Do rebels have what it takes to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s government? Why hasn’t the United Nations or the European Union taken action to stop an ongoing massacre in Syria that has thus far claimed more than 40,000 victims? Why does Iran support Syria? How do the events currently unfolding across the border affect Israel?Five research fellows from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) provided a synopsis of the competing interests at play in Syria in interviews with Israel Hayom.Lt. Col. (res.) Michael Segall, another veteran of Israel’s intelligence apparatus who is also a research fellow at JCPA, explains why the Iranians are so eager to come to Assad’s aid. “From Iran’s standpoint, Syria is perceived as an important element in its rejectionist front against the West in general, and Israel in particular,” he said. “The Iranians refer to Syria as ‘the golden link,’ because for years Syria has played host to terrorist organization and it has allowed the free flow of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”According to Segall, Iran is opposed to the widely held view that the events in Syria are an outgrowth of the Arab Spring. Instead, Tehran believes the anti-Assad uprising is the latest effort to thwart the resistance movement against the West, which Iran views as “the Great Satan,” and against Israel, or “the little Satan.”“The Iranians are operating out in the open,” he said How will this impact Israel?Neriah said that the ruler who succeeds Assad or the organizations that take over the country “will initially be preoccupied with rebuilding the country and will thus drop the Golan Heights issue from the agenda.”“To the same extent, however, they may need to find an issue that offers them a goal that they could all unite around, and conflict with Israel certainly fills this need,” Neriah said.
This story first appeared in Israel Hayom and is distributed with the permission of that newspaper.