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Israeli security chiefs modify assessment on Syrian war

The Israel Defense Forces estimate that the Syrian war may last a decade, ending with Syria being divided into several cantons, with jihadist forces on the Israeli border and Hezbollah gaining in military experience.
Smoke rises after shells exploded in the Syrian village of al-Jamlah, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, as seen from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights March 5, 2013. In response to the explosion in the Syrian village on Tuesday the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that they are carefully tracking events that take place in Syria and are prepared for any eventuality.  REUTERS/Baz Ratner (Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3ELP3
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It took quite some time, but eventually the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) changed its strategic assessment about Syria. We are talking about a dramatic change. Reminder: when the revolt in Syria broke out, all of Israel — be it the official, the secretive, the military or the diplomatic one — openly supported the rebels, eagerly awaiting the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview, “Assad [the family] would fall in a matter of weeks.” On Israeli television channels, a news ticker constantly flickered at the bottom of the screen, reading: “Assad — the end!” A few months later, a question mark replaced the exclamation point in that ticker.

From an Israeli perspective, the fall of Assad’s regime would have led to the disbanding of the “axis of evil” that spans from Tehran to Beirut via Damascus. Most Israeli strategists would not sleep a wink because of it. If Syria were to fall, Iran would be isolated and Hezbollah neutralized. This would also affect the nuclear race and the balance of power vis-a-vis Israel. That was the thought in Israel back in the day.

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