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Israel fears Iranian encroachment via Syria

Friday, July 7, 2017

Significance

The Israeli security establishment is worried that border arrangements established during the Syrian war may erode. It sees the Syrian Golan Heights as of great strategic importance, fearing their retaking by the Damascus regime would allow an Iranian presence on its border through proxies such as Lebanese Hezbollah.

Impacts

  • Israel’s cross-border deterrent strikes will increasingly risk Syrian retaliation and Moscow's displeasure.
  • Any major Hezbollah terrorist attack or cross-border operation from the Golan Heights could provoke a new Israeli offensive in Lebanon.
  • The next Israeli assault on Lebanon would likely target state infrastructure as well as Hezbollah positions, raising the stakes.
  • Tensions over the Syrian Golan Heights, as well as an Iranian proxy presence, will test Moscow's relationship with Jerusalem and Tehran.
  • As a last resort in the face of a cross-border threat, Israel could seek to establish a risky buffer zone in the area.
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