Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 04:45 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 04:45 | SYDNEY

The Golan: Watching both sides


Sam Roggeveen


1 May 2008 16:20

Rodger Shanahan says that for Israel to agree to a settlement with Syria over the Golan Heights, Tel Aviv 'would require a strong, US-backed security guarantee to ensure that the strategic high ground would not be used by parties to attack northern Israel'. Israel has a very close security relationship with the US already, and a massive conventional military advantage over Syria, plus a nuclear deterrent. Those factors should reassure Israel to some extent about misuse of the Golan 'high ground'.

But as further assurance and as a confidence-building measure that both sides might find attractive, here's a different idea: how about putting a very small NATO (or some other third party) force in place to maintain constant surveillance of an agreed area on both sides of the new border? Radar, infra-red and other detection devices could be used to look out for military movements, with the information fed in real time to both sides. That should reduce the likelihood of either side launching a surprise attack on the other, and thus would improve overall stability.

I seriously doubt this is a new idea, so readers might want to let me know where it has been suggested or introduced before. And I'd also be keen to hear reasons why it wouldn't work.