Arab League Ventures into Syrian Siege

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Last week was the bloodiest in Syria since the uprising began, continuing through Monday. The arrival of Arab League observers, expected to appear in the war torn city of Homs Tuesday, did nothing to change the situation. Car bombs exploded outside government buildings, the regime’s security forces carried out a massacre, and clashes between defectors and Assad’s forces indicate the conflict is spiraling downwards. The outcome is of extreme concern to Israel, which sees an enemy in Assad but also an enemy in the Islamists among those protesting him. The Israeli leadership has taken a stand: It wants Assad to fall.

It has been repeatedly stated that Israel would prefer the secular dictatorship of Bashar Assad stay in power than collapse, potentially throwing the country into civil war and precipitating an Islamist takeover. The Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal to correct its coverage of Israel’s stance.

“Allied with Iran, Mr. Assad has helped supply 55,000 rockets to Hezbollah and 10,000 to Hamas, very likely established a clandestine nuclear arms program…[Assad] confirms Israel’s fears that the devil we know in Syria is worse than the devil we don’t,” Oren wrote. In April, President Peres said, “I believe finally that a democratic system in Syria is our best bet for the future.”

Barak said that the revolution’s success would be a major blow to Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. It would also benefit Turkey, the primary backer of the Syrian opposition. Barak said this would benefit Israel because Turkey is competing with Iran. However, Turkey’s sharp turn against Israel under the leadership of Erdogan is undeniable and dangerous. Senior U.S. State Department official Frederic Hof stated that Assad is the “equivalent of dead man walking.”

Indeed, Assad is tied at the hip with Iran and Hezbollah and he has been a staunch supporter of Hamas and other terrorists. Iran and Hezbollah have dispatched operatives to take part in Assad’s crackdown, with soldiers reporting that Shiite extremists are executing Syrian soldiers who refuse to fire on their countrymen. Iran recently began a secret air lift to Syria, sending seven commercial airliners to Damascus each week loaded with weapons.

Assad’s relationship with Hamas, however, is breaking. Iran is threatening to stop training, funding and arming the terrorist group if it leaves Syria. Hamas has mostly brought its staff out of Damascus, leaving behind a minimal presence. It is moving to Gaza, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar. The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is on the side of the revolution, so Hamas is stuck in between a rock and a hard place and is preparing to align with its Sunni brethren.

Defense Minister Barak argues that Syria’s population cannot be compared with that of Egypt, describing it as more secular. Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon agrees with Barak, saying that Assad’s fall is only a matter of “time and bloodshed.” Yaalon says there are “moderate Sunni elements” in Syria that are not like the Muslim Brotherhood. The Syrian opposition agrees and most of the activists arrested by the regime are secularists.

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  • StephenD

    What is needed is for her true friends to follow Israel’s lead on this. If we had a problem in this hemisphere and needed Israeli help, would we expect them to take the lead? Of course not. In like manner, if Israel needs a hand, lets give them a hand, but not by taking over but by joining their team. Letting the world know in no uncertain terms that we are on Israel’s side may actually save lives. The sidelines are for cowards and silent enemies.

    • Nakba1948

      "Letting the world know in no uncertain terms that we are on Israel’s side may actually save lives." Believe me, buddy, I don't think anyone in the world doubts that "we" are on "Israel's side." A more accurate characterization would be that the United States is led around on a short leash by Tel Aviv. If Israel says "hop," the corrupt politicians in Washington, regardless of party, ask, "how high?"

      • UCSPanther

        I'd rather be on Israel's side than on the Arab world's side, chump.

      • ziontruth

        "A more accurate characterization would be that the United States is led around on a short leash by Tel Aviv."

        The Zionist-Occupied Government smear, an old favorite of, among others, the Stormfront crowd. But no, anti-Zionism and Jew-hatred have nothing to do with each other, nothing at all.

        And the capital of the Jewish State is Jerusalem. Jerusalem period, undivided, and hopefully soon emptied of all the Arab colonists coveting it.

  • ziontruth

    It is advisable to ignore Ehud Barak's opinion. He not only has a track record of being factually wrong about those things (like the way he thought Hezbollah would never attack Israel after leaving Lebanon in 2000, but six years later that's exactly what happened), he's also a craven appeaser to boot, one of Israel's terminally stupid politicos who still dare to talk of land concessions on part of the Jewish State even after the expulsion of all Jews in the Gaza region in August 2005 was followed by intensified Islamic aggression on the neighboring pre-1967 Israeli Jewish towns.

    Barak represents nothing but the clueless Israeli Left.

    • alan g

      Zion, 6 years is a long time and crap happens. There must be something more current and applicable for you to bash Barak with.

      • ziontruth

        "There must be something more current and applicable for you to bash Barak with."

        Alright. How about his recent suggestion that Israel apologize to Turkey over the terrorist flotilla, as per Erdoggydroppings' demands? If that dhimmi hadn't been overridden by the office of the Foreign Minister, Israel would have made itself the perfect doormat of the world.

    • UCSPanther

      Barak's inept handling of the second Intifadeh is a good demonstration of the last point.

      It took Sharon, an old warhawk with decades of experience and willingness to do what was needed to both defeat the second Intifadeh and consign Arafat to the trash heap of history.

  • mrbean

    ahhhh,,, err he says… "there are moderate Sunni elements” in Syria that are not like the Muslim Brotherhood." Yeh… sure!

  • UCSPanther

    Syria has become a microcosm of the ancient feud between the Shia and Sunni Doctrines, and possibly the new site of a confrontation against the Neo-Ottomans of Turkey and Iran's Theocrats.

  • CrossofMalta

    Nothing will change if Ass-ad is deposed. His clan which is a minority might be persecuted. He will end up like Gaddafi – as Falafel meat. Arab and Moslem culture are the problems. Assad will go and another despotic, fascist, corrupt, pagan, anti-Jewish and Western cult or clique will take over….and still take their orders from the Monkeys in Tehran. Plus ca change. Islam and Arab cultures are failures and the 'root cause' of Islam and Arab poverty, terrorism, violence and stupidity. Assad is merely a pimple of this elephant's ass.

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  • crackerjack

    And what will become the occupied Golan when the "Free Syrian Army" marches its way?

    • ziontruth

      "And what will become the occupied Golan…"

      The Golan is not currently occupied. It was until 1967, but the Jewish State liberated it. It is not for you to shrink the borders of the Jewish state, anti-Zionist scum!!!!!

      "…when the 'Free Syrian Army' marches its way?"

      It will be treated the way invasion armies have been throughout all of history: With extreme prejudice.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Funny how people forget what happened to the grand Syrian Army that
        invaded Israel with the Israel Army taken out to fight the Egyptians. A
        handfull of retired men (oldtimers) took to the field and cooked the Syrian
        goose. When the Israeli soldiers returned they climed the Golan Heights
        and returned a portion of what was promised to Abraham and his heirs
        for all time. Israel needs to expand it's borders to the Biblical boundaries.