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