Israel Prepares as Syria War Nears Border

Fighting at Border Crossing Adds to Fears About Instability

Israeli officials see a war with Hezbollah as “inevitable.” That’s nothing new, as Israeli officials are always either in the middle of a war with Hezbollah, patting themselves on the back for a recent attack on Lebanon, or talking about how the next one is inevitable.

But as Israeli troops conduct their latest drills along the Syrian border, the situation is disconcerting. They pretty sure they’re going to eventually be fighting someone in Syria, but whether it’s the government, Hezbollah, or the rebels isn’t at all obvious.

Israel had always looked at this in the context of a “broad, regional war” against virtually the entire Shi’ite world at once. The assumption though, and in a time of relative stability it was a reasonable one, was that Israel would be the one starting that war, deciding when to attack, when to escalate, etc.

This gave Israeli Army commanders ample time to grandstand, vowing attacks on densely populated parts of Lebanon, and warning Syria and everyone else not to dare even try to retaliate when the war happens.

Things are so uncertain now, and so unstable, that Israel is in the unusual situation of having to prepare for the Syrian civil war just straying across the border, as it has in Lebanon.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of