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Bashar Assad Photo: AFP
Bashar Assad Photo: AFP
 
Syrian refugees in Turkey Photo: Reuters
Syrian refugees in Turkey Photo: Reuters
 
 

Don’t intervene in Syria

Op-ed: Israel, world would be wise to let Syrians topple Bashar Assad’s regime on their own

Eitan Haber
Published: 06.13.11, 11:06 / Israel Opinion

Some 29 years have passed, yet there are still Israelis around here who would recall with a shudder the following statement, from the first Lebanon War: “Christians are killing Muslims, yet everyone blames the Jews.” This harsh statement, which followed the Sabra and Shatila massacre where Bachir Gemayel’s Christian forces executed many dozens and possibly hundreds of Palestinian refugees, was rejected by the world.

 

Back then and today there were people, who are likely the majority among us, that said and would say that these sentiments were correct and wish the Arabs to kill as many other Arabs as possible. Yet the world still expects Israel to conduct itself differently.

 

As far as the question pertaining to the possibility of Israeli intervention in Syria at this time, the answer must of course be a clear no! That’s the last thing we need. Taking advantage of the current opportunity may prompt immediate intervention on the part of Syria’s ally, Iran. Indeed, Tehran is looking for a good pretext to provoke Israel and deploy its forces on the Golan Heights border.

 

There will be enough fools around here who would think deep in their heart, or say openly, that this would be a good thing and that we shall proceed to pulverize the Iranians. We are talking about Iran, a state with a population of 70 million people, a huge army, and nuclear arms on the way.

 

Assad’s days may be numbered

Yet if the question at this time pertains to intervention of foreign states in Syria, and this would be the relevant, proper question, the answer at this time should be no, or at least not yet.

 

Experts say that the process of the collapse of Bashar Assad’s regime is underway and that his days are numbered. If that is indeed the case, it would be important to present the current revolution in Damascus as “homemade” – an uprising that came from the people and ended with the people.

 

Intervention by foreign countries at this stage would leave a grave mark in Syria; years and decades from now people would be saying that the (democratic?) revolution relied on foreign assistance. Such assistance would have implications that go beyond the daily life in Syria and may entangle foreign states there for long years.

 

It is difficult to see even our enemies suffer, especially women and children who did no wrong. It would be inhumane to say that we should just let the sides butcher each other. But what can we do? When it comes to relations between states, the almost only element that comes into play is interests. And Israel’s interest at this time is to allow the Syrian street to topple the regime in Damascus on its own. Good luck!

 

 

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