Yossi Mekelberg: Israel sees events in Golan as additional leverage to cast doubts/derail, nuclear agreement
An interesting analysis that is emerging and which I think will have increasing currency as we reach the Iran vote deadline in the US next month. Essentially the idea is this: for BOTH (some in) Iran/Hezbollah AND (some in) Israel, the Golan “front” is actually a useful tool to 1) fight out the longstanding conflict and also let off some hardliner steam if you will and 2) a useful way to undermine support for the Iran deal.
The key reason pushing the Golan towards more confrontations and violence is that it does NOT have the same weight as the Lebanon theater itself where regularized violence can spin easily out of control and into The Massive War which so many of us believe is down the road at some point.
In other words, more fighting in the coming weeks in Golan, from this perspective, is a relatively safe and somewhat rational way to achieve several objections…. for SOME sides especially the “hardliners” on both sides described below.
“…Directly levelling accusations at Iran, also suggests that Israel sees events in the Golan Heights as additional leverage to cast doubts, if not derail, the nuclear agreement that was reached with Iran. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon asserted that the corollary of the nuclear deal with Iran and the ensuing lifting of sanctions would inevitably lead to “the prelude to a richer and more murderous Iran.” If this is the working assumption of the Israeli military establishment, it might be interested in heating up, probably in a limited way, the border with Syria. In doing so, Israel would join forces, at least inadvertently, with those within the Iranian political system who for their own reasons would like to derail the nuclear agreement. This type of scenario could lead to Israel being dragged into the civil war in Syria with unknown and most likely dire consequences.
Yossi Mekelberg is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House