Sunday, June 26, 2011


From a realpolitik Israeli point of view, it is good that the Syrians are fighting and killing each other. Its like the time when Iraq and Iran were at war, at least they weren't fighting us. The Syrians are our worst enemy, they have been the most rejectionist of all our neigbors. They have been brought up to hate us, and when they capture our soldiers they torture them until they are insane (I am not exaggerating). However, from a humanitarian Israeli point of view, we would prefer that the Syrian Army and secret police not kill and torture civilians who are demanding the right to demonstrate peacefully and to have their voices heard. Ideally it would be best if there were a democracy in Syria, but that is as likely as pigs flying. The most likely outcome, if the Assad regime can't control the situation, is that an armed resistance will arise, with defections from the Army, and then there will be a bloodbath when the Sunnis take their revenge on the Alawites for all their suffering over the past 30 years.

Stated in public relations terms this would be equivalent to the "Arab spring" being followed by the "Arab winter" or to put it another way, business as usual. It is unlikely that the international community will do anything to help the opposition to Assad, because the Arabs themselves are afraid. They are afraid of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, that acts almost independently as an Iranian terrorist organization outside Iran. Since Iran sees Syria as its most important ally they will do anything to prevent Assad being toppled, including staging terrortist attacks against any Arab country that opposes him. This is not like Libya, where Gaddafi has no supporters in the Arab world and where the international community, namely the western allies, saw little downside in using NATO to attack his military in support of the opposition. Even though some 12,000 Syrian refugees have poured into Turkey and now into Lebanon, and even though some 1,300 civilians have been killed in two months of demonstrations and over 20,000 arrested, there is little military opposition in Syria and the two main cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have been relatively quiet.

Nevertheless, the Assad Ba'athist regime has been badly undermined by the uprising, and is far less of a danger to Israel, unless under Iranian control either Hizbollah in Lebanon or Syria itself decides to foment an incident with Israel to distract attention away from their internal problems. They could use the upcoming "flotilla" operation trying to brealk the Israeli military blockade of Gaza or the timing of the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN in September. If you are Pres. Ahmedinejad of Iran and you believe your own propaganda, such as the current conference in Tehran that declared the US and its allies, including Israel, as terrorist states, then you don't need much of an excuse. Expect a bumpy ride ahead as various Arab regimes either collapse, as in Egypt, or fight back, as in Yemen and Syria, until all the dust has settled!


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