We understand that Israel has its own national interests. But please stop with the baloney
Haaretz just published the magnum opus of Israeli mourning for what "could have been" in Syria.
We are of course referring to "They Broke It, They Should Fix It: Let Russia and Iran Pay to Rebuild Syria". If you enjoy the headline, you'll love the self-righteous delusions which follow it.
According to Haaretz: Israel yearned for democracy in Syria; Israel wanted desperately to help fight Islamic State in Syria; Israel wanted to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.
But Haaretz very helpfully clarifies: Syrian democracy was destroyed by Russia and Iran's support for Assad and an "opposition dominated by Islamist militants"; Defeating Islamic State is a "no-brainer", but it "would involve partnering with Iran"; and while Israel would love to provide aid to suffering Syrians, "realistically there’s no policy that will yield the kind of results that would truly benefit the Syrian people."
Israel absolves itself of any wrongdoing or even sideline support for the "moderate" rebels. (Israel was "cheer[ing] on the white hats in Syria’s six-year civil war"; Israel had "hopes" for the Arab Spring, says Haaretz.)
Israel was just trying to be a good neighbor. The real culprits of this conflict are Russia and Iran, the two countries that "broke" Syria:
The bill for reconstruction is estimated at $200 billion, and some say it could even reach five times that figure. Never exactly an economic tiger, Syrian GDP would have to grow at a 5% annual rate for the next 30 years to get back to where it was in 2010. Who’s going to pay the bill?
Naturally, it should be the Russians and Iranians. Assad is their man and Syria their ally.
Needless to say, Moscow and Tehran don’t see it that way. Yes, they broke it, so they should pay for it, but as they see it, the U.S., Europe, Turkey and the Gulf powers helped break Syria, too.
Last month Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister for Middle East issues, told European Union diplomats that Moscow would contribute nothing to a reconstruction effort he estimated would cost tens of billions of dollars.
That is chutzpah of the first order, but to be fair, the Russians don’t have the kind of money, and neither do the Iranians. If the money is going to be delivered, it will be from the West.
You want to see some chutzpah? Behold:
[L]et’s put humanitarian considerations aside. That doesn’t sound nice, but realistically there’s no policy that will yield the kind of results that would truly benefit the Syrian people. That’s because the Assad regime is not just an oppressive dictatorship, it’s also an economic incompetent, wedded to doctrine of state control mixed in with a strong element of cronyism.
Helping the Syrian people is a waste of time and money because Assad will spend all foreign aid on booze and hookers, or maybe that " World of Tanks" computer game.
We understand. We get it. Israel sees Iran as even more evil and terrible than Islamic State. Ergo, Islamic State losing in Syria is bad for Israel.
That's not a neutral position though, and it's certainly not representative of anything approaching altruism or thoughtful support for the Syrian people.
Our advice to Israel: You are welcome to have your own national "interests", as insane and inhumane as they may be. But please stop pretending that Netanyahu is crying himself to sleep each night as he worries about Syrian democracy.
The Islamist head-choppers lost. Get over it.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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