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Get Ready for the New Middle East Battlefield: The Golan

The exchange of missiles last week on the Syrian-Israeli border was anything but normal.

This firefight established new rules of engagement in the Levant, and made the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights an “operational theater” in the Syrian conflict overnight.

The mainstream media’s version of events began with Israel retaliating against Iranian missile strikes, and the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) destroying Iran’s military capabilities inside Syria. But that information is questionable: it comes almost exclusively from Israelis who rarely miss an opportunity to beat the “Iranian threat” war drum.

In the lead-up to the May 10 skirmish—just after the Trump administration exited the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear agreement—Israeli officials began warning of an impending Iranian attack from inside Syria. Then, within hours of the ensuing firefight, an Israeli army spokesman announced that the elite “Quds Force” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had fired 20 missiles into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, after which Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman boasted that “we hit nearly all Iranian infrastructures in Syria.”

IDF spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manilas described Israel’s actions [1] as “one of the greatest operations of the Israel Air Force in the past decade.” But as the dust settled, an altogether different version of events began to take shape.

A check of the actual conflict chronology shows that Israel initiated the incident by striking Syrian military targets in Kisweh (the Damascus suburbs) and Baath city (Quneitra) over the two preceding days. Russia had warned both Syria and Iran of the impending Israeli strike with the result that neither Iranian military personnel nor weapons systems appear to have been hit. The Syrian military (and not the IRGC) retaliated by firing 55 rockets at Israeli military outposts and installations in the occupied part of the Golan. Local Arab media identified these targets as key Israeli surveillance centers that crippled Israel’s “eyes and ears” along that vital demarcation line. Israel’s vaunted “Iron Dome” defense system failed to intercept most of these rockets, while the Syrian military intercepted more than half of Israel’s missiles, according to Russian military officials. [2]

What is undisputed: the military back-and-forth was the first major firefight between Syria and Israel in the occupied Golan Heights since 1973—making the Golan an operational theater for the first time in over four decades. This is also the first time during the Syrian  War that the Syrian military has retaliated against Israeli strikes by hitting Israeli military installations—not just the incoming missiles and the Israeli warplanes firing them. And finally, Israel must contend for the first time with the fact that any battle it initiates can be waged in its own backyard.

Clearly, this is neither the result nor the response that Israel expected.

So how did we get here? The Israelis have been aiming to gain a “buffer zone” [3] along their border with Syria, but that effort has faced serious setbacks since the the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied forces ejected militants from key Damascus suburbs this year.

Israel has materially [4] backed many of these militant forces along its border with Syria for years, including medical and other forms of support for extremists, like al-Nusra fighters, and moral support [5] for ISIS [6], which maintains a small presence on Israel’s border with Syria. Nusra and ISIS, after all, have been the most successful “opposition” forces combating the SAA in the Syrian crisis, and were therefore valuable assets for Israel-–especially as neither group has shown any inclination to target the Israelis. ISIS once even apologized [7] to Israel for a brief clash with IDF forces in late 2016.

A partitioned and weak Syria is what Israel wants, as it would thwart the strength of one of its main Arab states as well as Syria’s vital Iranian ally. But now southern Syria is once more awash with the SAA and its allied troops, who have set their sights on continuing their southward trek into areas Israel considers its strategic depth.

In December, Beit Jinn—the last significant militant-held enclave southwest of Damascus—was overrun by the SAA [8], reportedly with the assistance of Hezbollah and the IRGC. Beit Jinn is nestled in a mountain passageway linking Syria, Lebanon, and Israel— near the Golan demarcation line—and its loss threw the Israelis into a tizzy.

This move brought Hezbollah, the Iranians, and the Syrians [9] into one of the most strategic points on the Golan border, a development Israel has frantically tried to reverse since the U.S.-Russian-Jordanian “de-escalation-zone” was established in southern Syria last year.

On April 9, Israel launched unprecedented strikes against Iranian targets at the T4 military base in Homs, killing seven IRGC troops, including a commander. This was just one of the 100 separate airstrikes that Israel has claimed since it first struck Syrian targets in 2013. But the T4 attack changed everything. For the “Resistance Axis”—whose core members are Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah—it was time to deliver some “consequence” [10] and take control of the Israeli escalation.

Four days later, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyed Hassan Nasrallah hit the airwaves [11] to make this shift clear to the Israelis: “The Israelis should know that they have committed a historic mistake. It is not an ordinary mistake…. It is a pivotal incident in the status of the region. What preceded this incident is not the same as what comes after it.”

Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have rarely responded directly to an Israeli military action, because, according to recent public statements from the deputy leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, they refused to allow Israel to “control the rules of conflict.” [12] It’s a difficult balance to strike, and Israel appears to have been emboldened by the hitherto measured response from its three antagonists. But this time, Israel’s quest to achieve more favorable rules of engagement through repeated missile attacks, even incrementally, may well have backfired. As Elijah Magnier, a Brussels-based veteran Mideast correspondent currently in Syria, notes: “Any Israeli attack from now on, the battle will be taken to the Golan. The Israelis did not anticipate this. They have incorrectly believed that Assad would be busy in Yarmouk, al-Badiya, etc.—that at most he would react in the same way as before.”

In a speech on Monday, Nasrallah confirmed this: “The message was delivered to the Israeli enemy. It said that the era when you hit Syria without response is over.” The Hezbollah leader said his alliance had conveyed a message to Israel through third parties that if it “crosses the red lines in Syria more rockets will be launched and they will hit the Israeli depth.”

The Israelis expected the Syrian government, Iran, and Hezbollah to stay mired in their battles against militants elsewhere—and to be restrained by the Russians, who have openly resolved to stay out of Israel’s fights with Hezbollah and Iran. They did not expect this alliance to redirect the confrontation toward Israel’s military land targets inside the occupied Golan Heights, which remains legally Syrian. The international consensus that the “Golan is Syrian” is enshrined in countless UN resolutions, including a recent one adopted [13] in December, creating a real source of political vulnerability [14] for Israel, which cannot legally claim its northeastern border.

That vulnerability has deepened since 2011, as the primarily Druze population of occupied Golan watched in horror as their Syrian relatives across the border were occupied, harassed, and even killed at the hands of Islamist militants. Many Druze believe these militants are supported by Israel [15]. The “axis” is seeking to harness the anger by backing anti-Israel resistance fighters in Golan [16]. Put simply, the Golan is ripe for some stirring from inside and outside, and Israeli strikes in Syria last week just made it a target.

The Russians may not like this turn of events—they would rather focus on de-escalating and resolving the Syrian conflict. But while Moscow has tolerated small Israeli strikes against Syrian and allied military targets, they have the leverage to contain the size and frequency of these attacks. Israel is held in check by Russia’s ability to deliver fully loaded S-300 and S-400 air defense systems to the Syrians, which would be a regional game changer.

In turn, while it is unlikely that any of Israel’s three opponents (Syria, Iran, or Hezbollah) will choose to pick a fight with the Israelis right now, it’s also clear that all of them will retaliate if provoked. In the past seven years, the Middle East has never been so close to war as it is today, which is why there’s an urgent need for cooler heads to prevail—even if, as with Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah—they need to retaliate in order to de-escalate conflict and establish deterrence.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics based in Beirut.

38 Comments (Open | Close)

38 Comments To "Get Ready for the New Middle East Battlefield: The Golan"

#1 Comment By Miguel On May 15, 2018 @ 11:29 pm

I wonder if the russians did accept the Netanyahu’s request not to sell S-300 to the Iraninas…

#2 Comment By Charle Rebel On May 16, 2018 @ 8:10 am

Here in Australia anyone who challenges the Israel version of events are being censored for talking out against Israel’s Jewish injustice, by our liberal lead government, main stream newspapers journalist, and fox news, radio disc jockeys, Microsoft email services,

Like me Australia born true and true with no religion belief even our children are being force to attend Jewish educational system and it filtering into our work places we are being monitored and label as traitors to Christianity, Jewish cause.

And yet all we are saying is we do not belief Israeli action are legal but you are brand and label by Jewish press, religion lead government and by those whom are brain washed into thinking like a Jew.

We do not like where our nation is head and we do not want our children fight religion war for a land grab for oil and resources.

I could not care less what religion you are I just want you out of my country and stop trying to tell me what to say, what to do and what I should be seeing I have my own mind and opinions on world matters and I read between the lines I am not supporting any terrorist network and I am dam if I go to any religion churches that are politic motivated and are abuse toward children.

#3 Comment By Max havelaar On May 16, 2018 @ 9:37 am

Ultimately nowadays, peace = military balance!

So yes, Russia needs to deliver S300, if rational and it wants peace in ME.

It will force Lieberman to negotiate!

#4 Comment By Dan Green On May 16, 2018 @ 10:04 am

In these un-chacteristic times Bi Bi seems on a tear. He has the green light from Trump and he is making nice with Putin.

#5 Comment By Jon On May 16, 2018 @ 10:09 am

Retaliation can never serve to deescalate tensions. It only exacerbates the situation inviting the opponent to engage with an even greater display of fighting power which would in all probability wreak greater havoc on the region.

#6 Comment By Dan Green On May 16, 2018 @ 10:11 am

I often ponder, if anyone of any authority, or long term insight, realizes, there is no solution to how Western Democracies perceive how the Middle East should be structured. Trumans own cabinet warned him if the Jewish people were allowed to establish a state in the region the problem would be with us for eternity.

#7 Comment By Tancred On May 16, 2018 @ 10:27 am

For those of us who voted for Trump in the hope that he would be a peace president this is all very disappointing. Honestly, though, we should have seen it coming. The Israelis know that with Trump in office they can be sure of unconditional support against Iran and Syria and so they are getting more aggressive. Look for the Middle East situation to deteriorate even more in the near future.

#8 Comment By bkh On May 16, 2018 @ 10:29 am

This is not a new battle front. It is just an old one come back to life. However, it is perhaps the most dangerous from a peace perspective.

#9 Comment By TTT On May 16, 2018 @ 10:55 am

The Golan Heights by now have belonged to Israel for far longer than they ever belonged to Syria. It is not “occupied,” everyone living there has full citizenship and voting rights – this is not Gaza or Nablus. Since Assad is so busy genociding his own people, it’s hard to believe the notion that they need the extra space.

Israel does run “no questions asked” hospitals for Syrians and has surely treated injured terrorists there. They are exactly as partnered with ISIS as they are with crippled children who got barrel-bombed.

#10 Comment By LouisM On May 16, 2018 @ 11:47 am

And there you have it in this summed up in this article.

Israel wants regime change in Syria because it wants the Golan.

The US wants regime change in Syria because Israel wants it and because the US wants to deprive Russia of the unfettered access of (Russian) oil pipelines to the Mediterranean.

This has nothing to do with Assad. This is all about power strategies between great powers…and its the civilian population that are its casualties (as is always the case).

#11 Comment By Going My Way On May 16, 2018 @ 12:21 pm

The concept of peace by war is not new. Egypt’s 1973 invasion of the Sinai was only thwarted by Nixon’s full support of Israel by emptying NATO reserves to replace lost Israeli military equipment. Israel, Egypt, and the U.S. realizing the gravity of this type of war did make peace (1978). It has held. The author seems to be saying that the opportunity cost of Israel’s further expansion into neighboring territories may act as a bulwark against such, and also an inducement for a more just peace based on mutual respect. Having watched Israeli and Arabs (mainly Jordanians) mingle peacefully at Moses Rock (Jordan), Aqaba (Jordan), and in Petra (Jordan), there is hope for a negotiated and long-lasting peace based on mutual respect that benefits all concerned.

#12 Comment By Christian Chuba On May 16, 2018 @ 12:52 pm

The body of the article offers the counter-argument. Now that Israel sees that they are vulnerable on the Golan Heights and that the Syrian Army now has the resources to fire back, we might finally see an end to their arbitrary bombing of Syria. Now if only the Russians would allow Syria to get S300’s there might finally be peace in the region.

Incidentally, I don’t hate Israel, they are afflicted with the same arrogance that afflicts us in the U.S. Once you experience the ability to bomb someone without fear of retaliation, it’s a powerful narcotic. It’s human nature to rationalize this unnatural advantage, to preserve it at all costs and to demonize your neighbors who quite rationally want to neutralize this advantage.

Iran flies one surveillance drone over Israel and its the beginning of a war of genocide, an act that justified a massive bombing raid. A drone modeled after one of many that we flew over Iran. Does Iran have the right to bomb the U.S.? Of course not, we are the good guys, the white hats, we have the right to invade their airspace. If they respond it would be aggression.

#13 Comment By Sid_finster On May 16, 2018 @ 1:37 pm

Israel does not treat ISIS terrorists from humanitarian motives.

Israel does so in order to turn Syria into a failed state.

#14 Comment By cka2nd On May 16, 2018 @ 2:58 pm

Charle Rebel says: “Here in Australia anyone who challenges the Israel version of events are being censored for talking out against Israel’s Jewish injustice,…Like me Australia born true and true with no religion belief even our children are being force to attend Jewish educational system…we are being monitored and label as traitors to Christianity, Jewish cause…And yet all we are saying is we do not belief Israeli action are legal but you are brand and label…by those whom are brain washed into thinking like a Jew…I could not care less what religion you are”

I’m sorry, Mr. Rebel, but I really do think you DO care what religion someone is, and you really do find it hard to distinguish between Zionists and Jews, which actually makes the Zionists quite happy.

TAC editors, I would argue that Mr. Rebel’s comment crosses the line into clear anti-semitism and should be deleted. I’ve been commenting here for over 10 years now and this is the first time in a long time that I can remember suggesting that a comment should not have been posted or should be deleted.

#15 Comment By KXB On May 16, 2018 @ 3:15 pm

What Syria is attempting to do in the Golan Heights is what Hezbollah has established on the Israel-Lebanese border – deterrence. It does not mean that all is peaceful, but both sides are well aware of what can happen if matters escalate.

#16 Comment By cka2nd On May 16, 2018 @ 3:26 pm

I’ve been wondering for months now how the IDF would perform in a straight-up fight with the SAA. I’m sure the arms and training favor the former many times over, but the IDF has been primarily an army of occupation for the better part of the last 35 years – And how have those forays into Lebanon worked out for Israel, huh? – while the SAA has been fighting an actual civil war these last few years. If the Israeli air force could be neutralized, could the SAA take the Golan Heights back from Israel and hold them? Can Hezbollah aim their thousands of rockets well enough to reduce Israeli relief columns (Is the very idea of “relief columns” and example of overly 20th Century-thinking on my part?) without excessive civilian casualties?

My head says the Assad government is appalling (and I have no love for Putin, Hezbollah or the Iranian government, let alone the IRGC) but my heart, the same Arab-American child’s heart that was proud of the Egyptian Army’s breakthrough into the occupied Sinai in 1973, would be cheered mightily if Syria drove the Israelis, every bit as smug, arrogant and racist as they were before October 1973, out of the Golan and kept them out. Be a sweet rebuke to the bi-partisan pro-Israel consensus in the U.S., too.

It’s a pity there isn’t a young cadre of reform-minded officers in the Egyptian military ready to launch a coup and bring their forces into the fray (not to mention ending the shameful Egyptian blockade of Gaza). I imagine the Egyptian Navy and Air Force have been war-gaming ways to neutralize Israel’s five nuclear-missile armed submarines for years.

#17 Comment By cka2nd On May 16, 2018 @ 3:46 pm

Imagine the pictures of the SAA marching IDF prisoners to the restored Syrian-Israeli border on the Israeli side of the Heights? How many prisoners did Israel release for the return of one Israeli soldier a few years ago?

#18 Comment By Blackrock On May 16, 2018 @ 4:18 pm

[17]
Oops, TAC!

#19 Comment By Patricus On May 16, 2018 @ 5:10 pm

Cka2nd, reading Charle Rebel’s comment it is obvious he wasn’t born in an English speaking/writing country.

Wish you wouldn’t advocate for censorship. The readers are intelligent enough to figure these thing out.

#20 Comment By KXB On May 16, 2018 @ 6:14 pm

Blackrock,

Hamas runs the gov’t, hospitals, and schools in Gaza. A teacher shot at the fence may very well have been a Hamas member. So what is your point?

#21 Comment By Christian Chuba On May 16, 2018 @ 7:28 pm

@Blackrock, even if that was true, how would it matter if they were not carrying assault rifles and RPG’s. Are you saying that it’s okay to kill unarmed people on site because they are accused of being affiliated with a specific group?

That is quite a standard. Duma was occupied by the Saudi backed ‘Army of Islam’ who are as bad as the name suggests. They have executed unarmed Syrian POW’s. We didn’t merely condemn the military action on Duma but we immediately took their word as Gospel truth when they claimed that there was a chlorine attack based on videos showing children being sprayed with water. For some reason, all of the dead had foaming mouths, aha, a Nerve agent!

So the Gazans are all tricksters even though not one Israeli soldier has been harmed but the word of the Arabs in Duma is gold and we bomb within a week.

#22 Comment By elmerfudzie On May 16, 2018 @ 8:12 pm

Economists and web sources, who are in the know, such as Martin Armstrong, his web page, and Profitconfidential published various articles about Genie Energy (Oct 09, 2015). It’s an open secret that there’s more oil in the Golan than in Saudi Arabia. That said, there’s a very special link that the USD has to the GCC and surrounding areas and it’s not just about oil or gas. The USD’s future is inextricably tied to the goals found in the PNAC document. The goals did not materialize out of thin air, they were based on a predictable, historically recognized, fate of all fiat currencies, that is, it’s boom-bust cycles and by nature, is self destructive. This inevitably leads to a total collapse in commodity exchange value. Before the USD reaches it’s miserable fate, the USA must project a specific military posture throughout the world, while we (still) can credibly extend such forces. AAgain, what are the goals? To ensure that Western Occident corporate monies used to finance both security and energy distribution systems, by sea or land, such as, pipeline construction, receive a return on their investments and have in place, long term alternate security, perhaps using paramilitary groups, drone monitoring and drone policing. Why? because, once our sovereign government(s) USA/UK bankrolling and tax base collapses, their force projections vanish as well. The day will arrive, rather suddenly I should think, when our foreign military bases will close, from Camp Bondsteel to Djibouti, they will all empty out, their personnel won’t even have enough dough to buy a ticket home. Before that day arrives, and it will, our nation must leave in place, governments willing to preserve the energy architecture the West has slowly built, since the days of the seven sisters and in particular, utterly destroy those second and third world governments who, as soon as the cats way (USA), will begin to play-with nuclear fire. We, (the Western Occident alliance) won’t get a second chance, once a full and great global economic depression presents itself.

#23 Comment By glasenkat On May 16, 2018 @ 8:47 pm

Maybe Trump knows the only way to humble Israel and reduce its influence in the US political system is to push it into a conflict it won’t know how to get out of.

Wishful thinking, but it’s almost at that point in our political system where Israel needs to be hit hard if we want to have any chance of making decisions based on our interests, and not that of the Israeli lobbies.

#24 Comment By South Florida On May 16, 2018 @ 8:58 pm

To cka2nd: keep dreaming, a fantasy is all it is. Security for Israel is not a game, even if so for pensioners trolling websites like TAC. The IDF will hold the Golan forever, and you can take that to the bank.

#25 Comment By Donald On May 16, 2018 @ 10:48 pm

Security for Israel is partly a game— a con game, where they keep stealing land and claim it is for security.

The moral issues were complex back in the 30’s and 40’s, when Jews needed any refuge they could find. But they aren’t complex now. Israel is an apartheid state.

#26 Comment By cka2nd On May 16, 2018 @ 10:59 pm

South Florida says: “To cka2nd: keep dreaming, a fantasy is all it is. Security for Israel is not a game, even if so for pensioners trolling websites like TAC. The IDF will hold the Golan forever, and you can take that to the bank.”

You’re likely right, almost certainly right, but you do sound an awful lot like the Israeli establishment, circa September 1973.

#27 Comment By cka2nd On May 16, 2018 @ 11:09 pm

Patricus says: “Cka2nd, reading Charle Rebel’s comment it is obvious he wasn’t born in an English speaking/writing country. Wish you wouldn’t advocate for censorship. The readers are intelligent enough to figure these thing out.”

I generally wouldn’t and don’t. I don’t call for banning the so-called race realists who post here on a regular basis, for instance, but raw bigotry and fighting words (“shvartzes” in a comment on one of Rod’s posts) cross a line for me. I’m not going to make a federal case out of it, though; I’ve had my say and that’s an end to it.

#28 Comment By a spencer On May 17, 2018 @ 2:50 am

>> The IDF will hold the Golan forever

Just like the Amorites, and the Arameans, and the Assyrians, and the Persians, and Alexander, and the Seleucids, and the Itureans, and the Romans, and the Ghassanids, etc, etc, etc.

#29 Comment By Christian Chuba On May 17, 2018 @ 8:11 am

The comments section for this is probably dead but I do not see any evidence that Assad has has any interest in re-taking the Golan Heights. He already has enough on his plate.
1. There is the 90% of his oil assets in the east that have been seized by the SDF that were previously stolen by ISIS.
2. There is the Turkish annexation in the north to eventually deal with.
3. There is Al Qaeda in the north and south around the Golan.

Anyone trotting out a joint Syrian / Iranian offensive to attack Israel are just using that to justify aggression against Syria (not including the author, just speaking in general).

Syria under this Assad has exercised no aggression against any of his neighbors, yet has been targeted by his neighbors and painted as the aggressor. This type of information war really bothers me.

#30 Comment By Jagger On May 17, 2018 @ 9:44 am

—–The IDF will hold the Golan forever, and you can take that to the bank.—-

Hehe, reminds me of Hitler and his claims of a thousand year Reich. Only the delusional can see the future with such clarity.

#31 Comment By Blackrock On May 17, 2018 @ 10:21 am

The Top Ten Stupidest Criticisms of Israel’s Actions on the Gaza Border

1) People have a right to peacefully protest! (Indeed they do. But there are plenty of people here who are taking butcher knives and firebombs and guns to storm the border and kill and kidnap Israeli civilians.)
2) There is no evidence of that! (Yes there is. There are Arabic Facebook pages and interviews and photos.)
3) But it’s not all the Gazans who are doing that! (Right. And it’s not all the Gazans who are being shot!)
4) Israel is just trying to kill as many Gazans as possible! (If it was, there would be carnage like in Syria. Israel is trying to avoid killing Gazans – aside from anything else, it is politically very damaging.)
5) Israel should just use tear gas! (They have, but it often doesn’t work, such as when it’s windy, or when the Gazans have gas masks and bury the canisters.)
6) Israel should only use rubber bullets! (They often can’t, because these only work at short range.)
7) Israel should just arrest them! (If soldiers went up to the crowds to do that, there would be a bloodbath.)
8) Israel is so technologically advanced, there must be a way to stop them without shooting them! (No army in the world has yet found a way to repel armed attackers without ever using bullets)
9) It’s so disproportionate – so many Gazans wounded or killed, and no Israelis! (So what?! When you are repelling an armed invasion, there is no reason to let them kill more of you before continuing to stop them!)
10) The Palestinians have legitimate grievances! (Even if this were true, are you claiming that Israel should therefore just let them storm the border and butcher its civilians?!)

#32 Comment By Jon Cloke On May 17, 2018 @ 12:22 pm

Cooler heads? The closer Bibi gets to war with Iran, the further away from his corruption legal troubles he gets; was the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem the product of coooler thinking?

Bolton and the remnant-PNAC are *desperate* for war with Iran, given how much money they and their allies make out of such wars, and Bibi is desperate to hatch out as the Crusader King who took out the last ‘mortal enemy’of Israel.

Combine that with the rampant militarism of the Saudis who also want Iran turned into dust and rubble like Yemen, and where are your coooler heads? This does not end well…

#33 Comment By Michael Rivero On May 17, 2018 @ 2:17 pm

It needs to be remembered that Israel fired first, launching an attack on Syria less than an hour after Trump announced the withdrawal from the Iran deal.

#34 Comment By KXB On May 17, 2018 @ 5:12 pm

“The IDF will hold the Golan forever, and you
can take that to the bank.”

That was once said about the Sinai, which was peacefully returned to Egypt. It was also once said about southern Lebanon, which Israel lost in its war with Hezbollah in 2000. When they tried to teach Hezbollah a lesson in 2006, it was once again Israel which got pushed back.

#35 Comment By D On May 17, 2018 @ 8:13 pm

ME peace prospects would be greatly enhanced by Iran getting nuclear weapons.

#36 Comment By John of Dorset On May 17, 2018 @ 8:34 pm

Charles Rebel,

You have a very different experience of Australia to me. As far as I can make out, much of the media, especially the ABC, SBS, and Fairfax, are rabidly anti-Israel. You’d be hard pressed to learn from these outlets that the demonstrations in Gaza are Hamas orchestrated, involve all sorts of improvised weapons amongst the protestors, and that the border fence is only a few hundred yards from Israeli towns or settlements (which some protestors have admitted they would try to cause destruction to if they got across the border).

#37 Comment By Going My Way On May 18, 2018 @ 8:39 am

I am sure the majority of Israelis and Arabs of the Middle East would welcome a just and lasting peace. This would mean tough trade-offs. The resulting peace may well be worth the cost. The blogs in this area are now akin to a football game. Love me and hate my enemies. I do think Trump has destabilized the region and that Bush and Obama just did not put enough effort into a just and objective bilateral peace. I do not want to walk in the path of right or wrong; just look for ways to avoid more wars and more killing. I am pessimistic as I read the macho rationalizations above.

#38 Comment By Frank On May 18, 2018 @ 11:59 am

Partition of Syria: US and Israel eye Golan Heights oil
[18]