Expert: World is Letting Syria 'Bleed to Death'

Arutz Sheva speaks with Middle East expert Dr. Eyal Zisser, who says the world cannot do much about the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski ,

Aftermath of Houla massacre
Aftermath of Houla massacre

Arutz Sheva spoke on Monday with Middle East expert Dr. Eyal Zisser, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Zisser addressed the situation in Syria, several days after more than 100 people were killed in a gruesome massacre in Houla.

Dr. Zisser said that “there is nothing new” regarding the ongoing civil war, adding, “The struggle between the opposition and the regime is ongoing. From time to time we do hear about new incidents. The last one was especially bloody with more than 30 little children being killed, so maybe this caused some sort of dramatic reaction. But basically there’s nothing new. Every day dozens of Syrians are being killed by the regime."

He noted that while at first, some Western countries did not believe that President Bashar Assad should step down, that position has changed among most countries, especially the United States.

“It was not their position when the revolution started in Syria, then they came to the conclusion that he is not part of the solution; he is the problem,” said Dr. Zisser. “They are eager to get rid of him but there is very little they can do right now. They are afraid of direct interference. They don’t want Iraq or Afghanistan to repeat in Syria.”

He noted that since Russia is against any resolutions against Syria in the UN Security Council, there is very little that the world can do other than condemning Assad for the massacres.

“They do, however, support the opposition. They do provide weapons and money to the activists on the ground in Syria, hoping that eventually the bleeding of the Syrian regime will bring to its collapse,” said Dr. Zisser.

As for the effect the revolution may have on Israel, Dr. Zisser said Assad’s regime “was fully committed to the disengagement agreement signed between Israel and Syria in 1974 and kept the border quiet.”

However, he said, “It’s not only the tactical question of defense of the border. It’s also the Iranian-Syrian alliance. It’s the Iranian supply of advanced weapons to Hizbullah with Syrian help. So I think that the interest of Israel eventually brought the Israelis to the conclusion that Bashar should leave.”

Assad’s stepping down would cause, according to Dr. Zisser, “some incidents along the border, but of a tactical nature, and in the long run it’s in the interest of Israel to have Bashar be replaced.”

On Sunday, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning the Syrian government of Syria for the weekend massacre in Houla, in which at least 116 people were killed.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his revulsion over “the ongoing massacre being perpetrated by the forces of Syrian President Assad against innocent civilians,” adding that “Iran and Hizbullah are an inseparable part of the Syrian atrocities and the world needs to act against them.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that those who carried out the killings be brought to justice.

“The United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end,” she said.

Middle East expert Dr. Guy Bechor told Army Radio on Sunday that even if Assad falls from power, “There will be new generals and there will be new gangs.”

“Whoever loses in the struggle in Syria will be slaughtered, and therefore no one can afford to try to take over the regime,” he said.

Dr. Bechor added that he believes the instability will linger on for several years because “Syria is bubbling over, the struggle is bitter, and this is a game with zero results. There are a lot more heads that will roll.”