web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


In Shift, Israelis Now Believe Assad Could Prevail In Syrian Civil War

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

There is a “real possibility” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “could survive Syria’s civil war and even prevail in it” against the rebels trying to topple him, Israeli International Relations and Strategic Affairs Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz told a group of foreign journalists in Jerusalem on Monday.

Steinitz’s comments reflect the recent turnaround in Assad’s fortunes, with success on the battlefield thanks to immense military aid from Hizbullah, financial aid from Iran, and diplomatic cover by Russia.

The assessment also underscores the changing nature of the Syrian conflict and Israel’s views on it. Israeli security officials were initially convinced that Assad’s demise was only a matter of time. Last July, then-Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the Assad regime was “at the beginning of its end.”

Delivering a veiled threat on Monday, Steinitz said, “It is in Assad’s interest not to provoke Israel into a Syrian intervention.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is affiliated with Hizbullah, quoted a statement made by Assad to a visiting Jordanian politician in which the Syrian leader supposedly said he was “very serious” about his intention to “open a front against Israel on the Golan” should Israel intervene in the Syrian civil war or mount an attack against Syria’s missile systems.

“Establishing a front line against Israel in the Golan [Heights] is a very serious thing and it will entail more than random artillery fire,” Assad was quoted as saying Sunday, in an opinion piece written by a Jordanian politician.

“Syria will have a well-planned response, which will have long-lasting ramifications,” he reportedly said.

The op-ed further quoted Assad as saying that Syria’s retaliation will be “similar to that waged by Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.”

The credibility of the Al-Akhbar report is questionable. In late May the newspaper quoted the Syrian president as boasting that his country had already received the first shipment of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles it was expecting. Assad’s office itself rolled back that report, saying he Syrian president never made that remark but spoke generally about existing contracts with the Russians being fulfilled.

The Al-Akhbar report was not verified by any Western source, and though Moscow said it would follow through on the arms sale, which was inked in 2010, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the system has yet to be delivered to Damascus. Moscow’s Interfax news agency reported last week that while Russia is training Syrian military officers on anti-aircraft systems, their training “does not include the advanced S-300 system at this time.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel would “retaliate against anyone who threatens to harm Israel or brings it harm.”

The warning followed a tense conflict June 6 on Israel’s border in which Assad’s forces recaptured the lone border crossing after it had briefly fallen into rebel hands. Heavy fighting saw Syrian tanks enter the demilitarized zone between the two countries and prompted Austria to withdraw its 300-soldier contingent from the UN force, shrinking it by one-third.

Israel threatened to strike the tanks, according to a leaked UN document, refraining only when Syria promised to fire solely on rebel troops.

“The crumbling of the UN force on the Golan Heights underscores the fact that Israel cannot depend on international forces for its security,” Netanyahu told his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Israel has assiduously sought to stay out of the Syrian morass, engaging only when its interests were directly threatened. Thrice Israel has attacked Syrian weapons convoys bound for Hizbullah – once in January and twice in May.

Before this week, however, Israel had not threatened to engage Syrian forces directly. Still, last week’s battle probably won’t change Israel’s basic approach to the two-year-old conflict next door. The Syrian border has been largely calm since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel won’t enter the war “as long as fire is not being directed at us.”

That attitude plays well with ordinary Israelis, who clearly don’t want their country dragged into a neighboring conflict. An Israel Democracy Institute poll released Sunday showed that 86 percent of Israeli respondents want to stay out of Syria.

“Israel has an interest that the two sides will keep fighting, and not go in and decide who’s better for Israel,” said Syria expert Ely Karmon of the Interdisciplinary Center. “We need to wait and see who will control Syria.”

Assad’s survival might not be an entirely bad thing, according to Shlomo Brom, a senior research associate at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. Even a limited Assad regime, he said, would help prevent Syria from becoming a power vacuum in which jihadists could attack Israel. And it would give Israel “an address on the other side” with which to negotiate.

Assad’s survival also would be a victory for Hizbullah, which openly committed itself last month to fighting for Assad and drove his victory last week in Qusair, a key city between the Lebanese border and the rebel stronghold of Homs.

“It will be a victory for Iran, Hizbullah, the enemies of the West,” said Ephraim Inbar, director of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center. “He helps Hizbullah to hurt Israel.”

But Hizbullah also could find itself hurt by Assad’s survival. The organization, which has long commanded respect in the region for fighting Israel, may find its reputation damaged by turning its guns against fellow Muslims.

Hizbollah, Brom said, has shown itself as “a foreign body in Lebanon that serves foreign interests.”

— Israel Hayom (via JNS) and JTA

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “In Shift, Israelis Now Believe Assad Could Prevail In Syrian Civil War”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nothing wrong with this option. These people do not understand democracy. They will kill each other.

  2. They will kill each other, good for Israel, but I wonder Syria's army is a farce?, why Syria needs the help from Hezbollah?, increadible!

  3. Also I am wondering, why the suniii Hamas or palestinian doen"t help the suniies in Syria, I think they are cowards terrorists.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Arabs climb a section of Israel's separation barrier in the village of Al-Ram, as they try to avoid crossing Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach the al-Aqsa mosque compound at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to attend Friday prayers in the fasting month of Ramadan.
Arab Killed in Rock Attack on IDF Commander, IDF Soldier Hurt at Qalandiya
Latest News Stories
Palestinian Authority Arabs climb a section of Israel's separation barrier in the village of Al-Ram, as they try to avoid crossing Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach the al-Aqsa mosque compound at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to attend Friday prayers in the fasting month of Ramadan.

A Palestinian Authority Arab was shot and killed after he attacked an Israeli army commander driving in Samaria.

Palestinian laborers at a quarry in Judea and Samaria

The US Mennonite church votes to table an anti-Israel BDS resolution for two years.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot prays at the Kotel.

Israel has tightened security and is on high alert for Friday Ramadan prayers.

Knife for attack

An Arab man was caught by Border Police on his way to committing a terror attack in Hebron on Thursday night

PM Binyamin Netanyahu warns that Israel now faces a double threat: from ISIS and Iran.

The closing of the highway, comes after Israeli security officials voiced concern that Waliyat Sinai, the ISIS-affiliated terror group responsible for the attacks, may be planning to strike Israel as well.

Jerusalem’s Light Rail was attacked at least twice Thursday by Arabs hurling rocks in Shuafat — again.

Neo-Nazis who planned to march July 4 through London’s Golders Green section must now relocate to the city center.

Hamas apparently aided ISIS-linked Sinai terrorists in attacking Egyptian Army soldiers.

The Jerusalem Municipality hung up umbrellas above Yoel Solomon street, to decorate the street with some color, and add some shade from the sun.

No gunshots, no shooter and no wounded after a scare at the Wash. DC Navy Yard.

Yochanan Danino also distributed 200 books written in his honor and called, “My Father, the Commissioner.”

“The Jewish people and the State of Israel owe an eternal debt to Nicholas Winton who singlehandedly saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday after hearing of his death. Winton died in Britain at the age of 106. He saved hundreds of Jewish children from the gas chambers […]

Police Thursday morning arrested a rabbi from Safed (Tzfat) whom a woman said raped her after giving her spiritual guidance several years ago. A second woman filed a complaint Wednesday night. The allegations were presented to rabbis in Tzfat last month, and rabbinical leaders, including Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, asked the alleged rapist to […]

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Nicholas Winton saved hundreds of Jewish children from the gas chambers but said nothing for nearly 50 years.

More Articles from Combined News Services
Rochelle Shoretz

I’ve had such a rich and meaningful life. Of course I wish I had more time.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner

Boehner criticized President Obama for failing to take the threat of terrorism and the Iranian nuclear threat seriously.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder welcomed the museum’s decision to discover which pieces were looted by the Nazis and to work to restitute them.

“We want the residents of Gaza to live in dignity and prosperity, rebuild their homes and return to normal life,” Yaalon said. “But we are very worried. Just yesterday Hamas representatives said they intend to reconstruct the infiltration tunnels, instead of rebuilding the homes of Gaza’s residents.”

“When the Metropolitan Opera incites violence you can’t know what will happen,” Wiesenfeld said at the protest.

Nemmouche became a radical jihadist while serving a sentence in France in 2009 for armed robbery, TF1 reported.

“Never again, Lord, never again,” the pope implored. “Here we are, Lord, shamed by what man, created in your own image and likeness, was capable of doing.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas must choose between peace with Israel or Hamas.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/in-shift-israelis-now-believe-assad-could-prevail-in-syrian-civil-war/2013/06/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: