A Syrian Lesson

[Ynet News] Giora Eiland - In the wake of the Hariri assassination, the U.S., France, the UN, and Saudi Arabia joined forces and took a determined decision to remove Syria from Lebanon. Israel joined this initiative with great enthusiasm. Yet it should have been clear to Israel that the removal of Syrian forces from Lebanon would prompt two developments: First, Iran would enter the vacuum created. Indeed, Hizbullah's political and military power increased dramatically upon the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Second, once they lose Lebanon, Syria's focal point of interest would shift to the Golan Heights. As long as the Syrians had to struggle to maintain their hold on Lebanon (which is much more important to them than the Golan Heights), there was no pressure exerted on the Golan front. The question of whether to sign a peace treaty with Syria and return the Golan Heights is a legitimate one. However, it is clear that it would be preferable for such negotiations to be held while the Syrians are still in control of Lebanon. Had they stayed in Lebanon, the Syrians would have to be committed to comprehensive peace that includes Lebanon as well, including the dismantlement of Hizbullah (they were forced to agree to it in 1999). Today, Syria is not responsible for what goes on in Lebanon. We may be able to make peace with Syria, but the Hizbullah problem will not be resolved. In respect to both Lebanon and Gaza, the proper policy requires Israel to properly assess the overall interests involved, rather than automatically backing our allies and automatically objecting to our enemies' demands. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland chaired Israel's National Security Council from 2004 to 2006.

2008-12-25 06:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive