Israel frets about “Iran as Neighbor” if Aleppo falls & al-Assad Regime Wins

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

An Arabic site that aggregates Facebook and other social media postings reports that Israeli officials are filled with anxiety and consternation about the possibility that the regime of Bashar al-Assad will conquer Aleppo with Russian and Iranian help, and will go on to reconstitute itself. It would be, in the view of Israeli hardliners, an Iranian puppet and would give Lebanon’s Hizbullah a free hand in the region. Yuval Steinitz, a cabinet member with a portfolio for strategic affairs, warned that the victories of the Syrian Arab Army in the Aleppo area constitute a long-term threat to Israel.

In the aftermath, Hizbullah could be even better armed. And Iran might have a permanent military presence in Syria, putting it on the Israeli border, including possibly on the Golan Heights that overlook Israel. Steinitz said Israel would nevertheless not intervene in the Syrian civil war. He described recent SAA advances as “a change in the strategic balance.” He said he feared the price of a defeat of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) would be Iranian troops deployed along the northern border of Israel with Syria. He complained that the barbarity of Daesh has convinced the world that it must be defeated, but that this focus has taken the limelight off the threat of Iran and Hizbullah. He warned that Turkey and Cyprus are also affected if “Iran reaches the Mediterranean.”

Israel’s Hebrew Radio 2 also expressed ‘anxiety and fear’ at these developments. The report said that the allies of the Syrian rebels had abandoned them. It said that the fall of Aleppo would represent the end of any threat to the regime. It asserted that President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry have abandoned the Syrian opposition to Vladimir Putin, allowing al-Assad and Iran to prevail over it. The report said Turkey had been too afraid to do anything about this development because it did not want to take on Russia. The station said that if, after the fall of Aleppo, the SAA turns its attention to southern Syria and secures it, Israel might be facing Hizbullah and Iran in the Golan Heights.

Hebrew Radio 10 envisaged that Bashar al-Assad could now reemerge as a strongman with a powerful army.

Yisrael Ha-Yom, the newspaper of corrupt casino moghul Sheldon Adelson (chief backer of Mario Rubio for the US presidency) concurred in the dangers and could only see one counter to an al-Assad- Russian-Iranian victory, which would be an intervention by Saudi Arabia.

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Related video:

Ruptly: “Syria: Syrian Army makes push to fully encircle Aleppo”

24 Responses

  1. Israel brought about this outcome and has no one to blame but themselves. They pushed for sanctions on Syria, they pressed for regime change, they bombed Syria, all leading to the instability. As for Iran, they threatened it repeatedly and worked to attack it military and economically and politically, causing Iran to partner with Syria in self-defense. Israel’s belligerence created this alliance against it, and now they have to deal with the world they’ve made.

  2. Poor Israel, constantly worried about its safety, while never considering that its behaviour might be the factor which is causing the tension! The Golan Heights were STOLEN from Syrian and Israel is worried they may be in danger!
    Hezbollah was formed and acts to protect Lebanon from the constant raids by Israel! Iran is a sovereign country which attacks nobody!

    “the threat of Iran and Hizbullah.” does not exist. if Israel took notice of the rest of the region and banned nukes, plus even followed international law, there would be no strife!!!!

  3. I think this article is further proof of why Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) has been so successful and prosperous over the last few years. There are a lot of countries in the world that want the chaos and death that this group of radicals bring because it serves their geopolitical interests or ideology. Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) despite universal world wide condemnation is clearly heavily supported both directly and indirectly by many world governments especially the regional ones.

    I once thought that the dreams of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) of a caliphate were just crazy nonsense that could never be a reality but I am starting to suspect that had Russia not chosen to intervene in Syria that in a couple of years it would have become a reality with the capital located in Syria. Even now i still don’t think it is out of the question given how many powerful nations are happy to have Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) do their bidding.

  4. Shouldn’t they have thought about the risk of what happens if the guys who you’re supporting lose?

    A post civil war Syria will not have the money nor the troops needed to pursue foreign adventures. While they might not be cooperative with anything that the Government of Israel proposes, I’m not sure the Israelis have anything to worry about from their immediate neighbours.

  5. Iran might have a permanent military presence in Syria, putting it on the Israeli border

    Israel’s borders are its primary problem with Iran and its other neighbors.

    Israel refuses to obey international law as expressed in UN resolution 242, and to accept world opinion that it must return to its 1967 borders.

  6. How ridiculous. The worst that would happen would be the establishment of the status quo ante bellum. Like US neocons, they peddle and survive on instilling fear in their population.

  7. The fears of Israeli bullies about what they have brought upon themselves even though the remedy is obvious, have long since become a part of the background noise in the region. Washington and Europe have problems of their own and seem to have become nearly deaf as well they should. Powerful disincentives are what Israel needs. They should come in the form of economic sanctions.

  8. Does a strong Syria, backed by Vlad and Iran contribute to the end of Apartheid in Israel and citizenship for the Palestinians?

    • No. Vlad has excellent relations with Israel and like a million Israels are Russians and so are a ghost constituency for him. Syria, even if it comes back together, will be weak for a long time and in no position to champion Palestinians.

      • Do his relations with Israel remain excellent if his troops end up facing the Golan Heights as the protectors of Assad and Iran? I think something is going to go wrong eventually.

      • Re: Juan Cole Feb @ 0611
        Prof. Cole, while I agree with your resolute “No” in answer to Riccardo Cabeza‘s query, and your closing contention that…

        “Syria, even if it comes back together, will be weak for a long time and in no position to champion Palestinians.”

        ,
        your contention that…

        “Vlad has excellent relations with Israel and like a million Israels are Russians and so are a ghost constituency for him.”

        seems a bit convoluted; if not factually at odds with the historical and present conditions that define not only the events underpinning Jewish European Apartheid in Palestine, but the decades long attempts of neighboring governments – Jordan, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon – to assist and protect the indigenous Palestinian people and refugees.
        As I think you understand, aside from and despite the current problems in Syria, its people and government continue to provide refuge for tens of thousands of Palestinian people displaced by the conditions of Apartheid violence inflicted upon them by extremist factions controlling the Israeli government.
        As Usual,
        EA

      • What makes American leaders apprehensive when they see Russians, particularly Russians, acting out delusions about having interests in the post-Cold War Middle East? Can one imagine an occasion more appropriate for celebration, flag lowerings and change of command ceremonies? They can’t articulate such interests any better than we can which is a pretty good reason to conclude that neither of us has any. The difference is that we know it from bitter experience but they seem not to have understood yet.

    • Russia is the largest exporter of crude oil to the State of Israel and they also have had history of military cooperation – including hundreds of millions of dollars in trading armaments.

      An estimated 80,000 Israeli emigres live in Moscow.

      Historically, the Soviet Union backed the creation of Israel since it felt it was going to be Marxist in orientation – Ben-Gurion’s Mapai Party had the hammer-and-sickle symbol on its emblem.

      Even though the Soviet Union participated against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, there is no compelling economic or military interest Russia currently has to vigorously advocate for Palestinians – although the Soviet Union was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988 and had trained P.L.O. fighters.

  9. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when the proposed “solution” to an Israeli problem is to hope for “an intervention by Saudi Arabia”.

    Laughable.

    Saudi Arabia soldiers are getting their arse kicked in Yemen. Does Adelson really think they’d do better against a battle-hardened Syrian Arab Army?

    And the most laughable thing about that is they’d probably do better than the IDF, which is a rabble.

    • Well, an open alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel would conclusively expose the true nature of what the US has been trying to impose on the region: an alliance of white capitalist colonists and capitalist-sellout Arab reactionaries. Which reduces to: the rich as feudal representatives of global capital, and inherent enemy of all other people remaining in the Middle East.

      But pretty worthless as infantry, yeah.

  10. “Hebrew Radio10 envisaged that Bashar al-Assad could now reemerge as a strongman with a powerful army.”

    The Free Syrian Army had initial financial backing of Syrian exiles around the world.

    In Metro Detroit, 17 million dollars was raised in non-lethal aid, according to the Detroit Free Press in 2013. One exile had stated that Syrian-Americans were cleaning out their bank accounts to assist the FSA and donating the money to the Syrian Support Group (SSG), who had a U.S. State Department license to collect such funds. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford had issued a letter endorsing these fund raising efforts and John McCain was interviewed with the SSG chairman (a former student of Dr. Cole’s) on National Public Radio about the laudable efforts of the Syrian rebels seeking freedom from oppression and torture. At this juncture in 2013, The FSA had been confident that victory over Assad was imminent with recent defections of high-ranking officers from the Syrian Arab Army and the FSA was close to cutting off the Latakia to Damascus supply corridor that was crucial to the Baathists survival.

    Today, the following situation exists:

    (A) Ambassador Ford (a fellow commenter on this blog) resigned his ambassadorship and has been openly critical of the Obama administration’s handling of the Syria situation;

    (B) many FSA fighters have defected to Islamic-oriented groups;

    (C) the Syrian Support Group has closed its doors – citing the bad media attention that anti-Assad fighters were getting due to ISIS and the other Islamist groups;

    (C) ISIS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front have surpassed the FSA as the pre-eminent anti-Assad forces fighting within Syria;

    (D) Russian intervention has tipped the scales in favor of the Baathists to place them on the verge of retaking Aleppo.

    Vladimir Putin appears to be engaging in Cold War politics by attempting to rescue and prop up a Russian socialist ally in danger of collapsing – the “Brezhnev Doctrine” that justified the Red Army invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to counter Islamic fundamentalist fighters;

    The scheduled Geneva III conference was used as a smokescreen for Assad and his Russian sponsors to “go for the jugular” of the Syrian rebel movement by attacking Aleppo.

    The recent Russian air force intervention has allowed Assad to be in the best position he has been in in the last three years.

    “……(t)he report said that the allies of the Syrian rebels had abandoned them…………………”

    Sadly, yes. I compare these courageous freedom fighters to the anti-Castro Cuban exiles who were waiting for air cover to arrive at the Bay of Pigs.

    Maybe the policy wonks at the U.S. State Department are now considering rapprochement with the Baathist regime. This had been considered as an option in 2009. Maybe they now feel that the Baathists in Damascus are a better alternative to ISIS or the al-Nusra Front.

    Could it be conceivable President Assad and the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry could pose for a photo op over in Damascus or perhaps at Foggy Bottom in the next few months and declare themselves as allies in the war on terror? Could a reconstituted Assad “steal the show” as Serbia’s Slobodan Milosovic did in Dayton back in the 1990s?

  11. The endgame for Syria isn’t in Syria. The survival of Assad means that Hezbollah will remain strong enough to prevent the water resources of southern Lebanon being captured by Israel.

  12. “Steinitz said Israel would nevertheless not intervene in the Syrian civil war…”
    In other words, the entire thing – “Israel Frets…etc.” – is a disinformation/propaganda campaign.

  13. A few Iranian S-400 batteries staged on the Syria-israel border could be an interesting counter to israel’s bombing raids against its neighbors.

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