Why Israel Supports Rebels in Syria

Why Israel Supports Rebels in Syria

[Image via Fox News, All Rights Reserved Fox News 2013 (C)] By Joshua Tartakovsky, April 15, 2017 I have written in the past on Israel’s support for rebels in Syria. In light of the recent intensification in Syria, perhaps it is time to explain why. It is not a pleasant sight to see Israel aiding bearded fanatics who seek to topple the secular and brutal regime of Assad, especially when Israel battles the same Islamic radicals in Gaza or the West Bank. But for Israel support for rebels is a matter of survival and is qualitatively different from the interests of the United States, Russia or Turkey. Syrian President Assad has been the main supplier of weapons to Hezbollah, the Shiite guerrilla organization in South Lebanon, which has been battling ISIS in Syria. Hezbollah was founded after Israel’s invasion of South Lebanon which was itself proceeded by PLO’s firing of missiles into northern Israel. In an attempt to establish security for the residents in northern Israel, it engaged in an 18 years long occupation of a buffer zone in South Lebanon, and thereby sought to push off terrorists who were launching missiles into civilian populations further away. But while Israeli soldiers in 1982 were initially greeted as saviors by Lebanese Shiites, over time Hezbollah, an organization supported by Iran and led by Shiite clerics, developed as a response to Israel’s occupation of the region and engaged in very effective guerrilla operations against the Israeli army that eventually forced the latter’s withdrawal in 24 May 2000. Now Hezbollah contains a vast missile arsenal which has a potential to hit as far as southern...
WILL THE CEASEFIRE HOLD? KERRY’S PLAN B FOR SYRIA

WILL THE CEASEFIRE HOLD? KERRY’S PLAN B FOR SYRIA

Photo: Reuters By Joshua Tartakovsky, 28 February 2016 US Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced his Plan B this week as he attempted to flex his muscles following the two-week long ceasefire agreed to by the US and Russia: if the ceasefire in Syria fails, then Syria must be divided.  In this way, Kerry attempted to cover the US concession for allowing two weeks of a respite, by taking a tough stance, and patronizingly suggesting the violation of Syria’s sovereignty. Kerry should forgive others for not taking his ideas too seriously. After all, only two months ago Kerry visited Moscow where he said that US has in effect given up on its intentions for a regime change in Syria, only for the US to switch its version, as Obama said a mere three days later that “Assad must go.” The disappointment with Obama’s statement did not prevent the First Lady of Syria, Asma al Assad, from visiting the Basilica of Our Lady in Damascus, along with Bashar, the President of Syria. She posted on Facebook pictures from the event.  The First Lady, Asma al Assadsaid that Syria remains a sovereign country regardless of US attempts at regime change. Then, one month ago, Vice President Joe Biden announced in Istanbul, before the peace negotiations between the Syrian government and terrorist groups even began in Geneva, that if talks fail, US will support Erdogan’s Turkey in fighting against ISIS, although Turkey is obviously supporting ISIS.   This meant that Biden encouraged the collapse of the talks in advance, and was hoping that US and Turkey would bring about a regime change in Syria by force, against the democratic wishes of the people there.  Indeed, the Geneva talks...
US HAS AN AIRBASE IN SYRIA WITH KURDISH HELP, SAYS WILL WORK WITH TURKEY TO AID TERRORISTS IN SYRIA

US HAS AN AIRBASE IN SYRIA WITH KURDISH HELP, SAYS WILL WORK WITH TURKEY TO AID TERRORISTS IN SYRIA

Photo from “Save Kobane” By Joshua Tartakovsky, January 26, 2016 According to reports by both a source in the Syrian Arab Army and the anti-government one-man-operation Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in the UK, the US along with the Kurds are expanding an airbase, formerly used as a launching area for planes that spray pesticides, as a base for US military operations. The base is in Rmeilan, in the province of Hasakeh, located in northeast Syria. The YPG handed over the airbase to the US airforce. In addition, it is reported that Turkey is amassing about 1,000 soldiers on the Syrian-Turkey border and Turkish forces entered the Aleppo province inside Syria (formally to fight Daesh but in practice to prevent the entry of the Kurdish YPG [People’s Protection Units]). In my article on what should be done with Erdogan (How to Crush Erdogan’s Expansionism, 30/15/2015), I argued that it is only a matter of time before Turkey invades Syria and that Turkey will most certainly seek to expand. Russia should seek to work with the YPG in Syria and should deliver it weapons directly. I also argued it should arm the militant group PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) inside Turkey.  The more headache for Erdogan in Turkey – the better, and the YPG is a significant force.  It turns out that working with the Kurds in Syria is not a simple affair, since theKurds attacked Christian Syrians in the recent past and seek to establish an autonomy independently of the Syrian state. Giving the Kurds weapons not via the Syrian Government could be a problem, as Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov rightly said. The Kurds in Syria,...
WHEN IT COMES TO HEZBOLLAH, ISRAEL HAS RUSSIA’S EAR

WHEN IT COMES TO HEZBOLLAH, ISRAEL HAS RUSSIA’S EAR

Photo by Joshua Tartakovsky © November 2015. All Rights Reserved. By Joshua Tartakovsky, 9 March 2016 It appears then that while Iran and Russia have a tight alliance in Syria, they also have their major disagreements and contradicting interests, more than what meets the eye The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation have been working more closely than ever in Syria against various Islamist terrorist groups. Indeed, the massive Russian military operation against terrorism in Syria, following a formal request for help by the lawful Government of Syria, took place after a visit to Moscow by Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani. It is widely believed that Soleimani, whom many consider a brilliant military strategist, took a central part in planning the Russian operation in Syria. The Syrian Arab Army, Russian forces, Iranian forces and Hezbollah have been working closely on theater. From the very beginning since plans of a Russian war on terrorism in Syria became known, Israel has been very worried about the possibility that advanced Russian missiles will reach Hezbollah and will be used against Israel in a future confrontation between the two. Israeli civilians suffered from shelling by Hezbollah in past confrontations as the city of Haifa has been targeted. It is fair to assume that at the time Netanyahu rushed to meet Putin, the deal probably was that Israel will share intelligence on various terror groups in Syria, and in return, Russia will guarantee that advanced military equipment will not reach Hezbollah who would then like to transfer it into Lebanon. But according to the Jerusalem Post on March 3, following a report from the Kuwaiti Al Jarida, Hezbollah recently managed to transfer...
How to Crush Erdoğan’s Expansionism

How to Crush Erdoğan’s Expansionism

By Joshua Tartakovsky, December 28, 2015 Erdoğan’s Turkey is angry. It feels repressed and hated unjustly. It is hungry for respect but insatiable in its demands. It brought down a Russian jet unwarrantedly and militiamen fired on its parachuting pilot, but Erdoğan’s Turkey believed it was protecting itself. Despite its supposed sensitivity to questions of sovereignty, it sent troops across the border to Iraq against the wishes of the Iraqi government, supposedly to train anti-ISIS fighters. No one believes this.  It is engaged in a bloody crackdown against the Kurdish Workers Party guerrilla group (PKK) inside Turkey resulting in a bloodbath, which may very well be only the beginning. Erdoğan’s Turkey views itself as a victim of Russia, the “killer of Sunnis.” But it is Erdoğan’s Turkey which is aiding and trading with the Islamic State while presenting itself as a victim of false accusations. To view the invasion of Iraq in isolation is to miss the point. Erdoğan’s Turkey is hoping to regain the pre-1917 Ottoman lands across the border and/or to reunite with its brothers the Turkmen in Syria. It is only a question of time before Erdoğan’s Turkey invades Syrian territory illegally, just as it did in Iraq, under the full protection of NATO.  It is expansionist by nature. Many prefer to view Erdoğan’s actions as whimsical or as contrary to the wishes of the United States or NATO. According to this narrative, Erdoğan is a madman but he is acting on his own. This is a mistake. Let one who claims so answer candidly the following questions: Did the United States or NATO denounce the...