By Avi Lipkin
In a recent news report on Kol Israel Radio (July 9th, 2011) it was reported that over 60,000 Syrians have been detained by the Syrian government for questioning and probably torture. Much of the world is distressed to say the least at daily reports of army massacres of Syrian civilians, many of which are unarmed. And the question asked is: How much longer can Bashar Assad survive? Another question is: How long can the Alawite Shi’ite leadership survive? And what will come in its place?
There are three approaches to Syria, in my opinion: Israel’s approach, Turkey’s approach and US President Barack Obama’s approach.
Of course, Israel has made peace with Egypt and Jordan. Israel has also been negotiating with the Palestinians. Even though the relationship with Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians leaves much to be desired from the Israeli perspective, the absence of real wars like 1948-9 and 1973-74 is, it would seem a valid justification for such agreements and continued negotiations.
There have been signs over the last few decades that former prime minister Rabin
and second-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been close to agreement with Syria as well, but this northern neighbor has always been considered the most “hardline” of our Arab neighbors.
When looking at the Syrian regime, one sees a leadership representing 10% of Syria’s population, the Shi’ite Alawites, about 10% of the population which is Christian and the remaining 80% of the population which is Sunni Moslem. It was
Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad who said: “The Arabs can lose 5 wars, 6 wars, 7 wars or 99 wars against the Jews. All we need is to win one war.” He also said, “There is no agreement without Jerusalem.” He also said, anyone who sacrifices one inch of Jerusalem is a traitor, and we know the fate of traitors in the Arab world.” It was also Hafez al-Assad who killed appoximately 30,000 Sunni’s in Hama in 1982 when the Syrian army used artillery, tanks and aircraft to completely wipe out a quarter in the city of Hama. And no one said anything about that massacre.
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