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.
Iran’s power posturing is designed to disguise the fact that the country is weakening from within.
The recent unrest in Iran has confirmed what many attuned to domestic conditions in the Islamic Republic have long known: that an explosion was not a matter of if, but of when.
The destructive reach of the Islamic Republic of Iran from Africa to South America and via Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq is hardly disputed. Yet this destructive influence serves the hesitance of many in the West to confront what appears as a strong and threatening regime. The riots and demonstration may have faded – but not the realities that created them. And this might provide an important policy lesson: Islamic regime’s power posturing is designed to hide its true weaknesses.
Iran’s economy is in shambles. The days of high oil prices are long gone, and national resources are almost depleted. Despite the JCPOA – an agreement aimed at opening the Iranian market to international investors – Iran’s economy remains in stagflation, with very little prospects for improvement in sight. Iran’s military is over-extended in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, putting further strain on the limited available resources. Inefficient economic policies and endemic corruption waists the rest of the available resources leaving very little for the masses.
In the months and weeks leading up to the current protests, thousands had already taken to the streets in most major cities in the country, demanding an answer to these deficiencies and corruptions.
With a substantial demand of military hardware, the conflict-ridden Middle East has become one of the most significant regions in the world’s arms market. Guests: 1. Dr. Ely Karmon, Senior researcher – The Institute for Counter Terrorism, IDC Herzliyah 2. Dr. Nir Boms – Research fellow, The Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University Analyst: Amir Oren