The return of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister has raised the question of whether he will revisit Israel’s neutrality over the war in Ukraine. But he is unlikely to, for a simple reason: Israel fears that aligning against Russia in Ukraine would curtail its freedom to operate against Iranian forces and proxies in Syria.
The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers. Meanwhile, the region is rife with ongoing conflicts, and the long-simmering dispute between Israel and Palestine continues to flare up periodically.
The Syrian civil war that has decimated the country for more than decade, provoking a regional humanitarian crisis and drawing in actors ranging from the United States to Russia, has been drawing inexorably to a conclusion for years now. President Bashar al-Assad, with the backing of Iran and Russia, has emerged militarily victorious from the conflict, which began after his government violently repressed civilian protests in 2011. But is the crisis in Syria really over?