By Iqbal Jassat
Would any reasonable person having regard to the gruesome carnage Syria’s six year long civil war has wrought on its people, be opposed to a peaceful resolution?
Or to put it more bluntly: who would be so callous as to argue that the terrible internecine war must continue and justify the suffering of people?
Well, believe it or not, criminal thugs who advocate perpetuating deplorable inhumane policies do exist. One of them who unashamedly made this public plea is none other than Israel’s rightwing war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu.
While its true that most reasonable people will seek a swift end to the catastrophic consequences of a horrible war and a return to normalcy, Netanyahu falls outside of this category.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Netanyahu made it clear that Israel opposes the ceasefire agreement in Southern Syria that Russia and the United States reached.
He emphasized that in his meeting with Macron, he made it clear to the French president that Israel was totally opposed to the ceasefire plan.
And the reason he advanced to justify his morbid view, is that a ceasefire will enhance Iran’s presence in Syria.
Having failed to secure the Obama administration’s support for a war on Iran on the pretext that Tehran was building a nuclear bomb, Netanyahu has yet again revived his scare tactics. This time around the alarm he raises is deliberately designed to persuade the West to reject the ceasefire.
His campaign is fueled by claims that Iran is dispatching extensive military forces including the establishment of an airbase for Iranian aircraft and a naval base for Iran’s navy.
From Israel’s perspective, the real problem is their failure to topple the Assad regime despite arming and funding rebel movements and being directly involved in regular bombing sprees. Its a defeat Israel will strive to reverse at any cost.
Netanyahu’s calculation of a Syria stripped of sovereignty and fragmented into pieces, as a necessary condition to weaken its nemesis Hezbollah, has backfired.
The issue of the Golan Heights which has been Occupied by Israel since 1967, has come back to haunt Netanyahu. And the forecast sounds gloomy regarding the Golan. For the ceasefire agreement to be enforced, it seems unlikely that the Trump administration will be inclined to police the Golan. On the other hand, Israel will be reluctant to rely on Russian oversight because it suspects that Iran’s access to Golan will not be blocked by Putin.
Israeli voices – whether belonging to Netanyahu or his defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, can be heard screaming in frustration. Though threats to torpedo the ceasefire may be music to Israel’s hawks, they may not inspire Trump to rise and dance.
Apart from having to put out fires lit by his wayward tweets, Trump has his hands full. To succumb to Israeli pressure will require nullifying the ceasefire. To do so will place his administration in an awkward adversarial space with Russia, which Trump knows will come at a price.
So where does this leave Netanyahu? Apart from having to lick his lips, he is inclined to do what he’s known for: resort to war crimes by sabotaging the ceasefire.
Indeed Lieberman reiterated that Israel is not a party to the ceasefire agreement and vowed that its military retains the right to operate freely. This is code language implying that the rebels who are beneficiaries of Israeli aid, which according to The Wall Street Journal includes the supply of weapons and ammunition, can and will be manipulated to attack Assad’s forces.
Israeli logic is that a demolished, depopulated and demilitarized Syria is essential to ensure its northern flank is rid of Hezbollah and Iran. Netanyahu’s opposition to the ceasefire is a demand for the humanitarian crisis to escalate. In other words, for Israel to survive as a colonial entity, Syria must remain in a perpetual state of conflict.
– Iqbal Jassat is an acclaimed writer, analyst and commentator and one of the founder members of MRN. His analysis is featured regularly in mainstream and alternate media outlets around the world. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.