neighbor is still hosting forces threatening it – most prominently, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards elite Quds Force, as well as the Lebanese Hezbollah organization.
Panel:
– Jonathan Hessen, host.
– Amir Oren, analyst.
– Dr. Nir Boms, Research fellow, Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University.
-Colonel (Reserve) Reuven Ben-Shalom, cross-cultural strategist and associate at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
-Prof. Ze’ev Khanin, Expert on Russian and Middle Eastern Studies, Bar Ilan and Ariel Universities.

08Dec/19

The Fuel of a Revolution

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Iran in recent weeks, after the government announced a tripling of the price of gasoline. Credit: Belga

Faced with crippling international sanctions, revenue shortfalls and budget deficits, the Islamic regime in Iran seems to have made a fatal miscalculation by suddenly tripling the price of gasoline, a move which appears to put an entire region in flames.

Frustrated by worsening economic conditions, soaring prices and devastating national currency devaluation, Iranians from across the country immediately took the streets to demand a reversal of the decision. But what seemed to have started as a peaceful civil demonstration – in where drivers turned off their vehicles in the middle roads and highways  –  quickly escalated to a full-fledged uprising in nearly 100 cities. But not just in Iran. In Iraq, protesters burned the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf and in Lebanon hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets, demanding the resignation of a government dominated by pro-Iran factions.

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05Mar/19

International alliances in regional conflicts – Jerusalem Studio

The United Nations, which was designed to guard world peace, has failed in its mission across the Middle East – due to the inherent contradictions with regard interests of powers involved in the region. Instead competing alliances have emerged, each with its own membership and agenda.

Panel: – Jonathan Hessen, host. – Amir Oren, analyst. – Prof. Zeev Hanin, Expert on Russian and Middle Eastern Studies, Bar Ilan and Ariel Universities. – Dr. Nir Boms – Research fellow, Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University.

14Feb/19

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. Continue reading