A fragile cold peace: the impact of the Syrian conflict on Israeli-Syrian relations

The unfolding Syrian crisis is threatening to end 40 years of cold peace between Syria and Israel. Exchanges of fire between Israeli and Syrian troops, coupled with fear of a new Islamist front, have led Israel to strengthen its military presence in the Golan Heights. Syria’s alliance with Iran and Hizbullah and Israel’s unilateral attacks on military facilities inside Syria have heightened tensions between the two countries. Through their actions and mutual politics of fear Israel and Syria are moving out of a cold peace situation. However, the pressured Syrian regime and its allies are too occupied by the civil war to open a new front. For Israel, a prolonged conflict in Syria could be advantageous because it will weaken its enemies and provide time to forge new strategic alliances with Sunni Arab states.