The media screams of the Syrian military threat pave the way to returning the Golan Heights. Israeli public must be scared into giving away the Heights. Syrian threat, however, is non-existent.

UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights confirm that Syria does not conduct any significant military buildup. In the most unrealistic scenario of Syria attacking Israel, Syria would only aim at returning the Golan Heights. Israeli government hurries to give the land away before Syria starts fighting for it. Why? Wait and see if Syria succeeds.

Syria knows it stands no chance against Israel. Balance of military power with Israel was much more favorable to Syria in the 1970s than now. Russian anti-air and anti-tank missiles which Syria acquired recently are not a critical impediment to the IDF advance. Mere five cutting-edge MiG-31 interceptors purchased from Russia won’t save the day for Syria, especially since its pilots are poorly trained. Syria needs not confront Israel directly, but is better off waging peripheral wars through Hezbollah and Hamas.

Historically, Syrian aggression on Israel was only a sideshow of Egyptian operations. Today, Syria counts on Iran – but Iran failed recently to protect Lebanon. The Iranians proved themselves wise and didn’t allow Hezbollah to strike Tel Aviv with Zelzal-2 missiles. Syria can only depend on Iran’s protection when Iran goes nuclear. Though Iran assuredly won’t nuke Israel to save Syria at the cost of Tehran, Iranian nuclear blackmail won’t allow Israel to occupy Damascus and replace Asad. Nuclear Iran will allow Syria to invade the Golan Heights with only limited liability.

Iran works fast to obtain the bomb. Contrary to my analysis, American officials estimated that Iran will build a nuclear bomb not before 2011, perhaps even 2017 while Israeli experts spoke of 2009. The Iranian Interior Ministry recently vindicated my estimates with the claim that Iran has already enriched 220 lbs of uranium. The most primitively designed bomb requires about a thousand pounds of enriched uranium, and advanced tactical nukes can weight as little as 35 lbs and possibly down to ten pounds. Iran, therefore, has already enriched enough uranium for an advanced nuclear bomb or, by the most conservative estimates, produced 20% of the uranium required for a primitive nuclear charge. That quantity was achieved on only 3,300 centrifuges in two months. Iran plans to run 60,000 centrifuges. The produced uranium is certainly stored away from the possible targets of the US and Israeli strikes. Iran received nuclear weapons designs from Pakistan, North Korea, and likely from China and is ready to form the enriched uranium into warheads.

The US rejected talks with Iran by demanding that Iran ceases nuclear enrichment as a pre-condition of talks – an evidently unworkable proposition. With the EU solidly opposing Iranian nuclear program, the US and Israel seem gearing for a strike. Short of the strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, neither Olmert nor a Republican presidential candidate stands a chance in elections. Thus the review date of the sanctions against Iran set for the end of 2007 to move the wildly popular attack closer to the elections.

Syria is irrelevant. Israel needs not peace with it. The keys to the Golan Heights are at Natanz.

road to peace with Syria goes through Natanz