Wednesday, July 11, 2018

There Are Fears of New Conflicts at One of Israel’s Quietest Borders

(Bloomberg) -- A reinforced deployment of tanks and heavy guns is parked along Israel’s frontier with Syria as the civil war that transformed the balance of power in the Middle East appears headed into its final stretch.
The fighting in Syria has come full circle as its army sets its sights on retaking Daraa province, where the regime’s brutal reaction to anti-government graffiti on a school wall sparked the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011. The offensive against one of the last two major opposition strongholds has brought Syrian forces close to the Israeli-held section of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
As the thud of shells echoes across what has for decades dependably been Israel’s quietest frontier, fears of new conflicts have risen.
Iran, whose forces helped to propel Assad to the brink of total victory, has a presence on the doorstep of archenemy Israel. With the U.S. on the sidelines, only Russia has the clout to prevent the Israeli military from being drawn deeper into what remains of Syria’s war.
“None of us here is foolish enough to believe things will just go back to the way they were,” said Qasem Sabagh, a member of the Golan Druze community that came under Israeli control, as he looked out at a United Nations post where Syrian relatives once came to shout greetings through a loudspeaker. “The entire world wants a piece of Syria -- Iran, the U.S., Israel, Russia.” READ MORE