x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Israel sees a segmented Syria as a risk

An Arabic-language columnist says Israel is taking a deep interest in developments in the civil war on its border. Other subjects: Palestinian prisoners and mayhem in the Arab world.

A segmented Syria is far more threatening to Israel than a powerful and unified Syria

Israeli concerns are mounting rapidly over the repercussions of the deteriorating situation in Syria, said Randa Haidar, a contributing columnist with the Lebanese daily Annahar.

The fighting between regime and opposition forces rages on without any considerable breakthroughs. It is inching closer to the Syrian-Israeli border coupled with a sharp rise in the power of radical Islamic and Al Qaeda-affiliated organisations.

In addition to all that, Israel's biggest fear is that radical anti-Israeli groups such as Hizbollah in Lebanon and other jihadist organisations that are increasingly sprouting in various parts of Syria would take advantage of the central government's weakness and get their hands on the country's substantial arsenal of unconventional weapons.

Hence, almost two years after the onset of the revolution, the Israeli claim that the fall of Bashar Al Assad's regime would eventually benefit Israel, because it would strike a fatal blow to Iran's predominance in the region, doesn't seem evident any longer.

"The underlying threats of a possible segmentation of Syria that would throw it into a whirlwind of chaos and violence are beginning to surface. Israelis are sensing the urgent need for a new strategy to confront the new risks at hand," she said.

Israel is preparing forthwith to tackle the complicated situation resulting from the continuing crisis in Syria.

Tel Aviv is setting up a plan of action for the post-Assad era. For the past 40 years, the Al Assad regime has guaranteed peace on Syria's borders with Israel, but the conviction in Israel today is that there is no going back to the pre-revolution situation in Syria regardless of the regime's ability to hold on or the opposition's breakthroughs on the ground.

Regardless of the outcome of this war, Syria has become a hub for civil and sectarian strife. It is now the core of regional and international conflicts. The bases for the previous Israeli strategy towards Syria are gone.

"The crushing civil war has opened the possibility that the Syrian borders would, in the future, become an open front against Israel. The impending departure of Mr Al Assad from power and the unavoidable change in the power balances in Syria mean that Israel must adopt a different approach than the one it has been implementing thus far," added the writer,

Tel Aviv couldn't possibly accept that the Syria-Iran-Hizbollah troika be replaced by a radical Islamist and jihadist threat so close to home.

Such a challenge requires a joint strategy with regional powers and more importantly with the US. Hence, the importance of President Barack Obama's scheduled visit to Israel next month, the writer said.

Two Arafats reveal occupiers' methods

Who killed the two Arafats, the president and the prisoner? The question was asked by Khairy Mansour in the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej.

The first Arafat is the late president, Yasser Arafat, who was confined to his headquarters in the West Bank, and whose cause of death is still under investigation; the second Arafat is the prisoner, Arafat Jaradat, who died only days after he was arrested. Investigations into his death are also continuing.

The Palestinian Authority says Arafat Jaradat was tortured to death while the Israeli authorities claimed he died of a heart attack.

The investigations are dramatic and provide "new evidence that President Arafat was poisoned", the writer noted.

The irony is that Arafat, the prisoner who died in Israeli custody, was just one of tens of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have died and others who are standing tall.

What is happening to Palestinians behind bars at the hands of the occupiers is nothing short of murder, the writer said, noting that many of them had been sentenced to long terms.

Those who killed the first Arafat will not be deterred from killing a second Arafat, a third or even a million, the writer said. Why would Zionists not go this far when they know the reaction to their crimes will be merely a little condemnation, he concluded.

A matter of mayhem in the Arab world

"Mayhem" is the word that best describes the status quo in the Arab world, wrote the Syrian poet Adunis in a column in yesterday's edition of the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.

It is the kind of mayhem that does not promise to liberate people from all forms of slavery; on the contrary, it seems to be taking a chance to establish more appalling slaveries, the poet opined.

It is a mayhem that teaches man how to kill his fellow man, directly, by planning, by the Shura, by democracy, by the revolution, or by the regime, he said.

In a bid to cloak such killing in the silk of faith and peace of mind, religion is being politicised, and politics is being religionised, in a way hardly paralleled in human history.

It is a new cogito: "Am I a believer? Therefore I must wipe out whoever disagrees with me." A person whose words and deeds match this new notion is no longer a normal human being. He becomes an idol that worships its own self, the poet said.

The lust for money and possession is not the only cause of this idolatry. Nor is the victory over the enemy. It is a metaphysical hunger that kills for the sake of the killing, regardless of who is being killed, be it a child or an innocent elder.

* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae