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Israel fears breakup of Syria

Israeli experts are cautious about predicting events in Syria, but concede that despite losses by Hezbollah there, the organization might attack Israel unexpectedly from the Lebanese border.
A view shows a checkpoint used by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the northwestern city of Ariha, after a coalition of insurgent groups seized the area in Idlib province May 29, 2015. Insurgents who captured the last government-held town in Syria's Idlib province celebrated inside on Friday and made more advances in surrounding areas, in a further blow to the stretched army and allied militia. REUTERS/Abed Kontar - RTR4Y2JU

Israeli Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, who previously headed the Northern Command, addressed a Tel Aviv University conference June 1 to mark 30 years since the Israel Defense Forces’ establishment of the security zone in southern Lebanon. He said, “From a strategic perspective, our situation in the northern arena may be better than ever.” On the other hand, Golan added that Hezbollah now possesses formidable, unparalleled capabilities that no other terrorist organization ever had, and is capable of threatening all of Israel’s population centers. Oh, and that the Islamic State could develop into a “disturbing future threat.” He added, “The Syrian army has, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist.”

Golan's statements come on the heels of a string of harsh setbacks for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from the various insurgents in Syria. There are clear, perhaps unprecedented signs that the Syrian regime may actually fall in the foreseeable future. You won’t find anyone in Israel willing to go out on a limb with a prediction on this issue, after many experienced people made the mistake of eulogizing Assad innumerable times in the past (including former Defense Minister Ehud Barak). Meanwhile, those doomsayers themselves have disappeared from the scene, while Assad remains. Nevertheless, despite the consternation regarding the general atmosphere of uncertainty hovering over the current situation, Israeli security elites are beginning to formulate interesting insights regarding the configuration on the northern front.

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