Head of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, Israel.
Dr. Reuven Erlich (Avi-Ran) was born in Poland on April 28, 1946. He served in the IDF Intelligence Corps, mainly as an analyst specializing Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian affairs. He retired in 1994 with the rank of colonel after 30 years of service in staff and operational duties.Between 1985 and 2000 he served as deputy to Ambassador Uri Lubrani, Israel’s government coordinator for Lebanese affairs. Between 1991 and 1993 he was a member of the Israeli delegation to the Israeli-Lebanese peace negotiations in Washington.Dr. Erlich also focused on Syrian-Lebanese issues in his academic studies. In 1998 he was awarded a PhD degree from Tel Aviv University for his dissertation on “The Policy of the Zionist Movement and the State of Israel toward Lebanon (1919-1958).” He has published five books and many articles dealing with those subjects, including a book published in the United States under the name Reuven Avi-Ran called The Syrian Involvement in Lebanon since 1975, Westview Press, 1991.Dr. Erlich’s current duties include: Head of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies; Lecturer on intelligence and head of intelligence studies at the Lauder School of Government at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.
This study examines the nature of the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), an Islamic Salafist-jihadi terrorist organization founded a decade ago as a branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. It established itself during the fighting against the United States in the Sunni regions of western Iraq and spread to eastern and northern Syria during the Syrian civil war. In the summer of 2014 ISIS scored dramatic achievements, among them the occupation of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and the declaration of the "Islamic Caliphate," headed by a charismatic Iraqi terrorist operative nicknamed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The article was published first in The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
These comments are made at an historical moment in Israel’s policy in Lebanon. We are now at the end of a fifteen-year chapter, which commenced with the decision of the Government of Israel on 14th January 1985 to withdraw the Israel Defense Forces from Lebanon and to continue supporting the Southern Lebanese Army. This chapter terminated in the early hours of the morning of 24th May 2000, when the last of the Israeli soldiers were removed from Lebanon. This is a good moment in time to point out several characteristics of Israel’s policy in Lebanon from an historian’s viewpoint and to raise a few thoughts on the lessons to be learned from this policy.
Recently three senior Hizballah leaders have made pronouncements concerning the future of terrorist operations in the case of a unilateral IDF withdrawal from southern Lebanon. The three were: the head of the organization, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah; the head of the “Political Council,” Mohammed Ra’ed; and parliament member Mohammed Fnesh. According to these pronouncements, even the withdrawal of the Israeli Army from southern Lebanon will not bring about a cessation of terrorist activity against “northern Palestine,” and that “the occupier must be pursued even after withdrawal.” The Hizballah’s scenario anticipates the perpetration of terrorism from southern Lebanese territory by Palestinian groups, apparently with Hizballah assistance, until the achievement of the goal of “the liberation of all of Palestine.” At the same time the Hizballah leaders repeated their call for the continuation of Palestinian terrorism against Israeli soldiers and civilians until the obliteration of Israel.
The cabinet decision thus signals Israel's desire to alter the dangerous situation prevailing in southern Lebanon for over 20 years, by implementation of UN Security Council resolution 425. In the past any such change was precluded by the lack of a stable government and effective military in Lebanon. However, in our estimation, conditions in Lebanon are now ripe for change. The realization of this potential and the implementation of the cabinet decision will require time, patience, and some creative diplomacy to find ways around the current obstructionism of Syria and Lebanon.