Monday, April 04, 2011

The same fear of Arab democracy shared by Assad and Israel

Beirut, By Antonin GREGOIRE | - April 01, 2011
The Syrian regime tries to blame an “israeli conspiracy” for being responsible for the demonstrations. According to the Syrian regime, Israel would like to see a sectarian divided Syria. 
 However, it appears that Israelis have exactly the same system of beliefs about the Middle East as the Arab leaders. Israel thinks, just like Bachar al Assad, that a democratic change in Syria would lead to chaos and this is a terrifying prospect for them.
Arab Leaders think that chaos would rule if they do not rule themselves their people, under heavy dictatorship.

Moubarak was utterly convinced of that: a few days before leaving power, he gave an interview to ABC Channel where he said:

“You don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now.”
He added: “ if I resign today, it would be chaos”.

This belief, that the Egyptian “culture”, or more extensively, the “Arab culture” is naturally going to lead to chaos if the dictator steps down is shared by almost all policy makers and leaders in the Middle East.

Israeli policy makers are convinced of the same thing: without a dictator ruling, it would be the chaos opening the road for sectarian strife that would result in islamists taking power. They bear in mind the example of Lebanon: a sectarian civil war that led to the emergence of Hezbollah, now their worst ennemy and nightmare. Israeli leaders thus think the end of Assad would open a sectarian strife in Syria that will end with the emergence of a new enemy worse than Assad.

Israelis would love to see Assad go but they are much more afraid of what could come next. As one member of the Netanyahu cabinet puts it: “We know Assad. We knew his father. Of course, we’d love to have a democratic Syria as our neighbour. But do I think that’s going to happen? No.”

Israel leaders can not even imagine a democratic Syria and are equally convinced that anything that happens in Syria will be against them. Israel thinks it is the primary concern of all Arabs, just as Assad thinks Syrians will automatically buy a conspiracy theory involving Israel.

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