World View: Israel Makes Deal with Russia as Syria’s al-Assad Makes Anti-U.S. Rant

Russian support gave Assad half of Syria: study

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Syria’s al-Assad makes delusional threats to U.S. military
  • Israel and Russia reach agreement to keep Iran out of Syria’s south

Syria’s al-Assad makes delusional threats to U.S. military

 Israeli Merkava Mark IV tanks take positions near the Syrian border in the Golan Heights on May 10, 2018. (AFP)
Israeli Merkava Mark IV tanks take positions near the Syrian border in the Golan Heights on May 10, 2018. (AFP)

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad on Thursday threatened to expel American forces from Syria:

This is the first option. If not, we’re going to resort to liberating those areas by force. We don’t have any other options, with the Americans or without the Americans.

This is our land, it’s our right, and it’s our duty to liberate it. The Americans should leave, somehow they’re going to leave. They came to Iraq with no legal basis, and look what happened to them. They have to learn the lesson. Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore.

American forces in Syria are supporting the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in Syria’s eastern province Deir az-Zour against the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

There are actually several reasons why American forces have a legal basis to be in Syria.

First, the U.S. has the right to fight ISIS, which is a terrorist army within Syria’s borders. ISIS has been using Syria as a launching pad for terrorist acts against targets in Europe, America, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, among others. ISIS has to be controlled, and al-Assad has an obligation to control it but has been unwilling or unable to do so.

U.S.-backed SDF forces have already defeated ISIS in their stronghold Raqqa, but ISIS is still a formidable fighting force in Deir az-Zour. Even today, many people believe that ISIS would have a resurgence in Syria if American forces simply withdrew, and al-Assad wants.

A second major reason that justified American and other foreign forces in Syria is that al-Assad has driven millions of refugees into neighboring countries, destabilizing the entire region. Because of al-Assad’s genocidal attacks on innocent civilians, there are five million that have fled to other countries, with 3.5 million in Turkey, almost one million in Lebanon, another million in Iraq and Jordan, and over a million in Europe.

Syria has an obligation to control its own population and, when it cannot, affected nations have a right to respond.

A third reason, related to the last one, as we reported a few days ago, is that Syria has now enacted “Decree #10” which makes it impossible for refugees to return to their homes, even after the war ends, thus making their expulsion from Syria permanent.

This is the same kind of genocide and ethnic cleansing that is being performed by the government of Burma (Myanmar) against the Rohingya Muslims. Starting in 2013, Burma’s Buddhist army has conducted genocide and ethnic cleansing, massacring, torturing, raping and mutilating thousands of Rohingyas. Burma’s army has driven over 600,000 Rohingyas into neighboring Bangladesh, not only killing, raping and mutilating them, burning down their homes and villages. Furthermore, Burma is continuing the slaughter in order to prevent the community of Rohingyas from returning to their homes in Burma, thus completing the ethnic cleansing.

Al-Assad is doing exactly the same thing with “Decree #10,” making it impossible for most Sunni Muslims to return to their homes. This means that the refugees will not be permitted to return home from Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, and other European countries. Al-Assad has an obligation to provide homes for his own people, and there’s no reason why all these other countries should be forced to tolerate his ethnic cleansing.

There is a third reason why U.S. forces are justified in Syria: They have been invited into Syria after all. Under the ceasefire “Astana agreement” worked out last year by Turkey, Iran, and Russia, and approved by Syria, the U.S. is responsible for maintaining the ceasefire in some of the de-confliction zones defined by the Astana agreement. So the U.S. military has, in fact, been invited into Syria, albeit for a limited reason.

In addition to being the worst genocidal monster so far this century, al-Assad has been repeatedly delusional about the war in Syria that he created. Possibly the most spectacular example occurred in 2016, when al-Assad was using missiles, barrel bombs, chlorine gas, and other weapons on innocent women and children in markets, schools and hospitals, he bragged that the ‘liberation’ of Aleppo would be a ‘historic event’ that will end the war in Syria and be remembered long into the future.

Al-Assad has promised to regain control of all of Syria, but after the “easy” battles in Aleppo and Ghouta, his final victory is nowhere in sight, and he may not even succeed in the battles of Daraa in the south and Idlib in the north. The Hill and Washington Times and Russia Today and Independent (London)

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Israel and Russia reach agreement to keep Iran out of Syria’s south

According to reports from Saudi and Israeli media, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met in Moscow with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, while President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Syria on the phone.

The reports indicate that they reached an agreement that Russia would prevent Iranian and Hezbollah forces from occupying a 40 km buffer zone in southern Syria along Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

Furthermore, Russia gave Israel the “green light” to attack Iranian targets a green light to launch military operations against any threatening target, except positions of the forces of the Syrian regime itself.

Israel has been concerned that Iran and Hezbollah could build up troops and weapons in Syria along the border with the Golan Heights, and launch attacks on Israel from there. Israeli officials have repeatedly expressed concern to the Russians that an Iranian buildup on the border could lead to a war between Israel and Iran, something that Russia does not want. This security issue is apparently the main argument that Israel used to convince Russia to keep the Iranians out of the buffer zone.

However, the agreement is far less than Israel actually wants, which is the forced withdrawal of all Iranian troops and weapons from Syria. In the last few years, Israel has conducted repeated airstrikes on Iranian targets, apparently with the blessing of the Russians, who control the airspace over Syria.

However, a report from Debka, says that there is no agreement between Russia and Israel at all. Debka’s reports are written from Israel’s point of view, based on military and intelligence sources that provide valuable insights. However, as usual, I have to warn readers that they definitely do get some things wrong.

According to the latest Debka report:

Contrary to widespread reports, Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces were moving into southern Syria on Friday, June 1 opposite the Jordanian and Israeli (Golan) borders.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources stress once against that no agreement exists between Russia and Israel, or Russia and Iran and Syria for Iranian and Hizballah forces to exit southern Syria. It stands to reason that Tehran will never accept a deal to remove its military personnel from the south while Israel is left free to carry on striking Iranian military targets in other parts of Syria. Reports of deals are being pumped out from Russian sources alone.

Prior to the announcement of the Israeli-Russian agreement, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called on all non-Syrian forces to withdraw from Syria’s southern border, as soon as possible. This would include Iranian and Hezbollah forces. Asharq Al-Awsat (Saudi Arabia) and Jerusalem Post and Bloomberg and Debka (Israel) and Jerusalem Post

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Israel, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Decree #10, Burma, Myanmar, Rohingyas, Bangladesh, Astana, Kazakhstan, Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa, Idlib, Deir az-Zour, Iran, Hezbollah, Golan Heights, Sergei Lavrov
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