[Marxism] Israel, US invoke 'Islamist terrorism' fears as a pretext for retaining Assad: Palestinian analysts

mkaradjis . mkaradjis at gmail.com
Tue Jan 14 15:03:05 MST 2014

Israel, US invoke 'Islamist terrorism' fears as a pretext for retaining
Assad: Palestinian analysts

14-01-2014: Palestinian analysts have dismissed a new study by Israeli
academics which cites growing concern among Israeli leaders in Tel A...viv
over the Syrian revolution, especially the influence of 'jihadi' groups and
the implications of the increasing strength of Al Qaeda, along with claims
of a heightened risk to the occupied Golan, stating that the Israeli
government and Washington are falsely invoking 'Islamist terrorism' in
support of the Assad regime to ensure Israel's own continued security.

The study, prepared by the researchers Aviv Oreg and Yoram Schweitzer of
Tel Aviv University's 'Institute for National Security Studies' (INSS)
states that "the footprint of jihadist movements could be seen in Islamist
military operations against Israeli targets if Al Qaeda succeeds in gaining
control and enhancing its strength in the Golan Heights area of Syria."

The study, entitled 'The Global Jihad Movement: An Ideology of Religious
and Historical Developments and of Threats to Israel and the Jews,' which
was reviewed by Israel paper Haaretz amongst other media, envisions a
"decade of terror" following the introduction of a new military strategy by
Al Qaeda which the report claims would enable the group to restructure its
ranks and strengthen its forces, despite the killing of many of its senior
officials and its leader, Osama Bin Laden. Al Qaeda is taking advantage of
the changes in Arab nations following the Arab Spring, and "has succeeded
in transferring its activities to the countries of the Middle East,
especially Syria and Egypt," the report stated.

Israel depends on smearing Syrian revolution

Dr. Mohannad Mustafa, an Assistant Professor in Political Sciences at
Ramallah University and senior researcher from the Palestinian Centre for
Israel Studies, was sceptical of the report, saying, "Israel depends on
smearing the revolutions, especially in Syria, by dressing its security
worries in concerns about Al Qaeda and alleged jihadist and Islamist
movements in an effort to avert political damage that might ensue from the

The senior researcher said that the report is consistent with the Israeli
government's own misrepresentation of events in the countries affected by
the Arab Spring and its misrepresentation of the Syrian revolution as
"terrorism," explaining that this has been a consistent feature of the
prevailing public discourse among the international community, which uses
this assertion to justify its claims that both parties (the regime and the
opposition) are evil. Dr, Mustafa pointed out that the timing of the
report's release coincides with the preparations for the 'Geneva II'
conference, where the world leaders are seeking a political settlement by
drawing parallels between the tyrannical regime of Bashar al Assad and his
opponents and victims in the opposition forces."

Dr. Mustafa told Al Jazeera that Israel deals with the transformations
taking place in the Arab world "from the narrow perspective of its own
security, without considering the strategic dimensions and dynamic events
in the Arab Spring nations and the possibility of establishing democratic
systems, a strong national identity and a sense of nationhood."

Due to these perceptions, the academic explained, Israel relies on a
misrepresentation of the revolutions - especially the one in Syria - as
being primarily about fears for its own security from Al Qaeda and
nominally jihadist and Islamist movements "in an effort to avert the
political damage that the revolutions could cause for it."

Israel exploiting public fears to oppose Arab Spring

The researcher said that Israel is exploiting the temporary presence of Al
Qaeda in Syria to highlight "what it considers the drawbacks of the changes
taking place in the Arab Spring nations and the unimaginable strategic
dangers of promoting international solidarity with the Arab Spring, which
acts against Israel's interests lead to further international isolation
since whoever takes over from Assad "will take over the reins of power to
destroy Israel's strategic influence in Syria," reducing its regional

Eyal Zissar, Senior Research Fellow and former Director of the Moshe Dayan
Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, said that while the presence
of Al Qaeda and 'Jihadist' parties in Syria is "a headache and a constant
concern for Israel," the Islamist groups involved in fighting in Syria
don't constitute any strategic threat to Tel Aviv. He dismissed the claims
in the new INSS report which stated that the aforementioned organisations
are "ready and able to carry out military operations against Israel."

Zissar told Al Jazeera that since the beginning of the Syrian revolution
the leadership in Tel Aviv has favored the survival of the Assad regime,
which has ensured decades of calm and stability on the border with the
Israeli-occupied Golan, so it is actively seeking ways to avoid any
involvement in battles taking place in Syria. He added that the activities
of 'Jihadist' and Islamist groups in Syria and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt
do not pose any serious threat to Israel, with these groups' attacks
limited to launching mortars and rockets.

US-Israeli consensus on supporting Assad

Another senior academic, Salman Fakhr al-Din, the director of Al-Marsad
Arab Centre for Human Rights , called the INSS report an indication of "the
American-Israeli consensus to support the Assad regime as being a
comfortable and mutually beneficial arrangement."

The promotion of the idea that Al Qaeda and Islamists are a strategic risk
is a "false flag, a propaganda manoeuvre by those who didn't hesitate to
support the victory of the Islamic State Iraq and the Levant and Al Nusra
Front over the opposition forces and the Free Syrian Army," said the
prominent Palestinian academic.

Fakhr al-Din dismissed the INSS report's warnings of the supposed dangers
posed by Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups in the occupied Golan, telling
Al Jazeera that this is consistent with Israel's "misdirection of public
perceptions to suggest that anyone who opposes the Assad regime is
supportive of the Islamist groups, a falsehood fabricated by the Assad
regime with the objective of gaining support from the international
community and the United States to maintain his rule and prevent the
regime's collapse."

From: Al Jazeera Arabic
Original Arabic:

Translated by the excellent Radio Free Syria:

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