[Marxism] Ex-IDF chief: Israel prefers that Assad stay in power

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 16:31:33 MST 2013

Ex-IDF chief: Israel prefers that Assad stay in power
Dan Halutz also skeptical about the prospects of a peace agreement with 
the Palestinians in the near future
By Spencer Ho December 11, 2013


Israel would prefer that Bashar Assad hold onto the presidency in Syria, 
rather than leave a power vacuum that could be filled by Islamic 
radicals, according to former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz.

"The regime in Syria kills its citizens every day, but we must 
acknowledge that the opposition in Syria is composed of Muslim 
extremists like al-Qaeda," he said at a fundraising event for Israel's 
Tel Hashomer hospital in Moscow on Monday, according to the daily 
Maariv. "The question 'what is better for Israel?' is an important 
question because we must ask ourselves if we want to trade the bad 
regime we know for the very bad regime that we don't know, and this is 
something that requires serious consideration."

"At the moment it looks like even in the rest of the world, they 
understand that they cannot replace the Assad regime as long as they don't 
know who will take its place," he added. "Right now it looks like the 
alternative is forces that will endanger the stability of the region.

Officials and analysts have gone back and forth since the Syrian civil 
war began in March 2011 as to whether Israel prefers that Assad stay in 
power or that the rebels topple his regime. Much like Halutz, those who 
say Israel prefers Assad point out that while the despot has by no means 
been a friend to Israel, and his strong ties with Iran and Hezbollah are 
worrisome, there has not been a major altercation with Syria since the 
1973 Yom Kippur War.

Meanwhile, many feared that anarchy would ensue if Assad were to fall, 
and Muslim extremist groups such as al-Qaeda would be free to flourish 
and even rule the country, which would have left them in control of 
Syria's considerable chemical weapons stockpile.

However, since September, when it was revealed that Assad had used such 
weapons against civilians in his fight against the rebels, and the 
Syrian leader was forced to relinquish his chemical weapons program to 
avoid US military intervention, most have backed off from speculation as 
to whom Israel prefers will come out on top.

Halutz, who served as IDF chief of staff from 2005 to 2007, also 
expressed skepticism on the prospects of a peace agreement with the 
Palestinians in the near future.

"There is only one thing that is central for us," he said. "To ensure 
the future of the State of Israel. Regarding this, security arrangements 
are the most important thing to the Israel government. On everything 
else, we can compromise, but not on the security of Israel.

"I'm not optimistic on the possibility of coming to an agreement because 
I have a bit of experience with the Palestinians."

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