It happened very quickly – and it happened at night during the last weekend: Israel suddenly opened its tightly sealed border with Syria and allowed 400-800 “White Helmets” inside its territory, alongside their family members. They came with buses looking new and well-climatized and were kept inside a military camp directly behind the border. (“White Helmets” is a pure propaganda name for these supporters of terror and all sorts of crime, aspiring public relations gains by a designation proximity to the UN “Blue Helmets”. As if the questions involved were about colors.) Only very few media were allowed to cover the sensational story, which dwarfs every conspiracy theory. But what do we call this story as compared to the fact, that these war criminals, butchers and accomplices of mass murder and propaganda in and against Syria and its people alongside terrorists are now being distributed directly from Israel into NATO countries, among them, of all places: Germany? Conspiracy practice?
Besides: It’s not, that this wasn’t on our political radar: our last head of German Federal Crime Authority (BKA), Dr. Jörg Ziercke, in the last years of his tenure, shouted his head off in the media, that Germany was being targeted by terrorists from Syria, acting like war tourists, travelling to and fro. One has to read between the lines here, as in every decent dictatorship: tourists need visa – but if Germany is threatened by “terror tourists” as Ziercke had it – who, the hell, issues the visa? Maybe a little hint: how about embassies, undisclosed administration entities?
Returning to IS and the upcoming final battle in Idlib, it is necessary to remember procedures from past battles, mainly: Aleppo and Duma. For IS personnel four choices have been on the table: fight until death, move to the next battlefield, leave the country or hide on individual routes to individual destinations. By picking up “White Helmets” from the last battle, Israel goes so far as to open roads to comparably rich western countries, thus bolstering morale of all mercenaries in Syria, “White Helmets” and Daesh as well.
But it is time to highlight further support, Israel has extended to terrorism in Syria. On location: delivering all kinds of military supplies to IS, plus intelligence of all levels, bombing Iran’s supply deliveries to Syria and Hezbollah directly upon arrival by plane, participation in and support of black ops killing Syrian official personnel of all sorts – often in close co-operation with western countries’ clandestine and illegal military operations. A few years back, during the tenure of its head Gerhard Schindler, German secret service for foreign issues BND claimed to maintain the largest concentration of its agents in Syria. Politically:
Lobbying against Iran’s multi-pronged support to Syria. Coordinating with western partners, mainly of course the US. Should IS be forced to leave its last refuges in eastern Syria, the US and Israel openly voiced fears, that Iran could use land routes for massive deliveries of supplies, merging successfully with thousands of commercial trucks – and thus making it very hard for air strike planners to select and “surgically” hit the right cargo.
Israel has a history of interfering, bombing and killing at will in Syria and maintains a general strategy of flexibly deciding on a case-by-case basis when and where to strike, weighing many factors: wide array in political matters, reputational (public relations), seasonal (times of reduced attention in western countries). The aim and strategy is to maximize impact and minimize political backlash; military backlash being a minor risk, since all losses are sooner or later, under one name or another, be refunded by Washington. Usually, Israel has proven quite successful in these issues. How successful the co-operation between Russia and Iran can be challenged, remains to be seen. Tehran usually proves as clever and flexible as Tel Aviv.
Therefore, a list of criteria may help to set up a roadmap for this question: Israel does not feel any existential threat by President Assad’s survival in office and complete defeat of terror mercenaries in Syria. Israel’s long-term aims in the region, to maximize territory and influence, will not lead to any bigger unilateral adventure at this stage. Tel Aviv has successfully established a certain habitual right of intermittent interferences by bombing raids into Syria; Israel will therefore maintain and possibly develop its present levels and types of procedures and hope for better opportunities in the future.
One of these opportunities for Israel opens right now: Should the leadership in Iran come under increased pressure from other countries in all issues at hand including the nuclear, internal opposition may force stronger reactions from the government’s side. This is an escalation tool for whoever is interested in using it and politically able to act. One of the bigger dangers lies not in an escalation over the Daesh defeat in Idlib, but in the risks of bombing raids against Iran’s nuclear installations, once the sickling nuclear agreement JCPoA is finally declared dead.
As before, a large portion of the future basis for peace and stability in the region lies with wise choices and strategies in Moscow, Ankara and Tehran. Clarity in all issues, perseverance in maintaining basic principles such as non-interference in Syria, strengthened through face saving devices for the beleaguered US and Israel administrations, may help.