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The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

Getting Back the Golan Heights

On a possible surprise and people’s power

 

 

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The Bental-Avital extinct volcano on the Golan Heights | Home to largest IDF surveillance base in the area, from where Damascus is visible

The Bental-Avital extinct volcano on the Golan Heights | Home to largest IDF surveillance base in the area, from where Damascus is visible

 

The Orwellian Reality of the Syrian-Israeli Peace

Technically, Israel and Syria are at war. Yet, their border is relatively quiet. The recent violence there was unusual. On June 5, 2011, was commemorated the Naksa Day, on the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War. This time the events included demonstrations on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, mainly near the destroyed city of Quneitra and near the Druze village of Majdal Sham. Syria said that 23 people were killed in this event. Official Syrian news agency SANA quoted Health Minister Wael al-Halki as saying the death toll included a woman and a child, adding that another 350 people suffered gunshot wounds. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said live Israeli fire had caused casualties and UN monitors were seeking to confirm facts. The IDF said that since all the casualties were on the Syrian side of the border it was unable to provide an exact count. The IDF didn’t understand that the exact count didn’t matter. The IDF, Syria and the UN agree that Israeli soldiers shot Syrian citizens demonstrating on the Syrian side of the border. Period. This was a Casus Belli event, i.e. a formal reason for the Syrians opening a legitimate war on Israel. Yet, Syria did nothing.

Syria never reacts as a country in war, not even despite the brutal and unjustified assassination of Syrian citizens on Syrian land by IDF soldiers. For years, IDF units as Shaldag (Kingfisher) and Sayeret Matkal have entered Syria as if it was just a suburb of Tel Aviv. The Syrians know; yet, they don’t react. I witnessed – from the regional Golan Heights IDF HQ - the shooting and kidnapping of Syrian citizens into Israel. The two were interrogated by the IDF’s Druze unit and then returned; one of them was badly injured in his leg. Not even one word of condemnation was published by the Syrians. Despite a formal war, a cozy relationship exists between the Israeli Administration and the Assad Dynasty.

Despite formal definitions, Israel and Syria live an Orwellian War-Peace situation. A fake war was proclaimed to the worried citizens and artificially kept alive for decades, while the leaders of both sides shared the hefty profits of the Business of War. Fatefully for Barak and Assad, by the end of 2011 the game got spoiled.

Western Provocations

Western provocations in the last months have created instability in Syria. Venezuela’s teleSUR reported on several occasions how the CNN has reported pro-government rallies in Syria as protesters against the regime. Moreover, it showed wide angle images that clearly showed that events of real protesters where almost void of participants. On November 20, Russia has blamed the West on creating and seeking provocations in Syria. It seems Uncle Obama seeks to conquer and destroy yet another strategic point in the Middle East. After all, he needs cheap oil for his hybrid hummer.

The Arab League is attempting to get involved, but the results until now are almost nil. Given Syria’s position in the Arab world, this is unlikely to change easily. Syrian relations with the Arab world since the 1963 Baathist seizure of power in Damascus are complex. Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar Assad have ruled it since 1970, creating another level of complexity since they belong to the Shia related Alawis, and not to the majority Sunni population. A Shia-Baath government is unique in the Arab world. Yet, Syria has formidable military and intelligence capabilities, and has become one of the pillars of the Arab world. Its complex social and religious reality places it in an ideal position to be considered as an acceptable leader in this area, and as such an unlikely target for the league’s criticism.

Time is running out for America, it soon will take a substantial number of troops out of Iraq and lose a perfect platform for initiating an attack on Syria. As in Libya, instead of a direct attack it would probably opt to arm an Arab mercenaries’ militia and then force it to move along the desert towards Damascus under the air protection of NATO. CNN will depict them as heroes; the BBC would discover the mercenaries are in fact former Buddhist monks about to achieve Nirvana and in a peaceful mission of love. That’s how the West lies. If Obama wants to vacation with his hummer without worrying about the gas bills, he must attack soon.

Buried in his bunkers, Barak worries.

Getting Back the Golan

In various publications in the Hebrew media, it has been said that the IDF believes Assad's days are numbered and is not ruling out the possibility that the Syrian riots will reach the border area. "Assad is fighting for his life and for his regime," an AMAN (IDF’s Military Intelligence) official said last week.

According to this assessment, the IDF is preparing for the worst. It is close to completing a lineup of barriers along the border, minefields have been renewed, deep tunnels have been dug, and a new electronic-equipped barbed-wire fence has been deployed in sensitive areas. However, what is “the worst” in this situation?

It is unlikely Assad would engage in war with Israel in order to distract the people from the events. It’s too late for that; this could have been done in June – after the IDF brutal attack on Syrian citizens – but not now. The IDF is afraid that if violence erupts in Syria, Syrian refugees would run towards Israel. Thus, the IDF's observation systems – mainly Avital (see picture above) and Tel Fares - are directed at the Syrian towns and focus on approaching buses. Israel wants an early warning before a mass movement toward the fence.

Numbers on these topics are complicated to estimate, but apparently over half a million people in Syria are closely related to the Golan Heights, many of them having left behind families which still live in their ancestral villages. One of them – Majdal Shams - was at the center of the events in June. If Assad’s regime collapses, they may decide it is time to return home, and home is the Golan Heights.

Considering this, the IDF is in a tough situation. Armies can fight armies, they can’t fight people. The IDF may hold back the masses for a while, but if these are purposeful in their intentions, even the Berlin Wall will fall. The IDF is not very strong in the Golan Heights; the basic assumption of the IDF war plans is that in a full war scenario the Syrians would conquer the Golan within 24 hours. Most of these plans deal with ways to conquer it again. This is because Israel cannot afford holding a significant army on the Golan at all times. If violence erupts and the new-old refugees return home, the IDF will need to decide between ruthlessly exterminating all of them or surrendering to reality. A few meters of landmines won’t stop a pushing crowd of tens of thousands. An IDF soldiers shouting at them “Stop or I’ll shoot!” (the IDF standard stop request) won’t even be noticed. The Syrian people may get back their Golan Height in no time at all; clearly demonstrating the situation in the last decades was nothing but a farce, nothing but a silent cooperation between Assad and Israel.

If that happens, then in a most spectacular miscalculation by Western powers an attempt to conquer another key point in the oil industry may turn out into a significant territorial lose to one of its allies. Israel would need to deal with a new and much less comfortable frontline; justice will be closer.

The day after, Obama would take his annual forget-me-not flower-picking holiday on his new hybrid hummer. “Oops! Sorry!” he would be heard saying to the Israeli Ambassador.

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