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Syria and Israel…Encore - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Following my article, “Israel trying to save al-Assad!, which was published on Tuesday, the primary question that was posed was: Is Israel truly trying to save al-Assad? Why isn’t the Free Syrian Army [FSA] the party trying to drag Israel into the battle? There are many questions, and it is clear that many people are worried about the Syrian crisis moving closer to the Israeli border, and the dangerous implications of this.

We must pay attention to two issues here. Firstly, it is certainly in Israel’s interests to ensure that its borders with Syria remain as they are for the next 40 years, which indeed is precisely as they have been over the past 40 years. This is because the al-Assad regime –that of the father and the son – is the best protector of the ceasefire agreement between Syria and Israel, despite its desire to incite regional battles and crises with Israel, whether in Gaza or Lebanon, or heating up the Egypt – Israeli file following the Egyptian – Israeli peace agreement. The al-Assad regime has pursued this approach by investing in false slogans regarding the resistance, supporting this resistance everywhere except the Golan Heights! This has been the reality of the situation over the past 40 years, and this is a situation that Israel respects, particularly as Tel Aviv only needs to give the al-Assad regime a slap on the wrist on the occasional times that it exceeds the rules of the game. Al-Assad has continually taken pre-emptive steps against the al-Assad regime, which for its part, has always repeated that it has the right to respond! What further confirms this issue is the repeated Israeli statements regarding the importance of protecting secure and calm borders with Syria, as they have been over the past 40 years!

The other important thing is that everything that has been put forward by the al-Assad regime in terms of threats since the beginning of the revolution, whether by those close to the regime or via the Iranian media or indeed what Bashar al-Assad said himself in his most recent interview with Russia Today, has been implemented, or at least attempted. This can be seen in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as Syria’s borders with Turkey, not to mention Iraq. In fact, only two of these threats have not been carried out by the al-Assad regime, namely dragging Israel into the crisis and the use of chemical weapons. Now, the al-Assad regime has begun by playing the Israeli card, and Israel rushed to respond to this, then returned and withdrew from this position, and perhaps until now, it is calling for self-restraint because it has become clear that its intervention means protection for al-Assad, nothing more and nothing less. This is particularly the case today as the Arab world, and following this the international community, have begun to move in a faster and more concrete manner , especially in terms of recognizing the Syrian National Coalition on the part of the Arabs, France and America. Therefore, the Russians don’t have much to offer, and as one of the most prominent Arab politicians said, Russia is like somebody selling ice-cream at noon and putting the price up without being aware that the ice cream is melting in their hands. The danger now is for the Israeli “gift” to re-freeze this ice-cream!

Therefore, we are facing two real threats, namely Israeli intervention in the Syrian crisis to reshuffle the cards and the threat regarding the use of chemical weapons being realized. Apart from this, al-Assad has exhausted all of his tricks and threats.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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