Syrian rebels
Photo: AFP

Israel, stay out of Syria

Op-ed: Historical experience has shown us that intervening in foreign conflicts is unwise

It always sounds good, looks good in photos, offers strong justification, and mostly enjoys the broad support of progressive camps worldwide. However, beyond the promising façade – which at times gives rise to massive, international support for people who rebel against an existing dictatorship – we sometimes see the emergence of a graver reality than the one that prevailed during the previous regime.


One need not go back too much in history or travel far geographically in order to find evidence of the above. If one does not wish to view the Arab Spring as evidence and proof, one can look into the international conduct in Afghanistan, which is one of the most deeply researched examples in matters pertaining to international affairs.


The fear of radical Islamization of the country prompted a Soviet invasion in the late 1970s. The Soviet invasion, just like a conditioned reflex, prompted American intervention. And so, while the Russians fought the mujahidin, the Americans supported the latter with money, arms and training.


No information about rebels

This war continued until the late 1980s, and ended shortly after the withdrawal of Soviet troops. Following an inevitable civil war, which ended in 1995, power was taken by the Taliban, the mujahidin’s political platform (which initially enjoyed the support of international liberalism, which sympathized with what started as a student movement against corruption.)


However, one of the Taliban’s first acts was the murderous repression of women: A ban on studying, stoning as the preferred punishment, and pulling out the nails of women who dared use nail polish. There is no need to elaborate about what came later.


And so, the above of course says nothing about what can be expected if and when the Syrian rebels win. However, this example does serve to show us that as we do not know enough about the leaders of this popular protest and the message they bear – aside from the lovely demand to remove Bashar Assad – the State of Israel would do well to first resolve its own major problems, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, before interfering in Syria.


Nonetheless, Israel should offer – and mean it – any possible help to refugees fleeing Syria, by providing a shelter, food and medical assistance. Moreover, there should be no link between one kind of assistance and the other.



פרסום ראשון: 03.08.12, 00:48
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