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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/1/13

Why We Must Change The Narrative On Syria

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For some time now, the predominant narrative about Syria has been that the unrest has been fueled in order to weaken Iran.   This prevalent account is common to neoconservatives and liberals alike.   While The New York Times trumpeted Israeli-firsters Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham message that " rebel fighters deserved to be armed and that helping them take on the Syrian government would aid Washington's effort to weaken Iran ", moderate and independent outlets such as Truthout , Counterpunch , and numerous others echoed this same objective -- but whilst decrying the plan.     Even Iran's state-run media shares this account.

 

This is sheer misdirection -- deliberate or otherwise.   Undisputedly, Syria and Iran have been staunch allies since the Iranian Revolution in their joint cause to protect the Palestinian rights and to stand up Israel and America, and any change in Syria would adversely affect Iran (as it would Russia).    But this is a secondary consideration.   The generally accepted   narrative takes the focus away from the primary reason for the current assault on Syria -- Israel.

 

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Since the 1948 war, Syria and Israel have been in a state of war (with brief periods of unsuccessful negotiations).    The conflict has been primarily over land and water (see   a previous essay The Syria Imperative ).     Since the 1950's, conflict over water (and land) has been at the root of hostilities between the two.   In the 1950's, Eisenhower commissioned Eric Johnston to generate a regional water allocation agreement.   The failure of the Johnston plan exacerbated the conflict. The published diaries of Israeli Foreign Minister Sharett helps understand why the Johnston negotiations were unsuccessful.   Sharett maintained: "[P]olitical decisions concerning the occupation of the rest of Eretz Israel were taken as early as 1954, although implemented in 1967. [i] "

 

The 1967 occupation of Syria Golan (Golan Heights) and the Upper Mount Hermon by Israel enabled Israel to seize the entire Upper Jordan River   giving Israel the advantage of placing its riparian position to fully upstream.    Consequently, not only was Syria denied access to Upper Jordan waters, but its territorial and national integrity were assaulted.

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Some years later, Haaretz would reveal the existence of a study (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel-Aviv university) under General Aaron Yariv, former intelligence services chief, which outlined a "zone of hydraulic security", which called for placing water resources in Syria and Lebanon under full Israeli control [ii] .   Disputes continued unabated and the status quo maintained until 1982 when the military prowess of both sides were tested.  

 

A 1987 book by Col. Emmanuel Wald of the Israeli General Staff entitled "The Ruse of the Broken Vessels: The Twilight of Israeli Military Might (1967-1982) reveals the aims of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the month of pre-planning that had gone into it.   Wald writes that Ariel Sharon's master plan codenamed "Oranim" was to defeat the Syrian troops deployed in the Bekaa Valley all the way to the district of Baalbek in North of Lebanon.   According to Wald, "during the fist days, it was quietly approved by the U.S.".

 

With this aim, on June 6, 1982, Israeli advanced into Lebanon.    However, the Syrian army halted the Israeli army advance in the battle of Sultan Yakub and the battle of Ain Zahalta.   Sharon's plan to conquer all of Lebanon and destroy Syria as a military power was thwarted.   In reviewing the book and the battles, the famous scholar and activist, Israel Shahak, opined that "the principal purpose of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was destruction of the Syrian Army" [iii] .

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Shahak posits that Israel needs to win its wars quickly or not at all.   In spite of technological and nuclear superiority, another assault on Syria would not predictably bring an easy win to Israel and defenses could "drag out a war endlessly'.     He further argues that during the entire history of   Israel, Israeli Jews have shown themselves to be   highly sensitive to their losses, and high losses make Israelis "susceptible to political arguments against modes of domination and oppression which they otherwise would accept".

 

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Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Soraya has lived and studied in-Iran, UK, France, and has obtained her Master's degree in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg and USC School for International Studies, Los Angeles.- She is an independent researcher, public speaker, radio (more...)
 

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