Friday, September 7, 2018

'Israel considered intervening in Syrian civil war before Russia stepped in' - Ariel Kahana


by Ariel Kahana

"We missed our chance to impact the situation and ‎now we lack the necessary leverage," senior ‎Israeli minister says.

Israel considered military intervention in the ‎Syrian civil war before Russia stepped in to aid ‎President Bashar Assad, senior officials admitted Wednesday.‎

The possibility was considered about three years ‎ago, at the height of the conflict ravaging ‎Israel's neighbor to the north. ‎

The Russian military intervention in the Syrian ‎civil war began in September 2015, after an official ‎request by Assad for ‎military aid in his war against the rebels trying to ‎unseat him and various jihadist groups, including al-Qaida and ‎Islamic State. ‎

At the time, Israel considered potential military ‎intervention in the fighting taking place on the Syrian Golan, ‎over the battles' proximity to the Israeli border. ‎

At stake was the question of what would serve ‎Israel's interest best – a weakened Assad regime or ‎contending with Islamic State and al-Qaida's ‎presence on the border.‎

According to senior officials, there were several ‎instances during that period of the civil war when ‎Israeli intervention could have toppled Assad, ‎especially after it became clear that the Syrian ‎army was using chemical weapons against its own ‎people. ‎

Israel Hayom learned that decision-makers swayed on ‎the matter. A more assertive policy of intervening ‎in the fighting taking place on the Syrian Golan ‎could have altered Israel's regional leverage and influence ‎over Syria in the post-war era, but on the other ‎hand, stepping into the war spelled friction with ‎the warring parties and the potential high cost in ‎human lives.‎

Israel eventually opted to maintain its policy of ‎nonintervention, as defense officials concluded that ‎regardless of how the Syrian civil war ends, the ‎war-torn country will never be the same again. ‎

Sources privy to this decision said the possibility ‎of an Israeli intervention in the civil war ‎was shelved once Russia decided to send its troops to ‎Syria. ‎

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President ‎Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip ‎Erdogan are scheduled to hold a summit in Tehran on ‎Friday to discuss Syria's political future, now that Assad has ‎regained control of much of the country. ‎

Iran has vowed to help Syria rebuild its ‎military, which has been significantly debilitated ‎by the seven-year conflict.‎

‎"We missed our chance to impact the situation and ‎now we lack the necessary leverage," a senior ‎Israeli minister told Israel Hayom Wednesday.‎

He noted that while Israel can present demands to ‎curb Syria's post-war offensive capabilities, the ‎international players involved have no reason to ‎consider any Israeli demand on this matter.‎


Ariel Kahana

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/09/06/israel-considered-intervening-in-syrian-civil-war-before-russia-stepped-in/

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