Monday, May 16, 2011

Spark, meet powderkeg

On Sunday, protests at the Israeli borders with Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza turned violent when Syrian nationals broke down a border fence and took the demonstration into Israel itself.  Faced with a mob of Syrian citizens violently entering their country, Israeli soldiers opened fire, killing and wounding several.

The Syrian Assad regime has been beset with demonstrations in its cities over the past few weeks, and has been criticized in the international press for their harsh repression of its citizens who take their grievances to the streets.  My gut tells me that it's no coincidence that the demonstration against Israel that actually turned deadly happened where Israel meets Syria.  One of the better ways to distract your population from problems at home is to either create or re-ignite a foreign conflict, especially one with long-standing grievances.  The Syrians have been smarting over the loss of the Golan for a generation, and it probably wouldn't be hard to get a population that's already in the mood for a fight to take a poke at Israel.

With President Obama pretty much prostrating himself before the Muslim world, Israel knows it stands alone when the countries around it decide to have another go at pushing them into the sea.  Even the long peace between it and Egypt has been jeopardized by the removal of the Mubarak regime.

I expect that Syria will play this incident up with its subjects and neighbors, and will be appealing to its masters patrons in Tehran to aid it in attacking Israel soon.  Assad knows that if he doesn't change something soon, he will go the way of Mubarak. Since the Syrian army and security forces have crossed the line of shooting people in the streets, the reaction from said people when they gain power will be to put everyone connected to the government against a blood-stained wall.  He will use this incident to incite a conflict against Israel in order to maintain and consolidate his power at home.

Oh, and by the way, May and June are the end of the spring campaigning season in that part of the world.  If I was Netanyahu, I'd be quietly getting my reserves ready and finding out just who on the world stage will be in his corner when the Arabs come out swinging.

1 comment:

bluesun said...

Maybe this End of the World on May 21 has something to it after all...

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