Sunday, February 03, 2013
While most regional powers have taken stands in the civil war in Syria, with the Sunni Arab Gulf countries (most notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and Turkey supporting the rebels and with Iran and Hezbollah supporting the Assad regime, Israel has stayed neutral. And for good reasons.
On the one hand, the Assad regime is the most important Arab ally of Israel's arch-enemy (since the Shi'ite Islamic revolution in 1979) Iran, and the pathway by which weapons from Iran reach Hezbollah. The possible downfall of the Assad regime would therefore significantly weaken Iran and Hezbollah.
On the other hand, the Sunni Islamist rebels are no more friendly to Israel than the Assad regime is, with one of their key propaganda arguments for overthrowing Assad being in fact his failure to retake the Golan Heights from Israel.
So, Israel has stated that it is neutral and won't interfere in the outcome of the civil war. However, it has also stated that it won't accept that the Assad regime transfers chemical weapons or anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah, or that the Sunni rebels conquers the sites where they are located. It appears that the Israeli air strike in Syria did in fact target weapons shpments designated for Hezbollah.
What made this all the more funny, was the official Assad regime comment of the Israeli air strike, namely that it served to "destabilize Syria".
The country was in a full-fledged civil war to begin with. How can it become more unstable than that?