Israel’s bankrupt military policy for Gaza won’t work for Golan either
That Israel’s military chiefs have not yet come up with an answer for the attacks building up from Syrian territory – four this month – was apparent in its responses to the bomb which Tuesday, March 18 injured four paratroopers – one seriously – who were manning Post 104 near the Golan village of Majdal Shams.
Artillery and rocket fire was instantaneously directed at a Syrian army post near Quneitra. Then, before dawn Wednesday, Israeli warplanes struck Syrian posts, command centers and artillery batteries in the Quneitra region of Syrian Golan.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon then issued a warning that the Assad regime would be held responsible for any attacks on “our sovereignty, soldiers and civilians” and pay a heavy price for "collaborating with terrorists."
The same old policy of holding a sovereign state responsible for terrorist action from its soil, a policy which never worked in the Gaza Strip, has apparently been recycled for the Golan. It won’t work there either.
Just as Hamas doesn’t control the pro-Iranian Jihad Islami, the Syrian army cannot prevent terrorists from planting roadside bombs and attacking Israeli targets from the Syrian Golan.
Predictably, the only effect of Israel’s Tammuz rocket was to relieve the pressure the Syrian Army’s 90th Brigade encampment had exerted on the rebels under Gen. Abdul-Illah’s command and embolden them to go on the offensive against the 90th brigade.
Not only have Israeli’s military chiefs run out of ideas, but it was also evident from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s comments after the attack on the paratroopers that they have not identified its perpetrators.
Until recently, the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah was the obvious assailant and presumed to be retaliating for Israel’s March 6 air strike on its weapons convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
But then another player, Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant-ISIS, entered the picture to claim responsibility for the roadside bomb planted on March 14 against an Israeli military patrol in another sector, the disputed Shebaa Farms border intersection. No one was hurt then. Israel hit back at the old enemy by pounding Hizballah positions in the neighborhood.
ISIS is waging an implacable war against Hizballah in Syria and Lebanon. It is therefore hard to see the relevance of Hizballah to the Shebaa Farms attack – and therefore the point of Israel’s reprisal. Indeed it missed another point: By attacking Hizballah, Israel recognized the Lebanese terrorist organization’s armed presence in that part of southern Lebanon in breach of UN resolutions.
Netanyahu also noted that the Syrian border region with Israel has been filling up of late with jihadist and Hizballah elements, confronting Israel with fresh challenges. He praised his government’s success in keeping Israel clear and safe from the Syrian civil war and pledged to “aggressively guard Israeli security here too.”
debkafile: The appearance of Al Qaeda and Hizballah in this area is hardly recent. For months, the two rival groups have been building up strength along Israel’s borders. On March 16, Hizballah gained a major victory by conquering jointly with the Syrian army the key mountain town of Yabroud near the Syrian-Lebanese border. Control of Yabroud provides Hizballah with another springboard for striking at IDF border targets from Syrian soil.
The hostile forces around Israel’s borders are gaining ground. Adhering to the unimaginative tit-for-tat template that failed in the Gaza Strip will not deter them. Unless Israel’s leaders come up with better and more effective ideas, Israel's northern and southern fronts are in for what the military call a war of attrition.