It’s clear that Israel’s strategy is to use the Syrian Civil War to deliberately provoke Hezbollah. The provocation is designed to goad Hezbollah into retaliation for over-flying Lebanon while on their way to apparently destroy weapons that the Israelis say are bound for Hezbollah.
The strategy has worked before. In 2006 the Israelis flew low level high speed jet sorties over Lebanon. Hezbollah responded by launching rockets into Israel. The situation then quickly escalated when the Israelis prepared reconnaissance patrols into south Lebanon. This resulted in an Israeli patrol unit being attacked close to the Lebanese border when three Israelis were killed and two others taken either dead or mortally wounded. The result was a war that the Israelis hoped would put an end to Hezbollah once and for all. However, Hezbollah turned out to be far more tenacious than the Israelis imagined and the war ended when the US under Bush and Condoleezza Rice were no longer able to support Israeli aggression due to international pressure to stop the war as hundreds of Lebanese civilians were being killed. 44 Israeli civilians were killed and 121 Israeli military personnel died. While many Lebanese civilians lost their lives and there was horrendous damage done to Lebanon’s infrastructure, Israel, considering its war aims were to destroy Hezbollah and occupy south Lebanon up to the Litani River, suffered a humiliating defeat. Now the Israelis are trying a different tack except this time their war aims are far grander and they hope to include the US.
The Israelis are clearly hoping that Hezbollah Syria and Iran will retaliate in some way to Israeli provocation. So far, Hezbollah have resisted the temptation to launch any anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli aircraft overflying Lebanon and/or launch rockets against Israel in an attempt to deter Israel from further aggression.
As for Israel’s claims that their raids against weapons dumps in Syria are aimed at preventing weapons from reaching Hezbollah, this too is simply part of an overall strategy designed to demonise the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance for propaganda purposes for when a wider regional war breaks out. It also provides a reasonable casus belli for when such a full on regional war does break out. The fact is, there would be no way that President al-Assad would want to provoke Israel by allowing any WMDs to be transferred to Hezbollah and Israel knows this. There is also no way that al-Assad would want to incur America’s wrath by using chemical weapons against anyone. Again, the Israelis know this. Yet it is the Israelis that are pushing this to the very edge.
Israel is desperate to initiate a regional confrontation with all of their enemies that will allow them to pursue their territorial expansionist ambitions which will result in the long term in realising their dreams of a Greater Israel. There are a number of doors through which Israel can pass through in order to kick off their long sought after war. The civil war in Syria is just another door.