Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Would the Syrian Druze like a place they can call home? It is time for Israel to help them achieve it

Druze soldier of the Herev Battalion wrapped in the Israeli flag

The Kurds have made it big out of the mess that is Syria. Syria it should be remembered was the unlikeliest of states having so many different ethnicities contained within it. In the middle east identifiable ethnic groups like to assert themselves where they can, or go to the wall. That Syria was a secular baathist state was in no small measure due to a minority alawite military caste holding the reigns of power. They knew that they needed a large measure of consensus in order to rule the country.

The consensus however did not extend to having a democratic system. In the middle east, as we have so clearly seen recently, democracy does not mean opportunities for all, but oppression by whichever majority rules. The Muslim Brotherhood carried out its oppression against secular and christian society just a little too fast for the liking of the army, and once the people spoke, took back the state. In Turkey where the islamists were more clever, the army was slowly neutralized as a threat before Erdogan began to move in earnest, in a way that could be instantly felt, against the majority population. Even then, with the Gezi protests Erdogan has had some  pushback.

In Syria once the people spoke, Bashir Assad attempted to use the old methods to suppress popular discontent, killings and arrests and disappearences. That did not help and now we have a country that is not a country any more. The Kurds in the north east have carved out their own independence in league with Iraqi Kurds, and the shia and sunni alliances are slogging it out.

Druze communities on Golan and in Syria need to unite into one enclave to resist militant islam, ensuring their survival against militant islam, and Israel's security
The Druze are a minority sitting astride Israel's border with Syria on the Golan heights, who until now gave their allegiance to the Assad regime, as did most of the Golan Druze. But now there must be those in the Druze community who would be only too receptive to being part of a wider alliance with Israel. The Druze can not but see just how unstable the arab world is, how well their bretheren who are loyal to Israel fare, and who will be open to some sort of alliance with Israel.

There is no need for Israel to ever set foot over into Syria, but if the Druze organize themselves with the help of Israeli druze, declare their own independence, then it will be a win-win situation for the Druze and Israel.
Israeli Druze are amongst Israel's fiercest soldiers who defend the border with Lebanon, who make up most of the Herev battalion.

The Druze should be offered help by Israel to carve out their own enclave on the border of Israel. This will have the advantage for Israel of making it even harder for arabs to try salami slicing of Israel on the Golan Heights at a future date. There will be an independent druze enclave in the way of this. For the druze, they will not be subject to the whims of a future islamic state, whether shia or sunni. Neither sunnis or shia will tolerate the druze in their future state, a community who they see as apostates who left islam, with the only punishment for that being death.

Israel might not want to involve itself in Syria, but there is now an opportunity to ensure its security in the  north with just the lightest of involvement, of guaranteeing that Israel will not again involve itself in negotiations designed to snatch essential territory away from Israel, and of giving a secure base from which the druze can organize themselves.

Instead of waiting for one side or the other to win in Syria Israel should make clear this new vision for the druze areas, work to break down the distrust between it and druze communities who fear being cast loose by Israel one day in a 'peace agreement'. Israel must make known that peace agreements will never again involve sacrificing lands.

Allowing a druze enclave to arise will be democratic Israel's contribution to mitigating the horror that is Syria. It will prevent the coming destruction of the druze community there, whilst at the same time ensure Israel's own security, before the islamist terror against Israel's Golan community begins.

Because neither side in Syria makes any secret that after they win, Israel is next.

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