Israeli ambitions are not limited to the Syrian Golan. The IDF is determined to penetrate more deeply into Syria in order to limit Iranian and Hezbollah freedom of action there. The long-term military aim, as IDF Chief Eizenkot declared in his January speech, is to “push the Iranians back to Iran.” More concretely, Israeli officials are committed to preventing Iran from establishing a land corridor connecting Tehran to Lebanon and the Mediterranean through Iraq and Syria.
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Although Israeli officials would never admit it officially, by thwarting Israel and building an increasingly powerful arsenal of missiles, Hezbollah has established a relatively stable peace with Israel for more than a decade. As Seth Cropsey of the pro-Israel Hudson Institute has reluctantly acknowledged, “Hezbollah is the only force that Israel has faced that has extracted an operational and strategic stalemate from the IDF.”