In Syria: Assad May Now Be the Greater Evil

(Times of Israel) Ely Karmon - Seeing the Sunni jihadists in Syria as a potential base for al-Qaeda and global jihadists, the West's hesitation to earnestly support the rebel forces and the U.S.-Russian deal for dismantling the Syrian chemical arsenal have actually given the Assad regime a free hand to quell the disunited opposition forces. At the same time, the West tends to ignore or minimize the Syrian regime's historical record of support for terrorist forces. It also ignores the potential threat of the various Shia forces involved in the conflict alongside the Assad regime and the strong support offered by Iran. The latest attacks on Israel's Golan border are not simply the result of Hizbullah's desire to retaliate for Israeli attacks against the convoys of Syrian strategic weapons transferred to Lebanon, but rather the consequence of the latest military successes of the Assad regime, with the critical support of Iran and its Shia proxies. The lack of reaction by the West in the face of the fierce bombings of Syria's big cities, as well as the perceived success of Syria's Russian ally, have no doubt emboldened Assad, Iran and Hizbullah. The warming of the Golan border with Israel by using Hizbullah and other proxies is a sign of the degree of self-confidence the Damascus regime and its allies have reached. From Iran's point of view, after achieving a strong grip on Iraq, the Damascus regime now becomes a vassal that will better serve the strategic needs of its patron. Iran thus achieves a presence on the Mediterranean coast and a direct border with Israel. The writer is Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

2014-03-24 00:00:00

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