Israel must risk intensifying military and civil intervention in Syria to prevent Iran from controlling it, an Israeli think tank has said.
The Israeli National Security Research Center said in a report that “Israel should focus on three main areas: southern Syria, the Iraqi-Syrian border area, and the Syrian-Lebanese borders.”
The think tank called on the Israeli military to target Hezbollah forces in the region.
At the same time, the center said Israel should try to build a network of relations with the people in the region by providing humanitarian aid to them.
The report said that the intensification of Israeli operations in the Iraqi-Syrian border area “is of great importance, especially since the US may evacuate its forces from Iraq, which would enhance Iran’s ability to control the borders and build a bridge linking Iran with Syria and Lebanon.”
The report said that Israel should build a network of relations and cooperation with the Kurds in Syria and provide them with military and economic support.
The report added that allowing Hezbollah to control the Syrian-Lebanese border area “is a strategic vulnerability for Tel Aviv, because it allowed Hezbollah to enhance its military capabilities through smuggling operations.”
The center called for the adoption of a new strategy in dealing with Syria that focuses on removing President Bashar al-Assad from power, as his presence provides a political environment that allows Iran to continue its concentration.
The report added, “experiences have proven that the three assumptions that governed Israel’s handling of the situation in Syria proved to be wrong. The first is that the military operations launched by Israel in the Syrian depth may impede Iran’s concentration there; the second is that it is possible to rely on Russia’s role in expelling the Iranians and their affiliated groups and reducing Tehran’s role; and the third is that having a central government in Syria, even under Assad’s leadership, is better for Israel to prevent chaos.”
The report’s authors called on Israel to adopt a diplomatic and political approach that aims to trade a gulf-funded reconstruction with the departure of Assad.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.