IsraHell and Syria: Beneficial Anarchy?

IsraHell and Syria: Beneficial Anarchy?
by Andreas Krieg   
However, I think there is a third scenario that should be considered by Israel, which does not leave the Jewish state stuck between a rock and a hard place. Let’s start by looking at the first two scenariosScenario 1: Scenario one seems to reflect the preferred outcome for most of the Friends of Syria: a military victory of the Free Syrian Army and affiliated rebel groups culminating in the ousting of President Assad. For Israel this scenario has obvious benefits as well. With a Sunni majority government in place, the Shiite Bloc extending from Iran over Al Maliki’s Iraq to Syria and Southern Lebanon, would be cut in half, creating a logistical and ideological disconnect between Hezbollah and Iran. 
Bearing in mind that Iran and her local proxy Hezbollah are considered by Israeli leaders to be the most dangerous threat to Israel’s security and integrity[2], the lapse of Syria as a transfer and shipment site for Iranian weaponry would be conducive to Israel’s security. However, this scenario also bears a considerable risk. As many of the Syrian rebel movements have united under the banner of Prophet Mohammad’s seal, it is worth taking a closer look at those fighting for ‘freedom’ and against oppression in Syria. Many of those rebels waving the Prophet’s banner have joined the ranks of Mujahedeen pursuing a questionable pan-Islamic salafist agenda[3], which as recently stated by the Al-Nusrah Front, aims at establishing with the help of other jihadist groups, a Sunni Caliphate not within the borders of Syria but across the Levant[4].
The dangers of such forces becoming involved in a post-Assad socio-political state building process are obvious; particularly from an Israeli point of view. [7].Scenario 2: The second scenario, although arguably the least likely, predicts a consolidation of the Shiite Bloc’s power, whereby Assad’s regime with the support of its allies would be able to galvanize its control of Southern Syria and Lebanon, maintaining the Shiite lifeline extending from Teheran to Southern Lebanon. Since the Assad family has been committed to the maintenance of the cold peace with Israel on the Golan for more than thirty years, this scenario might at first sight promise to keep Israel’s northern frontier quiet.
Yet, an enhanced collaboration and cooperation between Assad’s regime and Hezbollah in an existential struggle for both parties’ survival would arguably bear the risk of an increased sharing of technology and weaponry. In particular, the prospect of Russian-made SA-17s, S-300s or P-800 Oniks being shipped from Damascus to Southern Lebanon might give Israeli leaders sleepless nights[8]The highly mobile and capable SA-17 and S-300 air defence systems could become a game changer on their own in a future escalation of violence between Hezbollah and Israel. Depriving the Israeli Air Force of its ability to create control of the air and subsequently engage mobile missile launching sites would severely undermine Israel’s chances to protect her citizens from Hezbollah’s more than 70,000 missiles directed towards Haifa, Tel Aviv or Jerusalem[9].
In view of the importance assigned to the Shiite militia’s conventional threat in Israeli defence and security planning, this scenario then, leaves little room for consolation – even if the proliferation of WMDs from Assad to Hezbollah appears to be highly unlikely (it arguably constitutes a major red line not just for Israel but for the international community at large).Even so, I think that the potential outcomes of the Syrian Civil War hold more than the prospect of these two highly discomforting predicaments for Israel. Rather than being inevitably caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, I would suggest that Israel might be best served by a third scenario of short term anarchy and long term instability.
Scenario 3: The maintenance of the current status quo witnessing Assad’s forces being bogged down in a mutually painful battle of attrition with rebel forces, would grant Israel more breathing space on her northern border in the long run. Imagining the current stalemate continuing would mean that Hezbollah as a party to the conflict would be increasingly called upon to support an ever more fragile regime in Damascus with limited reach and leverage beyond the Syrian capital. Thereby, both Assad’s regime and Hezbollah would be further isolated diverting the latter’s attention away from its main struggle with Israel and other groups within Lebanon. At the same time Sunni rebel groups, both moderate and jihadist, would find themselves in a costly battle wearing down the moral and physical components of their fighting power; ultimately leading to a mid or long-term mutually painful stalemate between those supporting and those opposing Assad. I feel that in the long-run such a stalemate could pave the way for a power sharing agreement between members of the rebellion and modera te supporters of the old ruling elite, which under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and Qatar might facilitate a shaky socio-political recovery of Syria[10]
Torn by domestic skirmishes and dependent on Saudi and Qatari benevolence, such a transitional government, favouring the Sunni majority, however not completely able to marginalize Syrian minorities, would constitute an ideal gatekeeper for Israel’s northern frontier. [[[[Breaking the Shiite Bloc apart and tamed by the wahabist ideologies of political Islam prevalent in the Persian Gulf, short term chaos and long-term instability would allow Israel to maintain her regional hegemony.]]]]
[ed notes:Zionist Andreas Krieg Currently PhD War Studies at King’s College London (Legitimising the use of private military and security companies for military humanitarian intervention using the conceptual framework of Just War Theory), MA in Governance [Diplomacy&Conflict Studies] (IDC Herzliya, Israel), BA in European Studies (Maastricht University, NL). Andreas has conducted in depth research participating in the two year MA thesis track at the Lauder School of Governance, IDC, Herzliya, Israel. 

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