Feb 07,2018 – JORDAN TIMES –
Israel is inadvisably but increasingly involved in conflicts raging in its northern and southern neighbours. In the north, Israel has for several years provided aid and comfort to Daesh, Al Qaeda, and other insurgents fighting the Syrian government. This began by offering medical treatment to anti-government fighters and gradually involved ministering to wounded civilians, offering humanitarian aid, and paying fighters’ salaries.
Nour Samaha, writing on The Intercept website on January 23, revealed that Israel intends to create a “safe zone” by expanding the buffer zone along the occupied Golan Heights into the Syrian provinces of Quneitra and Daraa. Justification for Israel’s latest land-grab in Syria is its determination that the Israeli army must not confront the Syrian army, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Lebanon’s Hizbollah fighters along the Golan ceasefire line.
She writes that this “safe zone” could consist of a 40-kilometre wide, “Israeli monitored buffer” area, employ a proxy, 500-strong “Syrian border police force armed and trained by Israel, and involve Israel in civil administration in opposition-controlled areas in [the] two southern provinces.”
According to Samaha, Israel has been seriously concerned about growing Iranian influence in Syria and has been dissatisfied with security assurances provided by the US and Russia as Syria’s war has wound down, leaving the Assad government in power thanks to Russia and Iran. While she says the buffer zone plan has been rejected by the Western powers, Israeli Army Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eisenkof told an Israeli newspaper, “We’re pursuing several different avenues to prevent Iranian entrenchment within 30-40km of the border…We want to get to a point there is no Iranian influence in Syria, and this is being done in a combined military and diplomatic effort.”