Where does Israel stand on Assad remaining in power? Israel is a vocal country. Its seventy-year life span based on the foundations of a long history of persecution does not permit it the luxury to remain silent on matters that directly affect its existence. To wit is its long fight to derail Obama’s Iran Deal the Jewish nation knows its negative long-term impact.
So, when John Kerry, the premier Russian ballerina pirouetting in Lavrov’s lap, announced that the matter of regime change in Syria is off the table, the Israeli leadership remained quiet. There was no positive or negative response as if Israel agrees with America’s new position.
Is it because it is still mulling the consequences of Kerry’s words? Is it because starting a new fight with Obama is futile and Israel has to rely on its own strength to contain the danger? Or is it because Islamism is a bigger threat than Assad in the short-term and Israel needs to decide which to confront first?
Then there are other signs that smell like a ‘deal’ has been struck by all parties. For one, the IRGC pulling out of Syria that are significant within the context of who to confront first. For two, the Arab League announcing its support for the U.N. Resolution on Syria even though Assad’s fate is omitted from that Resolution at a time when Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insists on Assad’s removal. Our imagination could be running away from us here by over-thinking the new Obama position with regard to Assad, but in the bazaar of the Middle East, where infinite possibilities are within reach, such wild guessing may not be so wild.
Where does Israel stand when it is squeezed on one side by an enemy building a nuclear bomb it could threaten its existence and Islamist terrorists whose zealotry and religious fervor, backed by tens of millions of Muslim Arabs, could overrun Israel if permitted the time and space to grow as IS did? One enemy uses deadly missiles and the other uses human mass. No one should envy Israel’s position on Syria when confronted with such savagery.
Maybe, then maybe, Israel has other plans. Maybe its leadership knows that Assad remaining in power is inconsequential because, even though Assad will help recruit more Islamist fighters, it will also make Assad’s life a living hell. Without Assad, hell may descend upon Israel. With Assad in power, Assad is the recipient of Islamist hell. In a way, Assad has become a shield for Israel its leadership needs to continue managing Syria’s civil war without the associated threatening costs.
While many Syrians want to see Assad hanging in Abasseen Square in Damascus, an endless guerrilla war to nibble at his flesh is the next best thing. Assad may believe that he will re-assert his control over Syria, but the likely outcome is going to be a long war of attrition. Syrians will make Assad life a living hell if he remains in power.
Quick death or torture? Assad chose torture and Syrians will torture him for years to come. No one will ever be safe in Syria if Assad remains in power.