US, Israel Differ on Post-Assad Syria
While Syria was busy denouncing the Mehlis Commission’s investigation, demanding a new probe, and Lebanon was asking for a six-month extension to the probe, the United States and Israel sat down to compare notes on what a post-Assad Syria might look like. They differed widely.
In a strategic dialogue held last week in Washington between the two countries, Israeli representatives warned that a future regime in Syria, should Assad lose power, might be just as problematic as the old one.
The United States viewed a future Syria after Assad’s fall to be similar to that of Lebanon, which has embraced and fostered democracy. This contention was supported by the view that there is already a sizable democratic opposition within Syria.
Israel offered three scenarios that they saw as more likely to happen than anything the Americans have envisioned.
1. Syria will descend into a chaotic state of civil war.While there are opposition organizations in Syria seeking to unseat Assad, as the American position states, it should be noted that the strongest among them is the Muslim Brotherhood. al-Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri joined the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt at the age of 15, eventually moving to the even more radical Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which he merged with al-Qaeda in 1998. The Muslim Brotherhood is gaining ground in Egypt through recent elections marred by violence.
2. Assad will merely be succeeded by another authoritarian hardliner Alawite.3. Syria will be ruled by a radical Islamist regime.