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.