Arutz Sheva spoke on Monday with Middle East expert Dr. Eyal Zisser,
Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Zisser
addressed the situation in Syria, several days after more than 100
people were killed in a gruesome massacre in Houla.
Dr. Zisser said that “there is nothing new” regarding the ongoing
civil war, adding, “The struggle between the opposition and the
regime is ongoing. From time to time we do hear about new incidents.
The last one was especially bloody with more than 30 little children
being killed, so maybe this caused some sort of dramatic reaction.
But basically there’s nothing new. Every day dozens of Syrians are
being killed by the regime."
He noted that while at first, some Western countries did not believe
that President Bashar Assad should step down, that position has
changed among most countries, especially the United States.
“It was not their position when the revolution started in Syria, then
they came to the conclusion that he is not part of the solution; he
is the problem,” said Dr. Zisser. “They are eager to get rid of him
but there is very little they can do right now. They are afraid of
direct interference. They don’t want Iraq or Afghanistan to repeat in
He noted that since Russia is against any resolutions against Syria
in the UN Security Council, there is very little that the world can
do other than condemning Assad for the massacres.
“They do, however, support the opposition. They do provide weapons
and money to the activists on the ground in Syria, hoping that
eventually the bleeding of the Syrian regime will bring to its
collapse,” said Dr. Zisser.
As for the effect the revolution may have on Israel, Dr. Zisser said
Assad’s regime “was fully committed to the disengagement agreement
signed between Israel and Syria in 1974 and kept the border quiet.”
However, he said, “It’s not only the tactical question of defense of
the border. It’s also the Iranian-Syrian alliance. It’s the Iranian
supply of advanced weapons to Hizbullah with Syrian help. So I think
that the interest of Israel eventually brought the Israelis to the
conclusion that Bashar should leave.”
Assad’s stepping down would cause, according to Dr. Zisser, “some
incidents along the border, but of a tactical nature, and in the long
run it’s in the interest of Israel to have Bashar be replaced.”
On Sunday, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement
condemning the Syrian government of Syria for the weekend massacre in
Houla, in which at least 116 people were killed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his revulsion over “the
ongoing massacre being perpetrated by the forces of Syrian President
Assad against innocent civilians,” adding that “Iran and Hizbullah
are an inseparable part of the Syrian atrocities and the world needs
to act against them.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that those who
carried out the killings be brought to justice.
“The United States will work with the international community to
intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder
and fear must come to an end,” she said.
Middle East expert Dr. Guy Bechor told Army Radio on Sunday that even
if Assad falls from power, “There will be new generals and there will
be new gangs.”
“Whoever loses in the struggle in Syria will be slaughtered, and
therefore no one can afford to try to take over the regime,” he said.