Israeli airstrikes tar­get Iran, not Syria

By: Raed Omari

 

Israel’s recent airstrikes against Syria – or as a mat­ter of fact against Iran in Syria – have found con­dem­na­tion and rejec­tion in the Arab col­lec­tive con­science but have been polit­i­cally received with dis­in­ter­est­ed­ness, silence and def­i­nitely not rejoice, maybe even schadenfreude.

For con­sid­er­a­tions of Arab sov­er­eignty, pan-​Arab nation­al­ism and Islamism, Israeli air raids on Syria – more likely on Iran-​backed Hezbollah’s weaponry in Dam­as­cus – have been denounced, though not explic­itly enough, by most Arabs who are still ide­o­log­i­cally, polit­i­cally and morally unable to con­done Israel.

But is Syria (the offi­cial Syria) a sov­er­eign and a pan-​Arab state or has it ever been? His­tory says no.

Israel was fully aware of the almost-​zero level of pop­u­lar­ity of the so-​called “resis­tance camp” and the spirit of antag­o­nism around Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-​Assad in the entire Arab world – except maybe in south­ern Lebanon. Israel was thus eager to send its jet fight­ers to bomb Syria being cer­tain of the impos­si­bil­ity of a retal­ia­tory attack by Dam­as­cus or any angry Arabs.

Arabs, and cer­tainly Syr­i­ans, were def­i­nitely unhappy to see the sov­er­eignty of Syria – not al-Assad’s régime – vio­lated by Israel inas­much as they are weary of Dam­as­cus being exploited by Ayatollah’s régime of Iran.

But highly star­tled by the Syr­ian régime’s unsur­passed bru­tal­ity and its large-​scale mas­sacres, Arabs of the anti-​Assad camp pre­ferred to remain silent and cau­tiously happy with the Israeli pre-​dawn airstrikes, show­ing no trace of a “coward[ly] atti­tude” as described in the pro-​Assad camp’s rhetoric but fully con­vinced of the attacks’ irrel­e­vance to the Arab-​Israeli conflict.

Facts more than opinions

In addi­tion to the scary mas­sacres – indeed geno­cides – com­mit­ted in Syria, what is related to most Arabs’ dis­in­ter­est in the Israeli air raids and their zero sol­i­dar­ity with al-Assad’s régime is their weari­ness of the more than 40 years of mod­ern Syria being hijacked by Iran.

Syria, dur­ing al-Assad’s fam­ily rule – both the father and the son – has been taken away from the Arab world, entirely placed within and lit­er­ally hijacked by Iran to serve its inter­ests in the region.

Dur­ing the 1980 – 1988 Iraq-​Iranian war, all Arab coun­tries sup­ported Bagh­dad – the east­ern gate of the Arab world – in the face of what was termed at the time as “the Shi­ite expan­sion.” This was except for Syria which declared itself the cham­pion of Tehran. Even the Baathist-​governed Bagh­dad was hit by mis­siles from Baathist Syria.
Syria – the claimed resist­ing coun­try – has not shot even a bul­let at Israel since 1973 despite the Jew­ish state’s occu­pa­tion of its Golan Heights and its fre­quent attacks on Syr­ian mil­i­tary locations.

The pres­ence of the Syr­ian troops in Lebanon – which was okayed by the U.S – was not for pan-​Arab nation­al­is­tic pur­poses as long vowed by the Syr­i­ans (again offi­cials not peo­ple), but to con­trol the preva­lence of resis­tance groups in Lebanon. The Israelis knew that already.

The num­ber of Syr­i­ans killed by forces loyal to al-​Assad since 2011 is cer­tainly more than the num­ber of Arabs and Pales­tini­ans killed by the Israelis over 65 years with no need even to go to records to check that. Plus, Pales­tin­ian and Arab pris­on­ers in Israel are counted, tried and allowed vis­its by their par­ents. Syr­ian and Arab pris­on­ers in Syria are dis­con­nected from their fam­i­lies, igno­rant about their fate.

It is the régime that trans­formed Syria’s peace­ful upris­ing into an armed strug­gle when they responded to protests with gun­fire, com­pelling Syr­i­ans to carry arms to defend themselves.

The airstrikes tar­geted Iran not Syria

Israel’s aim behind the recent airstrikes was def­i­nitely not to destroy the mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties of the “resist­ing Syria,” as it has been boasted in Damascus’s offi­cial rhetoric, or in any means to sup­port the Syr­ian oppo­si­tion, as help­lessly claimed by Syr­ian officials.

Israel bombed Syria to defend its secu­rity and to deliver a mes­sage to Iran, tak­ing advan­tage of the world’s shock at al-Assad’s, and his allies’, brutality.

Some observers mis­cal­cu­lated Israel’s airstrikes on Syria when they linked their tim­ing to al-Assad’s inabil­ity to open up a sec­ond front against Israel as he is already engaged with an inter­nal front against the opposition.

But Israel has attacked Syria many times before when al-​Assad was not at war and no
retal­i­a­tion occurred.

Israel did so in 1990 when, with diplo­matic cau­tion and unex­pected restraint, it remained silent and did not hit back against Iraq’s Scud mis­siles attacks in com­plete under­stand­ing of the dan­gers of any retal­i­a­tion, it attacked Syria fully aware of the cir­cum­stances and risks of such an act.

Late Iraqi Pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sein wanted to gain the sup­port of Arab coun­tries when he attacked Israel with 39 long-​range Scud mis­siles, think­ing that the Jew­ish state would hit back. But that did not hap­pen as Israel refrained from strik­ing back.

Israel struck Syria, or Iran­ian arse­nal in Dam­as­cus, because it has not been given the green light from the U.S. to go to Iran. But Syria is a short-​cut to Iran any­way.
All in all, the airstrikes had noth­ing to do with the civil war hap­pen­ing in Syria but with the ten­sion and esca­la­tion hap­pen­ing between Iran and Israel in Syria. Israel’s post­poned war against Iran has begun in Syria as it had begun before in Lebanon.

Let there be no more talk about the “resis­tance axis” for it proved to be noth­ing but a big lie. Let there be no more talk about the “global con­spir­acy” against Syria for it has been proved that the Syr­ian peo­ple are fight­ing for their free­dom and for the re-​placement of their coun­try within the Arab world after decades of Iran­ian domination.

Source: Alara­biya

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