Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The Shortest Path to Peace in Syria and the
Middle East: Ending the Israeli Occupation of Arab Lands
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 16, 2013
Because “defensive alliances which have fixed and limited
objectives are often more durable,” the “Syria-Iran alliance has survived”
more than three decades of unwavering and insistent US – led military,
economic, diplomatic and media campaign to dismantle it, but it is still
enduring “because it has been primarily defensive in nature” and “aimed
largely at neutralizing … Israeli capabilities and preventing American
encroachment in the Middle East.”
This was the conclusion of the
professor of International Relations at Webster University Geneva,
Switzerland, Jubin M. Goodarzi, in his 2006 book, “Syria and Iran:
Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East.”
Professor Goodarzi’s conclusion is worth highlighting amid the thick smoke
screen of “chemical weapons,” “civil war,” “responsibility to protect” and
the “dictatorship – democracy” rhetoric of the US – Israeli propaganda,
which is now misleading the world public opinion away from the core fact
that the current Syrian conflict is the inevitable outcome of the 45 - year
old Israeli occupation of the Syrian Arab Golan Heights in 1967.
Israel, protected by what President Barak Obama repeatedly describe as the
“unshakable” support of the United States, is still maintaining its military
occupation of the Golan as a “bargaining chip” to enforce upon Syria,
irrespective of the regime and who is ruling in Damascus, the fait accompli
which was created forcefully by the creation of the State of Israel in
Palestine in 1948.
The US support to dictating the resulting fait
accompli to Syria manifested itself first by empowering Israel by US arms
and tax payer money to gain the “bargaining chip” of the Golan Heights, then
by protecting the ongoing Israeli occupation of this Syrian territory.
The “bargaining chips” of the Sinai peninsula and the West Bank of River
Jordan proved successful by dictating the Israeli terms on the signing of
the “peace” treaties with Egypt in 1979, with Jordan in 1994 and the Oslo
peace agreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993,
but failed so far to produce similar results with Syria and Lebanon, which
remain in a “state of war” with Israel, mainly because Damascus still
insists on making peace according to international law and the UN
Damascus “did” engage the peace making process. The
assumption to power of late al-Assad senior in 1971 was hailed by the US and
its regional allies because he first of all recognized the UN Security
Council resolutions No. 242 and 338, the basis of the US – sponsored so –
called Arab – Israeli “peace process;” he fell out with his “comrades” in
the ruling Baath party specifically because of this recognition.
Instead of building on al-Assad senior’s constructive approach, Washington
made every effort to pressure him to accept the “Israeli” terms of peace: US
sanctions were imposed on Syria and the country was condemned as a state
sponsor of terror because of hosting the political offices of anti - Israeli
occupation Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements.
months after its invasion of Iraq, the US concluded it was very well
positioned -- and Syria very well cornered between US occupation in the
east, the Israeli occupation in the west, the Jordanian, Palestinian and
Egyptian peace accords with Israel in the south and the Turkish NATO member
in the north - - to pressure Syria into submission.
On December 12,
2003 the Congress passed into law the “Syria Accountability Act,” the main
purpose of which was to disarm Syria and deprive it of all its defensive
means and “resistance” allies, long before the eruption of the ongoing
current conflict in Syria.
The act demanded the withdrawal of the
Syrian forces from Lebanon, ignoring the fact they were there upon the
official request and blessings of Lebanon and the US themselves and the Arab
League to secure Lebanon and help it recover after the civil war.
Their withdrawal has become indispensable only after the Israeli invasion of
Lebanon in 1982, in the hope the invasion will dictate a peace treaty to
Lebanon, which would have left Syria a peace pariah among the Arab immediate
“neighbors” of Israel. No surprise then the Syria – Iran alliance was
formalized in March that year with a series of bilateral agreements. The US
invasion of Iraq in 2003 only accelerated their strategic cooperation.
More importantly, the act banned Syria’s engagement “in the research,
development, acquisition, production, transfer or deployment” of “weapons of
mass destruction,” “biological, chemical or nuclear weapons” and “medium and
long range surface – to - surface ballistic missiles,” of course without any
reference to Israel’s acquisition of the same and more.
signing of its “peace” treaty with Israel in 1979 deprived Syria of its
regional strategic Arab partner in the 1973 war and the collapse of the
former Soviet Union deprived it of its international one a decade later,
leaving the country off balance.
To strike a defensive alternative
“strategic balance” with Israel has become the overriding strategic goal of
Syria. No Arab substitute has been available. The revolution in Iran in the
same year came as a God – sent breakthrough. The Syria – Iran alliance was
cemented ever since. Dismantling this alliance has become the overriding US
– Israeli strategic priority as well.
Until Syria finds an Arab
strategic defense alternative to Iran or until the United States decides to
mediate unbiased peace making between Syria and Israel, the bilateral Syrian
– Iranian alliance will endure, unless Washington decides to repeat in Syria
its failed invasion of Iraq, which all indications render a mission
To end the Israeli occupation
of the Golan Heights and other Arab Israeli – occupied lands is the shortest
US – Israeli path to dismantling the Syria – Iran alliance and to peace in
Syria and the region.
That only solution would ensure that
Syria will shift its outward focus strategically from looking for strategic
balance with Israel to liberate its occupied land to the development of its
Ending decades of
confusing the “national interest” of the United States as one and the same
thing as that of Israel will for sure lay a solid ground not only for a
Syrian but as well for an Arab - US constructive and just relationship
built on mutual respect and common interests within the framework of
international law and the UN charter.
This is the only and shortest
path to peace in Syria and the Middle East, the time saving recipe and the
less expensive in human as well as in economic resources. Herein the US can
secure its regional “vital” interests “peacefully” without dragging its
people and the region from one war to another incessantly.
and injustice cannot coexist.
* Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab
journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian