The tale of two Souths: Southern Lebanon and Southern Syria

By Naram Sargon

The Israelis are trying now to say: “forgive us for the mistake we have committed when we obliterated the ceasefire line (disengagement line) and gave it to terrorist groups to fight you with them. The entire story was a mere “joke”. So let us get back to the old days ! As simple as that, the Israeliswant  to reinstitute the UN wall separating us from them as it has been before the war broke out. They want Hizbollahto go back to Lebanon and Iran to draw back beyond Iraq, as if no harm has been done at all.

It was the Israelis, not the Syrians, who tore down the UN Disengagement agreement that endured  since 1974.

It was the Israelis who sponsored and catered for the armed groups, which used to accuse us of being ‘reluctant’ to open fire on Israel.

Israel was Okay  with such insinuations being levelled against us. It found no harm in letting them accuse us of having never fired a single shot at Israel, who was the only beneficiary of the no-war, no-peace status in the Golan Heights. As long as smearing would fuel the Islamists insurgents, it was perfectly well for Israelis.

Today, the situation has changed. The Syrian Arab Army is back. It started to flush out the terrorist groups from southern Syria. So, Israel found itself face to face with the Syrian Arab Army with no disengagement agreement and with no UN peace-keepers. The wall, it was hiding behind has tumbled down and the Israelis found themselves face to face with the storm.

Israel  found itself at a critical juncture that invoked all sorts of nightmares that no Israeli brain can fathom: A Syrian Army with no restrictions. A Hizbollah with accumulated experience and an Iran with an ambition to demolish the Israeli arrogance.

Israel tried to do in southern Syria what it has done in southern Lebanon before. It is the same kind of adventure,  same ambitious and (rather successful) beginnings and most probably would meet the  same fateful doomed  ending.

The Israelis invaded southern Lebanon (in 1978) for two objectives: To get rid of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) factions and to fasten Lebanon to the Camp David fold. Back then, they took advantage of the dissent harbored by the local populace who were resenting the bad-mannered behavior of some Palestinian factions. Israeli soldiers were sometimes greeted with rice and flowers because they were seen as “saviors” from the rash and reckless behavior exercised by some Palestinian factions.

The well-known Lebanese poet Said Aqel went as far as  praising the Zionist invaders. He hailed Begin (the then Israeli Prime Minister) as a “hero”.

The Israelis were intoxicated with the short-lived “achievement”. Euphoric as they had been, they immediately started to implement on the ground their ill-intent plans to arrogate a good swathe of southern Lebanon and to usurp its water resources.But what happened  soon afterwards was beyond the imagination of any Israeli Satan.

The Genie of the National Lebanese Resistance emerged from the bottle, rallying within its fold a cross-spectrum political and religious  forces. The Lebanese HizbollahParty  joined the ranks of this resistance and waged the fiercest ever warfare Israel has ever experienced. They continued to chase down the Israeli invaders until the day of Liberation in May, 2000. They stopped only at the borders of occupied Palestine.

The Israeli “game” in Syria destroyed a  considerablepart of Syria, as planned by the Israelis. But the outcome was totally unlike their expectations. Unlike their predictions, the Syrian Army has not been fragmented nor divided.

To the contrary it is now battle-hardened with more experience in  all patterns of warfare. Syrian soldiers, even the lowest of rank, are now Generals-like in terms of experience as to how they might win fiercest  battles. Hizbollah is now stronger, better armed and much closer to the Golan. Besides the supportive Iranian presence, there is a Russian presence with some vague intentions. No one knows if, when or to what extent Russia might get involved in any potential Syrian battle. True that the Russians would not push for a war nor would they favor any attack against Israel, but it would be extremely difficult for any observer to foretell  how long the Russians would keep standing still and doing nothing if Israel attacked Syria directly and a war broke  out.

The Israelis know very well that the Syrian Army was being gradually equipped over the past two years with modern and sophisticated Russian weaponry. Hence, the Israelis are at loss as to what they might do. They neither want the UN forces to be withdrawn from the disengagement line nor could they re-enforce the old disengagement treaty.

They are also unable to wage a war against Syria and its allies. The Israelis would most probably wish they had never  got involved in all of this and would surely wish  the clock  be set back to pre-2011. They would love to see time stand still at 2010, because they expected  everything other than this catastrophic  outcome.

The Israelis almost hardly leave Moscow. They pay one visit after the other to Moscow with one objective in their minds. They want Russia to pressure Syria into reactivating the disengagement agreement.

According to some western views, the Russians might indeed try to be somehow friendly with the Israelis, but most probably they share the viewpoint of Syria that

the Israelis and their allies should be taught a lesson to learn that playing with red lines has a very big and heavy price to be paid.

The Syrians and the Russians agree on one key thing: Israeli should not get what it wants because it was the one behind all of this, so it should harvest what it has sowed and it should pay the price for its own bad deeds. The Israelis now are  totally preoccupied with one key worry. At their meetings, they try to figure out what price tag is going to be tabled.

The Syrians are in no way obliged to accept the Israeli “offers” nor their threats. True that some allusions were made at some high-ranking levels that Syria might accept the restoration of the situation to pre-war status, but these allusions are not the whole thing. There are certain conditions to be met first.

Israel has demolished the very roof under which it has been hiding for years now. The north, which has been planned to be the strongest position for Israel, is  now the most fragile and most vulnerable. It is now an ‘Islamic Bar Lev’ line ( a reference to the chain of fortifications  Israel had built along the Suez Canal Front ahead of the 1973 war).

The ball of snow is rolling.  Neither Netanyahu nor his army  can now stop it. What has happened should be a lesson for everyone to learn. Just as one of his allies in northern Syria was learning own lesson. The Turkish ruler thought that he has managed to overthrow Damascus, only to find out that northern Syria threatens Turkey itself of  falling down. So, he urgently called for the game to be stopped and demanded a return to the Adana agreement, according to which either of the two parties of the agreement would chase down the terrorist organizations threatening either one of them.

Netanyahu should figure out how to bite own fingers in repentance. May be he should cut them out by own teeth because they played with fire and brought about these bad consequences. His enemies have managed to reverse his project and turn it to their own advantage. All of these are mere projects, the beginnings of which are unlike their ends. Their closing stages are worse than the worst. The stories of South Lebanon might be a good lesson to learn.

Today,  it is the turn of the Syrian south. So learn the lesson, you Ashkenazi and Sephardim!

Translated into English by Syrianfacts

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