Israel Considers Intervention in the Syrian Civil War
Like a gathering storm approaching, Israel has been taking a wait and see attitude about what is going on next door in Syria. They don't have a lot of options. But their neutrality may change into more dramatic military action certainly to ascerbate the civil war. What is causing this change are the estimated 30,000 al-Qaeda-linked fighters are active in Syria now. Just two years ago, there were not more than 3,000. Because many of these terrorists are near the Israeli border, Israel is ready to embark on cross-border military action to stem this direct threat.
Many suspect that once Assad in Syria goes (or maybe even if the terrorists continue controlling parts of Syria) they will aim at Israel. All very logical. Israeli intelligence are even more worried because another 1,200 Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters have taken up a presence in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. In Egypt, local Salafist supporters have formed a jihadist coalition calling itself Ansar Beit al Maqdis (the Jerusalem Front), taking aim at Israel, as well. This group displayed its prowess by conducting six attacks in Cairo and Sinai, prompting the Egyptian airforce to conduct bombing runs upon them.
What is worrisome to Israel is the fact the reason why many Muslim jihadists have arrived in the Syrian area is they have big plans to establish a big independent Islamic state at the heart of the Middle East. Where? Splintering up Syria. Much of the border with Turkey remains in their control, as do parts of east Syria. The four groups in Syria are: Jabhat al-Nusra, The Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) and the Levant, Ahram al Sham, Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam). Nusra is the power force in Syria, while ISIS controls some of eastern Syria and parts of Iraq. Ahram al Sham contains 15,000 and supported by Saudi Arabia. The Army of Islam is supported by the Saudis and Pakistanis and the largest force in the Damascus area.
What could Israel do?
Israel could make more aggressive pinpoint airstrikes followed by incursion into the Syrian borderland area to create a bigger buffer. They could conduct military operations in the southern sector to ward off large concentrations near Jordan. Conduct assassinations of top al Qaeda commanders.
Whatever they choose to do will be a combination of the above. But preventing the "mounting storm" of terrorists safely unopposed in Syria and Iraq to secure Israel will surely ignite more of war and attacks upon it. Yet, they are feeling it is time to do something more than remain neutral.