Misguided voices in Israel and elsewhere argue that a strong Syrian president with firm control over the state is a vital interest for Israel. This amazing conclusion was drawn from the long quiet period along the Golan Heights border during the strong dictatorship of the Assad family.
The notion that it is preferable to have strong enemies is strange. Common sense tells us that weak enemies are preferable because they can do less damage. Violent conflict is about exacting pain from the other side. States are more dangerous than militias and terrorist groups. A weak Syria can cause less pain than a strong Syria.
A Syria embroiled in civil war has much less energy and means to hurt Israel than a strong Syria. A dysfunctional Syrian state torn by civil war is not a result of Israeli machinations, but a positive strategic development from an Israeli point of view. What is left of the Syrian army is busy protecting the regime and trying to expand the territory it holds. It is not capable of challenging the IDF in a conventional war, and it will take years for it to build a serious military machine.
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