Trump recognizes the high-ground reality in the Golan Heights – Washington Examiner

President Trump has recognized Israeli sovereignty over areas of the Golan Heights it currently controls. In doing so, Trump effectively formalizes something that everyone already knew. Namely, that the Golan Heights, which Israel seized following a 1967 Syrian-Egyptian-Jordanian effort to annihilate it, were unlikely to be Syrian again for a very long time.

If you lament that, you have one person to blame: Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Trump hinted at as much in his Thursday announcement, clarifying the “critical strategic and security importance” that the Golan provides to Israeli security.

Assad allowed Iran to turn southwestern Syria into one big missile launchpad. And considering that Iranian Revolutionary Guard missiles are targeted at Israeli cities which are less than 100 kilometers from Syrian territory, such as Haifa, Israel would be stupid to cede the Golan.

Trump’s action here recognizes the Golan’s tactical utility for Israeli security. The tactical utility of high ground positions has long been clear in military tactics, and in Jewish history, and the roughly 70 percent of the Golan Heights that Israel controls brings great defensive power. This focuses on preventing Syrian and Iranian aggression, supporting Israeli actions beyond its territory, and providing early warning of enemy missile and air forces.

At the margin of action, Trump’s decision is a no-brainer. The Iranian regime is ideologically invested in Israel’s annihilation and increasingly predisposed to take risks to that end. Although Israel can mitigate that threat by using force, Israeli loss of the Golan would effectively give Iran an elevated position from which to fire deep into Israel.

Moreover, if Assad had wanted to get the Golan Heights back, he should have thought more carefully about allowing Israel’s mortal enemy to use Syria as a playground.

On a concluding side note, Trump has earned another chit here for his peace deal. When the time comes, he must be prepared to use it.

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