israel isis map border

Why Israel wants to bring more instability to Syria

Israel has launched an attack using jets and ground-to-ground missiles on several military outposts near the Syrian capital of Damascus, Syria’s army said on Tuesday (Reuters).Bashar al-Assad’s forces said Israeli jets fired missiles at the al-Qutayfah area near Damascus from inside Lebanese airspace, according to a statement reported by state media. Returning fire, the Syrian army said it hit an Israeli aircraft.

fr:L'armée israélienne a mené plusieurs frappes aériennes et des tirs de missiles près de Damas, a annoncé mardi l'armée syrienne.

Israel then fired rockets from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but the Syrian defenses brought them down, the army said, adding that Israeli jets fired a final barrage of four rockets from inside Israel, one of which was intercepted by Syrian air defenses while the others caused material damage.

  • Who decides the future of the Middle East? Trump’s America

Political rhetoric is often misleading. Israel is America’s ally. Military operations are closely coordinated. Tel Aviv is however subordinate to Washington. In major military operations, Israel does not act without the Pentagon’s approval.

Israel has previously said it will prevent Syrian territory being used to set up bases or transfer advanced weaponry to the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group, which has been a key ally for Assad in the six-year Syrian civil war. Last August, the chief of the Israeli air force said his forces had struck in Syria around 100 times to this end.

Mr Netanyahu said at a meeting of ambassadors from Nato countries in Israel this week  that those policies had not changed. Some soecific Israeli media reported that a broad, purposeful assessment of policy on Syrian president Bashar Assad’s political future has been scheduled for the rest of the week in Washington.The conference has been called to hammer out a unified US-European-Asian policy for determining the shape of the regime in post-war Syria and Assad’s future role. 

The Trump administration intends to come out of these deliberations with a broadly-based US-led coalition policy for Syria that will challenge Vladimir Putin’s plans for leading Syria from war to peace in conjunction with Iran and Turkey.

Barely acknowledged by the media, the US and Israel have an integrated air defense system, which was set up in early 2009, shortly after the Israel invasion of Gaza under “Operation Cast Led”

The Israeli military declined to comment. Although the Israeli air force chief last August disclosed that his corps had struck in Syria around 100 times, Israel’s policy is generally not to confirm or deny such operations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in answer to a reporter’s question about the strikes that Israel’s policy was to stop Hezbollah moving “game-changing weapons” out of Syria.

“We back it up as necessary with action,” he said, without explicitly confirming Israel carried out Tuesday’s strikes.

In its statement, the Syrian army repeated previous warnings of serious repercussions for the strikes and repeated its past accusation that Israel was using attacks to support militant groups in Syria.

  • Syria and then Iran?

Syria and Israel have technically been in a state of war since 1948, after the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli war that ensued that year.

In 1967, Israel occupied the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights and continues to occupy part of it to this day.The two countries signed a disengagement agreement in 1974 following the 1973 war between Israel, Syria and Egypt.

The border region has remained relatively quiet since then, but the eruption of the war in Syria unleashed a new chapter in Israeli-Syrian relations.

As of today, the american scheme’s central theme is the preservation of “Syria’s territorial integrity” (if that satisfies their interests) along with partial autonomy for its minorities, especially the Kurds.

Regarding Israel would not be able to act unilaterally against Iran, without a green light from the Pentagon which controls key components of Israel’s air defense system.

In practice, a war on Iran, were it to occur would be a joint US-Israeli endeavor, coordinated by US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with America’s allies playing a key (subordinate) role.

Furthermore, the “Triple alliance” was based on close (bilateral) military ties respectively between Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

In turn, Israel signed a far-reaching military cooperation protocol with NATO in March 2005 in Jerusalem.  Under this agreement, Israel had become a de facto member of NATO. The 2005 Israel-NATO bilateral military cooperation agreement was viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability” against Iran, which has recently entered into an alliance of convenience with Turkey, a NATO member state.

From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance has consistently been directed against Syria.  A 1993 Memorandum of Understanding led to the creation of (Israeli-Turkish) “joint committees” to handle so-called regional threats. Under the terms of the Memorandum, Turkey and Israel agreed “to cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly to share assessments pertaining to terrorism and these countries’ military capabilities.”

 Turkey agreed to allow IDF and Israeli security forces to gather electronic intelligence on Syria and Iran from Turkey. In exchange, Israel assisted in the equipping and training of Turkish forces in anti-terror warfare along the Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian borders.” (Ibid)

In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched  “A Strategic Dialogue” involving a bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective deputy chiefs of staff. (Milliyet,  Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).   

  • China and Russia

Since the formulation of USCENTCOM’s “in war theater” plans in the mid-nineties, and more specifically since the onslaught of the war on Syria in 2011, the geopolitics of the broader Middle East Central Asian region has evolved dramatically with Russia and  China taking on a major role.

In this regard, the shift in the structure of military alliances has served to weaken US influence. Iran is now supported by a powerful China-Russia block. In turn, Pakistan and India have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which has contributed to undermining US-Pakistani relations.In turn, Iran’s bilateral relations with China including strategic oil, gas and pipeline deals (as well as military cooperation) have developed since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012.

Moreover, while Tehran has reached a “pact of convenience” with Ankara, the unity of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States is now in jeopardy, with Qatar, Oman and Kuwait building an alliance with Iran, to the detriment of  Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Since the war on Syria, Iran has not only established a strong bilateral relationship with Syria, it has also reinforced its ties with Lebanon and Yemen.

In other words, US hegemony is threatened in the broader Middle East Central Asian region. The structure of alliances and “cross-cutting coalitions” in 2018 does not favor a US-led military operation against Iran.

 

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