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June 05, 1987 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-06-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

ANALYSIS

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Washington — An Armi-
stice between Syria and Is-
rael? Could be, says Avner
Yaniv, a visiting Israeli pro-
fessor of political science cur-
rently teaching at
Georgetown University in
Washington, D.C. Yaniv,
writing in an editorial in the
Washington Post, claims that
de facto armistice even now
exists between the two
neighboring enemies, and, he
says, this cold peace is due
chiefly to the Lebanon and
Iran-Iraq wars.
The improved climate be-
tween the two nations can be
further ameliorated by "ad-
roit diplomacy," writes
Yaniv, who is author of a re-
lated book, Dilemmas of Se-
curity: Politics, Strategy and
the Israeli experience in
Lebanon," to be published in
June. These two belligerent
neighbors were on the verge
of war six months ago, says
Yaniv, but have now seem-
ingly reversed course, and he
lists recent events contribut-
ing to "a new Syrian apprai-
sal" of itself and Israel:
• The "mothballing" by
Syria of significant parts of
its armored force deployed in
the Golan bordering on Is-
rael;
• Syrian de-activation of
several army units, reducing
the manpower to reserve duty
troops;
• Syrian President Hafez
Assad's attendance in Feb-
ruary at a summit conference
with Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak, in Kuwait,
the first time since 1977 that
the chiefs of the two coun-
tries have met since the late
Egyptian President Anwar
Sadat's visit to Jerusalem;
Syrian control of Beirut,
restoring order to anarchy
and simultaneously "battling
two enemies of Israel," Yasir
Arafat's PLO and • the
Iranian-backed Hizbullah.
Yaniv claims that the Sy-
rian maneuvers were not ac-
cidental, but an illustration
of the intersection of Syrian
and Israeli goals.
Within the context of
Syria's "strategic equilib-
rium," writes Yaniv, Assad
also sought control of Leba-
non, the PLO and Jordan, all
included under the umbrella
of "a Syrian sphere of essen-
tial security."
But Syria "never bargained
with Iraq's total collapse,"
writes Yaniv. With an Iraqi
collapse would ensue confron-
tation by militant Shiites on
two fronts, he claims, Leba-
non and Iraq, fueled by
militant Shiites within Syria
led by the Moslem Brother-
hood.
Assad's attendance at the.

President Assad:
Shifting alliances.

Kuwait summit in February,
writes Yaniv, "issued a dou-
ble signal: qualified
encouragement to the Arabs
and a threat to the Iranians."
This strategy is being
played out in Lebanon, says
Yaniv, where Syrian troops
have been exercising
hegemony of late. Syrian re-
scue in February of
endangered Amal troops ac-
tivated the dampener on Hiz-
bullah antagonists, he writes.
This intervention caused
Assad to seek concomitant
reduction in tension with Is-
rael, eliminating any possi-
bility of a confrontation on
two fronts, Israel and his own
rivals in the Islamic camp.
Although overt Syrian-
Israeli ties are not probable,
writes Yaniv, reduction of
war risk is very much a de-
sirable and plausible goal.
Therefore, according to
Yaniv, Israel can do four
things:
• Risk signing a formal
non-
agreement
of
belligerency with Syria;
• Seek new strategic open-
ings, in south Lebanon —
where it can let Amal know
it would phase out the Israeli
security zone and the Israel-
backed South Lebanon Army,
leaving security in that
region to the Shiites;
• Continue to seek talks
with Jordan within a "nomi-
nal framework" of an inter-
national peace conference
while avoiding the impres-
sion of seeking to bypass
Syria;
In the Golan, be willing to
stabilize the situation
through withdrawal coupled
with extensive demilitariza-
tions, early warning systems
and multinational forces that
would assure participation by
the superpowers if things go
awry.

Copyright 1987, JTA

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