|Aftermath of Sunday's air raid in Damascus|
"Who are you with: Israel or Assad?"
I asked myself the same question while hearing yesterday’s depressing evening news.
I confess robotically answering in my mind: Israel.
One person agreeing with me today is Saudi Arabia’s most eminent journalist, Abdurrahman al-Rashed, who heads Alarabiya TV news channel.
In fact, the title for my post is a translation of his daily column’s headline in the leading Saudi daily Asharq Alawsat.
Israel or Assad?
I am sure the question popped up in many people’s minds after hearing news of yesterday’s Israeli airstrikes in Syria.
The Israeli warplanes struck several critical military facilities near Damascus and killed dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace, a high-ranking Syrian military official told the New York Times today, Monday.
A doctor at the Syrian military’s Tishreen Hospital said there were at least 100 dead soldiers and many dozens more wounded, the Times reported.
A Western intelligence source told Reuters Sunday’s attack, like the one 48 hours earlier, was directed against stores of Fateh-110 missiles in transit from Iran to Hezbollah.
People were woken in the Syrian capital by explosions that shook the ground like an earthquake and sent pillars of flames high into the night sky.
Syrian state television said bombing at a military research facility at Jamraya and two other sites caused "many civilian casualties and widespread damage," but it gave no details.
So here is Rashed’s cutting rejoinder this morning as appears in Arabic in Asharq Alawsat:
Who are you with, Israel or Assad?
You don’t need to support either.
When Israel attacks the Syrian regime, she is defending her security and interests.
Ditto for us when we rejoice at Israel attacking Assad forces and arsenals, because that would hasten the regime’s fall and deprive it of weapons to kill extra thousands of Syrians.
Only Iran loyalists are protesting and condemning the Israeli air raids because they fear for Tehran’s allies, namely Hezbollah and Assad.
It is not true that their protests are motivated by their hostility to Israel.
Two years of massacres, which left tens of thousands of unarmed Syrians dead, exposed the biggest lie in the history of this (pan-Arab) nation – the ploy of “resistance and objection” that were never meant to challenge Israel or defend Palestine.
Few people were aware of this fact and all the rest were simply misled.
Hezbollah and its operations against Israel had nothing to do with either protecting Lebanon or defending Palestine.
Hezbollah is nothing other than an Iranian battalion planted for more than 30 years to serve the objectives of the ayatollahs’ regime in Tehran.
The Iranians, Assad the father and Assad the son sought to hijack the Palestine cause to rule Syria, occupy Lebanon and serve Iranian interests. Pitching in were such groups as Abu Nidal’s, Ahmad Jibril’s PFLP-General Command and other “boutiques” trading in so-called struggle.
They shared a common cause: to assassinate Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chieftains when the late President Yasser Arafat led it.
By emulating Iran and condemning the Israeli airstrikes against Assad forces, the administration of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was – for all intents and purposes – backing Assad without denouncing Israel.
The Morsi government could have been excused for standing by Iran, which is on Assad’s side, if it were an active promoter of the Free Syrian Army.
But the Morsi administration’s avowed position so far is pro Iran and Russia, both blatant Assad supporters.
The Morsi government went further. It joined Moscow and Tehran in calling for a political solution on the sole premise of national reconciliation between the Assad regime and the opposition.
Other than being shameful, the proposal is nonviable, coming after two years of mass killings and destruction by Assad forces and shabiha.
Notwithstanding the Egypt-Iran censure, what is certain is that the Syrian people were happy to see the strikes against Assad’s bunkers, forces and weapons, irrespective of Israel’s motives and targets.
The Syrians would have felt even happier had Turkey retaliated in kind to the violation of its territory and airspace by Assad forces, instead of sufficing with a barrage of wordy denunciations.
Syrians have had their fill of oratory declarations, which provoke them more than give them hope.
They are unmindful of regional political considerations and of whether Israelis, Westerners or Arabs launched the airstrikes on Assad.
More important for them is the demolition of the killing machine being flagrantly fed by the Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah.