Expediency in Syria

What is the best outcome for Israel in Syria?  When I was young and liberal I would have said that for humanity in general it is best if Pres. Assad, the butcher of Syria, was removed from power and let the Syrian people choose.  But, now being older and wiser and knowing that humanism actually plays a very small role in political reality, I realize that for Israel the best outcome is if the war in Syria continues and that Pres. Assad survives for as long as possible.  The same was true of the former Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 that was a let-off for Israel.  Also, the current war in Syria has destroyed the effectiveness of one of the most virulent enemies of Israel.  There is now no combination of Arab States that can challenge Israel militarily.

Only non-Arab Iran is a potential existential threat with its development of nuclear weapons and missiles. Israel cannot allow any Iranian military facilities to be established on the Golan Heights of Syria adjacent to Israel’s border.  Press. Trump and Putin know this, they have been informed by PM Bibi Netanyahu and no doubt will understand if Israel needs to strike there to prevent that happening.  Sometimes the devil you know (Assad) is better than the devil you don’t know (Iran or IS).

Meanwhile the US under Pres. Trump is upping the ante by providing more arms and support for the Sunni Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Kurdish YPG forces, that are the most effective in fighting IS.  They are rapidly closing in on Raqqa and will probably be the future occupiers of a large swathe of Syria.  This is bad news for the Sunni Muslims who hope to replace the pro-Shia Assad Alawite regime, as well as for Turkey that vehemently opposes any Kurdish advances.  This policy put the US at odds with Erdogan’s Turkey and could result in a rift with them in due course.  It makes no sense that Turkey is fighting Assad and at the same time fighting the Kurds who are the most effective enemy of Assad and IS.

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