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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 27, 2018 PAGE 11A Can the US to out of Syria? By Sean Savage (JNS)--U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin just concluded a bilateral summit in Helsinki, Fin- land, that proved to be one of the most widely anticipated meetings in years--or, at least, since the meeting with North Korea. While the discussions centered on relations with Europe and the United States, a topic that also took high priority was the ongoing civil war in Syria. Over the last month, the Syrian regime--backed by Russian, Iran, Hezbollah and Shi'a militias--has launched a massive opera- tion in its south to defeat one of the remaining rebel strongholds in the country. Not only has the opera- tion, spurred on by Syrian President Bashar Assad, led to a massive humanitarian disaster, but it has brought Iran and its terror proxies even closer to the Israeli border. The issue of Iran's pres- ence has been a growing concern for Israel and the United States. Israel has raised alarms over Iran and its Shi'ite terror proxies establishing a permanent presence in post-war Syria, especially along the de- militarized Israeli-Syrian border. Since the beginning of the year, Israeli and Iranian forces have come close to a full-scale conflict over Iranian provocations along the Israeli-Syrian border and even into Israeli terri- tory itself. In February, an Iranian drone was shot down by Israel after it crossed into Israeli airspace. This led to retaliatory Israeli airstrikes inside of Syria that saw an Israeli F-16 shot down. Tensions again threat- ened to boil over in May, when Israel carried out its largest airstrikes in Syria in decades against Iranian in- frastructure in the country. Since then, the Israeli Air Force has continued smaller-scale airstrikes in Syria in response to Syrian or Iranian provocations, as well as targeted Iranian efforts to transfer weap- ons into Syria to bolster pro-Iranian militias and Hezbollah. But Tehran has dismissed any suggestion that it will leave. "We came [to Syria] not at the invitation of the United States, and we will not leave because of its threats," Ali Akbar Velayati, a close adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said at the Valdai Discussion Club last week while visiting Moscow. At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Putin three times in the last six months to press him on the issue. Last week at a meeting in Moscow, Netan- yahu firmly told Putin that "Iran needs to leave Syria." Then on Saturday, Ne- tanyahu spoke with Trump by phone, saying the topics discussed were "Syria and Iran, first and foremost." Following the Putin- Trump meeting, Netanyahu issued a statement saying that he "commends" the commitment by President Trump for Israel's security during the summit. He also said he "appreciates the security coordination" be- tween Israel and Russia and the "clear position expressed by President Putin regard- ing the need to uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria." U.S. makes clear that it's staying put in Syria for now Nevertheless, while both" Israeli and American lead- ers seem to be focused on discussing with Putin on Iran's presence in Syria, it remains unclear the extent that Putin is able or even willing to force Iran out of the country. Anna Borshchevskaya, an expert of Russia's policy towards the Middle East at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told JNS that Putin does not have the leverage or desire to force Iran out. "I don't think he [Putin] can get Iran out. Even if Putin wanted to do this, which is doubtful at the very least, Putin doesn't really have any leverage over Iran to do this. Putin wants to appear as a peacemaker, a mediator; he would like to be elevated to this role. And then he will play all sides, to elevate himself," she said. According to Borshchevs- kaya, true peace and stabili- ty in Syria would undermine Putin's ability to stay as the chief mediator; therefore, any Russian promises have to be met with skepticism. "We already saw what ap- peared, at the very least, [to be] a superficial withdrawal from southern Syria, she said. "If anything, it ap- peared to be a deception because these people ap- peared to just switch into Syrian uniforms." And, she added, "Lavrov already said it's impossible to get Iran to completely withdraw from Syria." Reports in recent weeks have continually suggested that Russia has been work- ing to remove Iranian from along the Israeli-Syrian border and to create a buffer zone. But Israel is still de- manding a full withdrawal. Vice Admiral John Bird, USN (ret.), who currently serves on JINSA's Gemunder Center Iran Task Force, told JNS that Putin is concerned with anything that can jeopardize his country's strategic position in Syria. "Assad is reconquering the country, the world has seen Russia stand by its ally and bolster its prestige, and Russia also has secured per- manent naval/air bases - all at relatively little cost to it- self. Iran's entrenchment in Syria could risk everything Putin has gained," he said. "However, if Iran and Israel get into a full-blown war that potentially threat- ens the Assad regime and/ or forces Russia to get involved," then this could jeopardize that situation, he said. For its part, the United States has limited leverage in Syria. The American involvement in Syria has mainly been focused on the eastern half of the country, where the Islamic State terror group established the capital of its so-called caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqaa. While a U.S.-led coalition have largely dis- mantled this caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State threat still remains. Nevertheless, Nation- al Security Advisor John Bolton said in recent days that the United States will remain in Syria as long as the threat from the Islamic State and Iran continue. "I think the president's made it clear that we are there until the ISIS territo- rial caliphate is removed, and as long as the Iranian menace continues through- out the Middle East," Bolton told ABC News. In the past, Trump has suggested pulling all U.S. forces out of Syria, which has led to some concern among observers that it would lead the United States to have even less sway over Middle East regional developments. Bird said that Trump needs to "develop a posi- tion of strength" in order to properly negotiate with Putin on Syria. "Putin likely would love to continue being the ir- replaceable diplomat that arbitrates between Israel and Iran, but Trump must convey to Putin that all of this could be lost if Israel has to go to war to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria." Similarly, Borshchew- kaya said that instead reaching a deal on Syri Trump should make it clea to Putin that America is n(t leaving Syria. "Trump should assure Pt- tin that the U.S. is not lea - ing Syria, and that the U.L will push back against Iral militarily on the region," stB said. "What Putin wants s to see America retreat; it s a strong American presen that will deter Putin and Iran as well." Orlando Weekday Morning Minyan (Conservative/Egalitarian), services Monday- Friday 7:45 a.m. (9 a.m.--national holidays); 2nd floor Chapel--Jewish Academy of Orlando; 851 N. Maitland Ave Maitland. For information call 407-298-4650. Celebration Jewish Congregation (R), services and holiday schedules shown at www. JewishCelebration.org; 407-566-9792. Chabad Lubavitch of North Orlando (O), 1701 Markham Woods Road, Longwood, 407-636-5994, www.jewishorlando.com; services: Friday 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Chabad of AItamonte Springs (O), 414 Spring Valley Lane, Altamonte Springs, 407- 280-0535; www.jewishaltamonte.com. Chabad of South Orlando (O), 7347 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, 407-354-3660; www. jewishorlando.com; Shabbat services: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. and10 minutes before sunset; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, 8:15 a.m. Chabad of the Space & Treasure Coasts (O), 1190 Highway AIA, Satellite Beach, 321-777-2770. Congregation Ahavas Yisrael/Chabad (O), 708 Lake Howell Rd Maitland, 407-644- 2500; www.chabadorlando.org; services: Sunday, 9 a.m.; Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.; Shabbat services: Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.; Family service, 4th Friday of the month. Congregation Bet Chaim (R), 181 E. Mitchell Hammock, Oviedo, 407-830-7211; www. betchaim.org; Shabbat services: Friday, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Am (C), 3899 Sand Lake Road, Longwood, 407-862-3505; www. congbetham.org; Shabbat services: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Congregation Beth E! (C), 2185 Meadowlane Ave West Melbourne, 321-779-0740; Shabbat services, 1st & 3rd Friday, 8 p.m.; 2nd & 4th Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. Congregation Beth Emeth (R), 2205 Blue Sapphire Circle, Orlando, 407-222-6393; Shabbat service: monthly, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Israel (Rec), Collins Resource Center, Suite 303, 9401 S.R. 200, Ocala, 352-237-8277; bethisraelocala.org; Shabbat service, second Friday of the month, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Sholom (R-C), 315 North 13th St Leesburg, 352-326-3692; www. bethsholomflorida.org; schedule of services on website. Congregation Beth Shalom (Progressive Conservative), Orange City congregation holds services at 1308 E. Normandy Blvd Deltona; 386-804-8283; www.mybethshalorn. corn; Shabbat services: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.rn. Congregation B'nai Torah (C), 403 N. Nova Rd Ormond Beach, 32174, 386-672-1174; www.mybnaitorah.com; Shabbat services: Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. Congregation Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Daytona (O), 1079 W. Granada Blvd Ormond Beach, 386-672-9300; Shabbat services Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. Congregation of Reform Judaism (R), 928 Malone Dr Orlando, 407-645-0444; www.crjorlando.org: Shabbat services, 7 p.m. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Fridays; 6 p.m 4th and 5th Fridays; Saturday: 10 a.m. Congregation Mateh Chaim (R), P.O. Box 060847, Palm Bay, 32906, 321-768-6722. Congregation Ohev Shalom (C), 613 Concourse Parkway South, Maitland, 407-298- 4650; www.ohevshalom.org; Shabbat service, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Congregation Shalom Aleichem (R), 3501 Oak Pointe Blvd Kissimmee, 407-935- 0064; www.shalomaleichem.com; Shabbat service, 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month, 8 p.m. Congregation Shomer Ysrael (C), 5382 Hoffner Ave Orlando, 407-227-1258, call for services and holiday schedules. Congregation Sinai (C/R), 303A N. S.R. 27, Minneola; 352-243-5353; congregation- sinai.org; services: every Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Shabbat Service evert Saturday, 10 a.m. Orlando Torah Center (O), 8591 Banyan Blvd Orlando; 347-456-6485; Shacharis- Shabbos 9 a.m.; Mon.--Thurs. 6:45 a.m.; Sun. and Legal Holidays 8 a.m.; Mincha/Maariv Please call for times. Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation/Ohalei Rivka (C), 11200 S. Apopka- Vineland Rd Orlando, 407-239- 5444; Shabbat service, Friday, 7:3O p.m.; Saturday, 9:3O a.rn. Temple Beth El (R), 579 N. Nova Rd Ormond Beach, 386-677-2484. Temple Beth Shalom (R), P.O. Box 031233, Winter Haven, 813-324-2882. Temple Beth Shalom (C), 40 Wellington Drive, Palm Coast, 386-445-3006; Shabbat service, Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. Temple Beth Sholom (C), 5995 N. Wickham Rd. Melbourne, 321-254-6333; www. mytbs.org; Shabbat services: Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday: 9:30 a.m. Minyan, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10:00 a.m. Temple Beth Shalom (R), 1109 N.E. 8th Ave Ocala, 352-629-3587; Shabbat services: Friday, 8 p.m.; Torah study: Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Temple B'nal Darom (R), 49 Banyan Course, Ocala, 352-624-0380; Friday Services 8 p.m. Temple Israel (C), 50 S. Moss Rd Winter Springs, 407-647-3055; www.tiflorida.org; Shabbat services: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. Temple Israel (R), 7350 Lake Andrew Drive, Melbourne, 321-631-9494. Temple Israel (C), 579 N. Nova Road, Ormond Beach, 386-252-3097; Shabbat service, Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday: 10:30 a.m. Temple Israel of DeLand (R), 1001 E. New York Ave DeLand, 386-736-1646; www. templeisraelofdeland.org; Friday Shabbat service, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. followed by Torah study. Temple Shalom (formerly New Jewish Congregation) (R), 13563 Country Road 101, Oxford, 352-748-1800; www.templeshalomcentralfl.org; Shabbat services: Friday, 7 p.m.; last Saturday of the month, 9:30 a.m. Temple Shalom of Deltona (R/C), 1785 Elkcam Blvd Deltona, 386-789-2202; www. shalomdeltona.org; Shabbat service; Saturday: 10 a.m. Temple Shir Shalom (R) Services held at Temple Israel, 50 S. Moss Rd Winter Springs, 407-366-3556, www'templeshirshal m' rg; Shabbat services: three Fridays each month, 7:30 p.m. Traditional Congregation of Mount Dora (T) Mount Dora, 352-735-4774; www. tcomd.org; Shabbat services: Saturday, 9:30 a.m. sharp. (R) Reform (C) Conservative (O) Orthodox (Rec) Reconstructionist (T) Mehitsa