Topple Assad and Secure North

An idea for making the most of the Syrian riots. Israel should cross the border, hold on to some territory east of the Golan temporarily. Read more.

David Shalom

OpEds David Shalom
David Shalom
INN:DS

The recent incursions into northern Israel at the Golan border with Syria are a declaration of war by the Assad regime. As the regime begins to die, it will seek further provocations with Israel and action needs to be taken to counter this and allow a peaceful government to rule Syria.

Israel should help the people of Syria realise their aspirations for freedom and this is in the interests of both nations. Assad has declared war on both his own people and on Israel and it is high time that the butcher of Damascus be brought to trial and his murderous rule ended. Israel can help achieve this and save a lot of innocent lives in the process.

For several months now, the people of Syria have been in revolt against the brutal Ba’athist regime in Damascus. The protests first started in the town of Deraa which is located a mere 20 miles from Israeli villages in Gush Hispin. These protests quickly spread to the rest of the country and now the Baath party’s grip on power is crumbling.  

The dictator, Bashar Assad, has been ruling the country with an iron fist for the past 11 years following the death of his father Hafez in 2000. Bashar’s father ruled for 30 years before that and aside from his brutal repressions of his own people (including the reported massacre of tens of thousands in Hama in 1982) attacked Israel in both open warfare and countless other times via a proxy mercenary war using the PLO, Hamas and then the Hizbullah terrorist organisations.

The dying regime sought again to openly attack Israel, by bussing in hundreds of thugs to the Syrian-occupied Golan and facilitating their attempts to attack IDF personnel and overrun the international border. The demonstrators were said to be protesting the “naksa”- the failure or setback- to destroy Israel in the second war of Arab aggression in 1967.

The demonstrators’ attempts to over-run the border with Israel were completely coordinated with the regime in Damascus and designed to deflect attention from its brutal crackdowns which are daily killing dozens of Syrians. This is nothing short of a declaration of war and Israel is within its rights to respond to this provocation in the best way it sees fit.

Israel’s response should be three-pronged;

First, Israel should openly call for the removal of Assad in the international media and should commence Arabic broadcasts to the region that detail the multiple crimes against humanity occurring now in Syria;

Secondly, Israel should send aid to the people rebelling against the dictatorship and finally Israel should prepare a limited military intervention force ready to assist regime change and help the country rebuild in the transitional period. 

The emergence of a new regime in Damascus will also enable the Lebanese to topple their Assad-sponsored regime and realise the dreams of democrats seeking a liberal democratic government loyal to Lebanon and not Assad or Iran.

The USA under the pro-Arab leadership of Obama has done nothing to help the rebels in Syria, in fact as massacre upon massacre continues, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has only given lip service to condemnation, while still keeping a US Ambassador in Damascus. It should be noted that the administration itself only recently re-instated the ambassador after an absence of many years.

It is abundantly clear, given Obama’s recent policy speech on the region, despite his later retractions, that the United States will do nothing to help the people of Syria in their struggle for freedom.

While American and allied planes bomb civilians on a daily basis in Libya, ostensibly to secure their freedom from Ghadaffi’s rule (although arguably to facilitate the transfer of power to an Islamist faction) the Americans will not countenance any intervention to help real democrats seeking freedom in Syria or anywhere else.

And herein lies the opportunity and challenge for Israel. If Israel can provide material aid and support and give publicity to the rebels in Syria, if it can be their true champion no less, it will form an unbreakable alliance with the popular leadership that will eventually take power.

Practical steps could include Israel sending an expeditionary land force to Deraa. With minimal air support, a small division could take the region directly flowing from the Golan in a matter of hours. Within a day or so, the liberated towns will become a stronghold of the rebels and a font for all freedom fighters to take on the regime.

Israeli control of the region will allow the free flow of information and for the first time the international, especially English language but also Arabic media will be able to report on the area. Assad has already sent people to invade Israel and it is Israel’s right and responsibility to fight back. No better way to do this can be than to cross the border itself and hold onto some territory east of the Golan. 

Once liberated by Israel, free movement  will become a reality. Also a democratically elected opposition council could be set-up in Deraa that would represent all of Syria’s communities, not just the tiny Alawite sect that the Assad family hails from.

If the fall of Deraa is achieved quickly and by surprise, this lighting strike operation will catalyse the Syrian revolt in the whole country and bring the Assad regime down much quicker. Israel would then be able to quickly withdraw in an agreed period from the territory following the formation of a democratic and liberal government in Damascus. 

The fall of Assad will inevitably lead to the collapse of the Hizbullah led axis in Lebanon. The new governments in both lands will be at peace with Israel and this would usher in an era of quiet and prosperity in Israel’s North for the first time ever.

Of course, to see these goals through Israeli interventions must stipulate that the pre-conditions for full peace with the new governments must be the end of all territorial claims, the re-settlement of most of the Judean and Samarian Arabs in territorially vast Syria and the return to Israel of Kuneitra, given to Syria in 1974.

The time for action is now and Israel and all freedom seeking people in the region will have a brighter future as a result of it.

 

 

 





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