Monday, 6 July 2015

Israel's Druze support Israel's wariness in being drawn by their Syrian bretheren into the quagmire

The question of the Syrian Druze recently climbed to the top of Israel's priorities, eclipsing
even the ongoing disastrous handling by Obama and European powers of Iran's race for nuclear weapons (As I write this US Secretary of State Kerry is doing his best to paint his 'Peace in Our Time' surrender as not being a done deal, that the USA will supposedly walk away from a bad deal with Iran. But most of the major concessions have been made already from not insisting that Iran owns up to allowing it to use new and ever faster uranium processing centrifuges, ignoring past work on nuclear weapons development and not demanding snap inspections of suspected Iranian nuclear installations and military bases).

Israelis are rightly worried that our blood brothers the Druze in Israel should not see their kith and kin wiped out in an islamist genocide next door in Syria.

Some normally level headed researchers such as Mordechai Kedar have however demanded that Israel drop its neutrality vis-a-vis Syria and actively intervene to establish a new order in that country along Israel's border a policy that although undoubtedly well intentioned is fraught with danger.

Two years ago before the recent crisis I saw the need for Israel to become more involved in helping the Druze take the future into their own hands.

This does not mean however that Israel should simply march into Syria and carve out the Druze homeland for them as Mr Kedar seems to be implying.

Israel must, and I repeat, must, do everything and even beyond everything, to help the Druze minority in Syria survive as it faces the Islamist forces who intend to destroy it. ”
Israel must learn the lessons of its history, not least of its having been sucked into Lebanon in 1982 by Christians who promised an alliance and armed help to Israel in ending the reign of terror by the PLO in that country. Israel was however betrayed by the phalangists who after pulling Israel in let Israel do their dirty work, and the dying. The only time the phalangists emerged out of the woodwork was to commit a revenge massacre in Sabra and Shatila, and then let Israel take the world's opprobrium.

Just as the Christians of Lebanon were no friends to Israel, and had no strategic sense in betraying the one democracy that would ensure their own survival, the Druze of Syria are not friends of Israel, but rather bitter enemies. Druze in Syria have loyally staffed the Assad regime's army and committed or attempted to commit terror atrocities against Israel even as late as this present  year 2015.

We must remember that Samir Kuntar the heinous child murderer who first killed a 3 year old girl's parents in front of her and then bashed her head on a rock is a druze. Now a senior Hezbollah official he is a welcome guest amongst the Syrian Druze and has recently been active organizing Hezbollah's second front against Israel on the Golan Heights. Kuntar's fingerprints are believed to also bee all over the Druze ambulance attack in Israel.

Early this year Israel managed to eliminate a Druze terror squad attempting to lay an ambush for IDF soldiers along Israel's Golan border.

The writing might be on the wall for Syrian Druze but this tight knit community has as yet not been reading the script. The Syrian Druze are still very much in the pocket of Assad and whether or not they are ready to change is a moot point.

Assad is desperate for Israel to become involved in his conflict to act as a lighting rod for his regime. Once Israel were to invade the jihadist groups would unite and attack the IDF giving Assad a much needed reprieve.

And this is very probably the reason for the Druze attack on an Israeli ambulance in which an injured Syrian rebel being transferred for treatment in an Israeli hospital was murdered. This attack was made not so much by irate Druze on rebels who had just committed a massacre of their people, but as a Syrian-Iranian operation to  undermine the Israeli-Druze alliance and enmesh Israel in the Syrian quagmire.

Those rebel injured that Israel treats in its hospitals are indeed the coin Israel pays for keeping the al-Nusra knives off the Druze throats.

Druze murdering rebels being treated in Israel would be a sure way for organized rebel attacks on Druze villages to begin. Despite some sporadic forced conversions to islam and a massacre (that al Nusrah apologized for) the Druze are not yet in imminent danger.

Assad is not interested in the welfare of the Druze but in harming Israel and in his Alawite Shia survival which is becoming questionable in light of the continuing collapse of the Syrian army and the never ending cost in SAA, Hezbollah and IRGC lives. Iran has lost two generals this year in Syria, one of them held the highest army rank, and the Syrian army is believed to have all but disintegrated. Iran and Hezbollah have had to pick up the slack and are dying in the process.

By maintaining its neutrality in the Syrian conflict whilst enforcing its red lines, Israel has so far managed to keep the Golan border quiet and the Syrian Druze safe.

We don't know how long this will continue but when the Syrian Druze finally realize that they have no future allied to Assad, then will be the time for Israel to act in helping the Druze establish a redoubt along Israel's border and establish a militia along the lines of the former South Lebanon Army.

The quid pro quo would be for Druze of the former Syria to renounce their former ties and ally themselves with Israel by joining the blood covenant of their brother Druze in israel. This will be a major psychological hurdle to overcome, and Israel should not intervene further to help Syrian Druze until this happens.
The time for this not yet come. Druze are still loyal to Assad.

The biggest sign that the Netanyahu government is following a judicious policy is that Israel's Druze community refuses to be drawn into Assad's plan, does not ask for any Israeli intervention in Syria on behalf of their bretheren. The Israeli Druze leaders are fully supportive of the present government policy.

“The leader of the Druze community in Israel, Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, strongly denounced the attack.
“Of course we condemned everything that happened. Our tradition and religion are against harming an injured person or an ambulance. This is not our way, not our education… and we hope you will continue to lead this whole affair wisely. We are at your service,” Tarif said.”
“Ayoub Kara, deputy minister of regional development and a Druze, said all Israelis identify with the concerns over the danger faced by Druze in Syria, but there was no excuse for attacking the ambulance.

“To my regret, we as Druze lost Israel’s sympathy because of this grave and unnecessary attack, which has no place in a country ruled by the law,” Kara said.”
Israel is proceeding wisely in for the present must maintaining its hands off policy in Syria and not allowing Assad and his Iranian backers to have Israel save them from the plight they are now facing.

The loyal Druze of Israel refuse to be used as tools by Assad and Syrian Druze for their nefarious ends.
Nonetheless Israel will continue to protect the Syrian Druze even as it is fully cognizant of their continuing attempts to harm the Jewish State.

Netanyahu is no fool and refuses to be drawn into the Syrian quagmire in order to save Assad's neck. That is what Iran is there for and it will be to Iran and its catspaw Hezbollah that the Alawites need to look for help.

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