If Assad Falls, Will Jihadists Take Control in Syria and Attack Israel?

(Jerusalem Post) Ariel Ben Solomon - The number of jihadists in Syria has grown from 2,000 to more than 30,000 in two years, and if Assad falls, they "are going to move and deflect their effort and attack Israel," a senior intelligence official told AP on Sunday. In the wake of jihadist gains in the region, "the West and Israel are not in a hurry to get rid of Assad," said Eyal Zisser, an expert on Syria from the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University. Chuck Freilich, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, said, "I think it is clear that the U.S. is resigned to Assad staying. The chemical deal, actually a very good one in its own right, along with the Geneva talks, are a recognition that Assad is staying and can continue killing his people with wild abandon." The problem is that the jihadists could ultimately turn their attention against Israel, or that Syria will become "a virtual Iranian-Hizbullah client state. If the regime stays in power, it will largely be because of Iran and Hizbullah and it will be beholden to them, not just in partnership as in the past," said Freilich.

2014-02-21 00:00:00

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