Monday, April 2, 2012

Assad's fall = Good for Israel? Hmmm . . . .

Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, predicts the demise of Assad in Syria, but cites the need to manage the aftermath carefully.  His most important desideratum?  That Iran's ties to Syria be severed.  Predictable enough.  Most Israelis would see an elimination of Iranian influence in Syria as a victory for Israel - and justifiably so.

But might this be short-sighted?  As Syria's zero-sum politics now seem to stand, Bashar's demise will produce a backlash against the Shi'a-derived Alawis who have dominated the Assad regime since 1970, and an ascendancy of Sunni Arabs,  many of them allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.  The Muslim Brotherhood is on the rise in Egypt, where their representatives have made it clear that they will have very little truck with Israel.  Although Bashar (and his father before him) made a big show of their role leading the resistance against Israel, in point of fact the Assads tended to be reasonably accommodating with the Israeli leadership whenever it served the interests of regime survival.

Odds are that a predominantly Sunni conservative regime in Syria - one with close ties to, or even dominated by, the Muslim Brotherhood - may turn its back on Iran, but by no means can it be assumed that they automatically will bring a happy result for Israel.  To quote an old dictum: Be careful of what you wish for, or you will surely get it.

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