Sykes-Picot and Israel

(Jerusalem Post) - The political order artificially constructed in the Middle East by the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement is disintegrating. As the Syrian civil war rages, the borders drawn nearly a century ago are becoming blurred. Syria is gradually splintering into three different entities: one region along the coast is loyal to the Alawite regime of President Bashar Assad; another yet-to-be-determined swath of territory might fall under the control of Sunni opposition forces; and a Kurdish enclave with ties to northern Iran and Kurdish groups in Turkey is also emerging. Meanwhile, Iraq's territorial integrity is also in danger of being compromised. The changing balance of power might have ramifications for Jordan, where Beduin tribes rule over a Palestinian majority. The breakdown of the old Sykes-Picot political order is also testing Israel's border with Syria along the Golan Heights. Israel nearly opened fire on pro-Assad forces during fighting Thursday in Quneitra. Syria had moved five tanks and five armored personnel carriers into the demilitarized zone on the Golan Heights separating Syria and Israel, to remove rebel forces that had taken over the Syrian-Israel border crossing. In response, the IDF relayed a message to the Syrian army via the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), warning that it would take action if the Syrian tanks remained in the demilitarized zone. The battles spooked UN peacekeepers, and at least one country - Austria - has announced it will pull its soldiers out of the mission. Still, Israel is not relying on an international contingent to protect its border, nor should it. In fact, the potential disintegration of UNDOF is proof that Israel cannot rely on international forces for its security. And this realization has important implications, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry continues to spearhead efforts for a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel cannot, for instance, agree to replace IDF troops with an international force in the Jordan Valley.

2013-06-10 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive