Skip to main content

Children look at an Israeli army mobile artillery unit in this file photo.

BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

With the civil war in Syria being increasingly being internationalized, even Israel got into the action this past week, apparently attacking Syrian army weapons warehouses near the border with Lebanon on Saturday morning, then attacking and killing four fighters Sunday night who were reportedly trying to plant an explosive device on the Israeli side of the ceasefire line on the occupied Golan Heights.

Israeli officials refused to comment on the first attack, as is their practice, but they did acknowledge carrying out the second, arguing that Hezbollah was behind the bomb-planting though it was apparently carried out by local Druze.

Israel has made it clear that if attacked by Hezbollah, it will respond. However, Hezbollah is unlikely to provoke it in any major way, since to do so might lead Israel to launch retaliatory strikes in South Lebanon. In that event, Hezbollah would be forced to redeploy its forces that currently are fighting in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad's regime, and bring them back to Lebanon to defend the territory. This is the last thing Syria or Iran want, since it could well mean the collapse of the Damascus regime, so dependent is it on Hezbollah fighters.

Story continues below advertisement

The fact that Israel has not triggered such a fight with Hezbollah suggests that the Israeli authorities don't want to see the complete collapse of the Assad regime, perhaps fearing what might replace it. Israel, too, would rather wait until a negotiated settlement is given a chance.

Even though it is outside the battlefield, Israel, it seems, has a strategic role in this conflict, and its interests too must be taken into consideration when arriving at a resolution. Its bottom line is to have a Damascus regime that doesn't threaten Israel's position on the Golan Heights nor its state of non-belligerence on the Lebanese border.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.