Researching this Syrian civil war, it’s clear as air that the US and Israel are rooting for the rebels. Indeed, much of the West is. But why? I was mystified at first, but now it all makes sense.
Here’s how it works:
Get rid of Assad.
Assad goes, and you strike a death blow against Iran.
Assad goes, and in particular, you strike a severe death blow against Hezbollah.
Syria is Hezbollah’s patron, via Iran. The Iran-Syria-Hezbollah Axis is one of Israel’s main enemies. Furthermore, Syria, but mostly Iran, supports Hamas.
So, Assad goes, and you strike a major blow against the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas resistance faction.
The minority Alawite Shia regime supports Iran and Hezbollah mostly for nationalist reasons – they want the Golan back. All three are Shia, so it works as an alliance.
The Syrian Arab Sunnis increasingly hate Hezbollah, because they see them as tied in with Assad’s regime. Hezbollah is also supporting the regime in Damascus, because it’s their lifeline. Iran is reportedly helping to put down the rebellion, so they don’t like Iran either. I’m starting to see a lot of Syrian Sunni Arab sectarian comments on the web against the Shia, about how they are the enemies of the Sunnis, etc.
Bottom line, if an opposition regime gets in, it will probably be a relatively Islamist Sunni Arab regime. They will take a dim view of supporting Hezbollah and an equally dim view of an alliance with the eternal enemy Iran.
The problem with this US-Israeli view is that it is short-sighted. The Syrian Sunni Arab Islamists are ferocious Israel-haters, and they want the Golan back as bad as anyone.
Their attitude is that Assad has been too weak to get the Golan back. Get rid of the Alawite regime, put in a Syrian Sunni Arab Islamist regime with deep ties to the Ikhwan, and launch a war on Israel. That’s the explicit goal of the Syrian Islamists.
Now, whether or not they can pull this off is another question. But regardless of what happens to the Hezbollah-Syria-Iran Axis, the new Sunni Arab Islamist regime in Syria will not, repeat not, be friendly to Israel.
It’s one of those be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, things.