Israel’s Plan for Syria



Israel retains its ability to control the Syrian ‘Islamist’ rebels. Netanyahu is not worried about Syria’s possible disintegration. Despite the received wisdom claiming that Israelis prefer a stable and familiar Assad to the great unknown of Islamic guerrillas, the new and sensational information we received points out to the opposite, namely: Israelis prefer the Somalisation of Syria, its break-up and the elimination of its army, as this will allow them to tackle Iran unopposed.

This is implied in a secret file recently leaked by a person(s) apparently close to the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. It contains a record of conversations between Bibi Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the latter’s recent visit to Israel. Israelis seem to have no doubts about its authenticity. Counterpunch received the original file, and here are the highlights of this conversation (in our translation from Hebrew):

  • Netanyahu asked Putin to facilitate Bashar Assad’s departure. “You can appoint his successor, and we shall not object , said the Israeli Prime Minister. “There is one condition – the successor must break with Iran».
  • Putin responded: we have no candidate for Bashar’s successor. Do you?
  • No, we don’t, replied Netanyahu, but we shall tell you our preference soon.

Apparently, Israel can influence the rebels, inasmuch as it can bear on them to accept a successor acceptable to Tel Aviv. This means that the rebels’ chain of command goes beyond unruly field commanders, beyond Qatar and Saudi Arabia, beyond Paris and Washington, all the way to Israel. It is well known that the rebels seekfriendship with Israel, but nobody thought that Israel was able to control them to such an extent.

It stands to reason that Netanyahu had received a green light from Washington to make such an offer. This means that the US and Israel do not mind that Syria will remain in the Russian sphere of influence, so long as it cuts its ties with Iran. And this points to Israel as being the moving force behind the rebels, for otherwise, such an arrangement would be unacceptable for the Americans.

However, it is possible that Netanyahu’s offer was just a ploy to discover Russian intentions. Anyway Putin thought so, and answered in a similar vein:

  • “We are not beholden to Assad,” said Putin. “Before the rebellion, he was a frequent visitor in Paris rather than in Moscow. We have no secret agenda regarding Syria. I asked President Obama, what are the US intentions in Syria; why do Americans reject Assad. Is it because of his inability to come to terms with Israel? Or because of his ties with Iran? Because of his position on Lebanon? I received no serious answer. Our reason, said Obama, is Assad’s violent repression of the Syrian people. I replied that violence is caused by Qatar and Saudi interference.”

One understands that Putin is befogged: if he has been offered keeping Syria in the Russian sphere, why does the US goes out against Syrian government? Perhaps, the US is doing Israel’s bidding? And what are Israel’s intentions?

  • “Israel’s goal is the Somalisation of Syria, following the Somalisation of Iraq,” said Putin, and Netanyahu did not deny his interpretation.

These hard words of Putin answer the question of the US and Israeli intentions. This was the position of Israeli strategist Yinon and of the Neocons – Somalisation of the region. Israeli leaders still follow their high-risk short-term strategy of unleashing civil war in Syria, removing Assad and turning Syria into a mess of armed groups that would not interfere with Israeli jets reaching Iran. It is certainly risky, as it was risky to attack Lebanon in 2006, but Israel has such a powerful militarist complex that it needs to take otherwise unneeded risks.

The record of the Putin-Netanyahu conversation contains two important Russian concessions to Israel: Putin promised to break their contract about supply of S-300 anti-aircraft missile complexes to Damascus (and so he did) and to stop missile information leakage to Hezbollah.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman used the meeting to complain about the audacious RT channel:

  • “The Israeli office of the RT outpours anti-Israeli propaganda. They broadcast talks with Hasan Nasrallah [probably a reference to Julian Assange’s interview]. We spoke to the RT reporters privately, but they won’t budge, citing instructions from Moscow. Vladimir Vladimirovitch [Putin], please lean on the editorial policy of the RT so it will become objective towards Israel.”

This complaint fits well with Israeli practice of pressuring foreign media. Recently the Israeli ambassador to Washington attempted to interfere with CBS and censor Bob Simon’s report on Palestinian Christians, causing much resentment in the US. Israelis still can’t get used to the existence of a relatively free press.

The main conclusion of the leaked protocols is that Israeli leaders retained their love to live dangerously. While some other countries, notably Russia, are seeking stability, Israelis love play, and power play. Nothing risked, nothing gained, they say. They are ready to accept short term risks for long term gains. And elimination of the Syrian army is certainly a long term gain for Israel.

Israel Shamir has been sending dispatches to CounterPunch from Moscow.

November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”