x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Iran's posture indicates Assad's fall imminent

Iran comes to terms with reality as Assad regime's fall nears. Another topic: attack on Israeli websites.

Iran's retreat from traditional bases of power is indication that Assad regime's end is near

Iran seems to be coming to terms with reality, wrote the Lebanese columnist Abdul Wahab Badrakhan in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

That reality might have appeared first in Lebanon, where the cabinet reshuffle can be seen as an early indication of a regional shift towards managing the post-Assad phase. This can be inferred from the resurgence of Saudi influence in Lebanon. "It is obvious that Hezbollah's endorsement of Tammam Salam as prime minister came at the instigation from Iran," Badrakhan wrote.

"This doesn't necessarily mean that Tehran concedes that the Assad regime would fall soon, or that it would assist in toppling it, but it does indicate that it seeks to mitigate the impact of its impending fall in its own interest," he added.

As Syria's power in Lebanon wanes, Iran was to fill that vacuum through its military arm, Hizbollah.

However, in the spirit of pragmatism, it had to come to terms with reality. Recent US-Russian agreements on Syria stipulate that transferring the conflict to neighbouring countries is strictly forbidden. Therefore, Iran finds itself compelled to behave, especially in Lebanon.

In Bahrain too, Iran's interference is waning, especially with the national dialogue that began last February.

Nonetheless, no internal detente could be possible in Bahrain and in Lebanon alike unless Iran were to admit to the realities in both countries.

Some observers also say that the same atmosphere of detente could seep into Iraq, provided Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki succeeds in reasonably managing the crisis.

"Surely, this doesn't mean that a sudden regional agreement has been struck, but rather that, in light of the present circumstances, the powers that be found that flexibility and realism are their best bet for preserving their interests," the Badrakhan wrote.

This new atmosphere is prelude to an adequate political solution for the Syrian issue.

For external powers, especially the US and Israel, the Assad regime isn't as dependable as it was in the past, and there is no way to save it.

The Syrian conflict has become a source of unprecedented danger for Israel as it brought Al Qaeda to its doorstep.

As a result, the US President Barack Obama is more convinced than ever of the necessity of an intervention to put an end to the crisis by arming the Free Syrian Army on the one hand, and by preparing for a balanced political solution that includes all Syrian players on the other.

All major stakeholders have come to realise that the Syrian crisis has trudged far too long and that, if not brought under control it would create multiple crises.

Cyber attacks on Israeli government websites signal the outbreak of a “third intifada”

Earlier this week, Arab and non-Arab “hacktivists” launched large-scale cyber attacks on Israeli government websites. Arab commentators hailed the attacks as a new phase of the Intifada against the Israeli occupation: the Internet Intifada.

“Welcome to the intifada of the hackers”, read a message from thousands of hackers worldwide who managed to infiltrate Israeli government’s websites and thousands of Facebook and Twitter accounts of Israelis, noted Amjad Arrar in the UAE-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

The “Anonymous Op Israel”, an activist group targeting Israeli websites to protest against assaults on Palestinians, had threatened a massive cyber assault on Israel on April 7. It also set April 7 an international day for “online resistance” to wipe out Israeli of cyberspace, he wrote.

It is obvious that Israel had prepared itself for that day to prevent any cyber attacks from Anonymous and other allied groups. On the night of April 7, however, “Israel was completely isolated from the world”.

Thousands of Facebook accounts of Israeli subscribers were hacked, as well as dozens of government websites including the Mossad and several Israeli ministries. Most hacked websites showed pictures of Samer Al Issawi, a Palestinian prisoner in who has been on hunger strike for more than 160 days.

Why did Israel failed to prevent the cyber attacks? Most likely it did not take the threats seriously.

“We are seeing a new development that puts Israel face to face with a new reality that is demolishing all the security theories it has been boasting,” Amjad said.

In the Pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Arabi, Rashad Abu Shawer, noted that following the killing of Palestinian prisoner Maysara Abu Hamdiya, and amid the ongoing hunger strike of Palestinian prisoner Samer Al Issawi and many others, and reports of prisoners suffering deadly disease in Israeli jails, calls for a third Intifada have been on the rise.

And yes, the third Intifada has erupted. It is a“cyber guerrilla warfare” against the ruthless occupier. It is a virtual intifada in solidarity with Palestine, one that none of the feuding Palestinian factions can claim responsibility for or use it for propaganda; and its heroes can’t be liquidated.

“This is the first people’s electronic war ever in history,” according to the writer. And it is only a prelude for what comes next.

The UAE-based Al Bayan wrote in an editorial that the pro-Palestine activists have become part of the face-off with, and a new front against, the Israeli occupation; and their successful attacks should be a morale booster to Palestinians.

* Digest compiled by the

Translation Desk