Why Trump’s Syrian Cease-fire Makes Israel Nervous

editor Wednesday 26 July 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email Printer friendly

By David Makovsky.. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tepid reaction to the deal was telling, and it’s because of one thing: the rising threat of Iran. Israel has done all it could over the past six years to stay out of the maelstrom next door in Syria, where Bashar Assad’s regime has struggled for six years to beat back a peaceful uprising that became a bloody civil war. So I was struck during a recent visit by how nervous so many senior Israeli officials were about what unfolding developments in eastern Syria means for them in the months ahead—as well as how concerned they were about the enforcement of President Donald Trump’s recent cease-fire deal in southern Syria with Russia and Jordan.

Though it doesn’t say so publicly, Israel long ago wrote off western Syria as constituting a brutal triumph for Assad, who was assisted by Russia, Iran, Shia fighters and Hezbollah in defeating mostly Sunni insurgents. Israeli officials are scathing in viewing Assad as a butcher who murders and gasses his own people with virtual impunity. Yet, they believe he is unlikely to be dislodged. And they see in Assad’s survival a lesson rooted in the tragic history of the Jewish people: Israel must always have deterrent strength, since nobody came to the aid of the defenseless victims of the Syrian dictator just as nobody came to the aid of the victims of the Holocaust. Read the full story.



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