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Israel-Under Pressure From Iran And Hezbollah In Syria: Will It Lead To War?

ArmchairPolitiicianIsrael, September 10, 2017, by Brad Peery, www.ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com

*Israel has recently launched strikes in Syria that were apparently aimed at weapons storage facilities, a military training facility, and facilities that were used to store chemical weapons. This is part of an overall picture that has Iran using the war in Syria to establish a permanent presence in that country once ISIS is defeated and the war winds down. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard apparently has the backing of Russia in Syria. Iran has helped Hezbollah stockpile thousands of missiles to be used the next time there is a war between Hezbollah and Israel.

The fear is that the U.S. will be dragged into such a war. However, the U.S. has indicated it is only in Syria to kill ISIS. Also, the U.S. is supporting the Kurds in Syria, and will probably be asked to provide long-term support. It is likely that ISIS, despite a defeat in Syria, will continue to have a rural presence, and the ability to launch random strikes in Syria. Iran will continue to have a presence in Syria, and the U.S. will need to articulate its long-term strategy there.
*The Next Middle East War, Wall Street Journal Editorial, September 8, 2017

**In another development in Syria, the Syrian government has broken a 3-year siege by ISIS by surrounding oil-rich Deir Ezzour province, where ISIS has apparently congregated following its defeats in the north in Raqqa, where the U.S. is supporting the Kurdish led coalition that has defeated ISIS. The U.S. and Russia have an agreement to avoid clashes in Syria. Much of ISIS’s leadership and assets are believed to be located in Mayadeen, about 30 miles south of the city of Deir Ezzour, which is in the process of being recaptured by President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian forces. ISIS still controls the oil assets in the area, which it uses to finance its operations.
**Syrian Military Advances, Ramping Up Pressure On ISIS, Wall Street Journal, by Maria Abi-Habib & Nour Alakraa, September 6, 2017

***The Kurdish lead Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control land areas outside the control of Assad, and there is an issue of how these areas will be segregated, and ruled, once ISIS is defeated. American military planning had planned to push south along the Euphrates River, and seize the cities of Mayadeen and al-Bukamal on the Iraqi border. That is the region has most of the oil and gas reserves in Syria. The rapid defeat of ISIS in Deir Ezzour could block the route the SDF was going to take to get to Mayadeen and al-Bukamai. The U.S. wants a soft partition of Syria along the Euphrates River, but that plan may now be in jeopardy. Syria and Iran have no interest in such a soft partition. It is possible that Assad will eventually attack the SDF, and that could bring the U.S. into the conflict, or require the U.S. to eliminate their support of the Kurds. Also important to Iran is whether they can control a link between Tehran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
***In Syria, A New Conflict Looms As ISIS Loses Ground, Wall Street Journal, by Yaroslav Trofimov, September 8, 2017

ArmchairPolitician.US Opinion:
The U.S. has backed the Kurds in Syria, and will likely support them in Iraq if Kurdistan becomes a separate country there. The issue of Iran and Russia having a continuing presence in Syria post-ISIS is an important one for Israel, and if war breaks out between Hezbollah/Iran and Israel the U.S. could become a participant also. So far, the U.S. seems to have a working relationship with Russia in Syria. There have been some close brushes with conflict, particularly with Assad, and the U.S. will have to decide at some point on its long-term policy in Syria.

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