The Blog / April 2018

The Telegraph talks to Le Beck about a suspected Israeli strike in Syria

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said the strikes were deeper into Syria than Israeli forces usually venture and that the attack in Hama appeared to involve massive weaponry to penetrate the mountainside.

“The context is very important because we are a few weeks away from the possible collapse of the Iran nuclear agreement and the possibility that Iran will resume its nuclear programme. I think this strikes sends a message to Iran that Israel can strike these underground facilities,” Mr Horowitz said.

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Le Beck talks to the Daily Beast about Trump and Syria

“There’s a lot of confusion in Israel about Trump’s stance,” says Michael Horowitz,  a senior analyst specializing in Israel and Syria at Bahrain’s Le Beck International. “The Israelis are puzzled by the American strategy in Syria and concerned there’s no real commitment to roll back Iranian influence in Syria.”

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Le Beck talks to The Telegraph about Trump’s threats against Syria

Analysts believe the lull in the bombing is a result of Assad’s forces rushing to move their aircraft to Russian bases in Syria, which are less likely to be targeted by American missiles.

“Since Trump tweeted its initial threats the regime has completely changed its military deployments, particularly its air force, which in turn disrupted its air campaign,” said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy.

“In a way, the mere threat of action has already been enough to save lives on the ground,” he added.

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Sydney Morning Herald talks to Le Beck about Western strikes in Syria

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said that the regime would probably move its most sensitive equipment close to Russian forces, in the hope that the US would be less likely to risk accidentally striking Russian troops.

Le Beck talks to L’Orient le Jour (FR) about the Israeli raid in Syria

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Le Beck talks to The Telegraph about Trump, Russia, and Syria

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said that the regime would probably move its most sensitive equipment close to Russian forces, in the hope that the US would be less likely to hit it and risk accidentally striking Russian troops.

“The Syrian military has already had time to take some contingency measures and evacuate some of the potential targets Washington could decide to strike, which could limit the impact of any possible American intervention,” he said.

“The Syrian air force in particular will likely redeploy to Russian or Russian-protected air base, in a bid to limit its exposure.”

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The Washington Post talks to Le Beck about Israeli strikes in Syria

“There are two colliding trends, the first being that Iran is growing bolder as highlighted by the sending of a drone to Israel in February,” said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at Le Beck International, a Middle East-based geopolitical and security consultancy. “The second trend is Israel’s feeling that neither Washington nor Moscow are willing to do anything about it, which in turn forces Israel to take additional risks.”

Horowitz said that the Iranian presence at the T-4 base included members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Quds Force, who sent the drone and “hence directly and actively threatened Israel.”

“By striking the base once again, Israel sends the message that Russia simply cannot ignore this trend, both because of the risks it implies, and because Russian and Iranian soldiers are physically working a few feet away from each other,” he said.

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The Washington Post talks to Le Beck about Israeli strikes and Trump’s policy in Syria

Israel, meanwhile, which has repeatedly expressed concerns about the expanding Iranian military presence in Syria as the Syrian government consolidates its control, may have seen Trump’s threats on Sunday as an opportunity, said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at Le Beck International, a Middle East-based geopolitical and security consultancy.

“The timing of the strike isn’t coincidental,” he said. “By striking [Assad] and his Iranian allies just a day after Trump warned them of the price they would pay . . . Israel mitigates the risk of an Iranian response,” he said. “Israel has been trying to convince Washington to adopt a more pro-active, anti-Iran strategy in Syria, and certainly sees Trump’s rhetoric in the wake of the chemical attack as an opportunity.”

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Le Beck talks to the LA Times about US and Israeli policy in Syria

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst focusing on Syria and Israel for the Bahrain-based Le Beck International, said Israeli officials are worried that there is no real U.S. commitment to rolling back Iranian influence in Syria. “They are very concerned by the gap between Trump’s rhetoric and his policy,” Horowitz said.

He suggested that Israel might have been taking advantage of a rare confluence of circumstances to strike Monday “as the United States and Europe ponder their response to the chemical attack, reducing the chances of Iran risking a major retaliation against Israel.”

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