R.I.P. Syria?

Experts at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies debate the implications of civil war on our border.

November 15, 2012 10:32
RIP Syria 521

RIP Syria 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Perhaps more than 50,000 Syrians have been killed in the almost two-year-long civil war raging just across Israel’s northern border, with no end in sight. The conflict threatens to spill over into neighboring countries. In this roundtable discussion, 10 experts at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies analyze the likely scenarios and their implications for Israel and the West. The bottom line: Israel should stay out of the conflict, but prepare for continued instability as Syria breaks up.

For how long can this conflict persist?

Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum
: This is most likely to be a long, protracted war, as long as the Russians and Iranians keep supplying Syrian President Bashar Assad. He is the only Russian ally left in the Middle East, and the Mediterranean port of Tartus is important to Moscow. Don’t expect Moscow to support sanctions against Assad. Iran sees Syria as key to the Shi’ite anti-Sunni axis involving Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Iraq. They will not give up easily on Assad, either. As the conflict persists, it is possible that a Cold War-style proxy war could develop, with the West supporting an amalgam of opposition forces, and the Russians and Iranians supporting Assad.


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