Israeli analyst: Israel must act before Iran, Hezbollah take over Syrian Golan

Iran has inserted itself “into the Syrian army’s nervous system – its chain of command – and into the everyday lives of the local population,” Israeli commentator Ehud Yaari said.

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Israeli journalist and political commentator on Arab affairs for Channel 12, Ehud Yaari, warned Tuesday in an interview with 103FM Radio that Israel’s northern front with Syria is becoming deeply entrenched with Iranian military presence.

“Israeli efforts to disrupt, prevent or delay the deployment of Iran and Hezbollah in the Syrian Golan region has not been completely successful,” Yaari said.

He argued that Iran has been slowly assimilating itself in Syrian villages in the Golan and quietly overtaking units from the Syrian army. “They’ve inserted themselves into the Syrian army’s nervous system – its chain of command – and into the everyday lives of the local population.” he said.

By doing so, Tehran is playing the long game and avoiding any confrontation with the IDF for the time being. “Iran knows that once it erects a military outpost in the area, the IDF will not hesitate to strike,” he explained.

Yaari argued that Israel had missed a significant strategic opportunity between 2011-2015, when the Syrian civil war broke out and before the Russians entered the arena. Israel could have worked to take down the Assad regime but remained neutral, thus reaching the current situation.

“If Israel does not act soon, Iran and Hezbollah will establish a significant military presence in the Golan,” he concluded. And while he did note that it would take Iran between two and three years to transform its Golan presence to “something with significant military capabilities,” he urged Israeli lawmakers to wake up before “our front with Hezbollah doesn’t extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Hermon, but will go further south until the Jordan River.”

Yaari noted that this issue has been known to Israel’s security establishment for years. However, noticing it was absent from the Israeli media and general discourse, he decided to address the threat and hopefully promote an Israeli counteraction soon.

The concerns raised by the senior analyst are supported by a recent report published by a Turkish thinktank that claimed that Iran has doubled its presence in southern Syria’s Golan Heights, while building military infrastructure in the region, specifically for a future conflict with Israel.