Whether the announcement came as an immediate response to Israeli warplanes flying earlier today over Bashar’s palace in Lattakia, while he was there, or whether it is the other way around, the announcement did not come out of thin air, there has been signs and rumors to this effect for a few of years now.
Indeed, the whole incident seems a like reenactment of the situation in 2003. Then, too, Israel was retaliating for a suicide bombing that killed many civilians, while Bashar was busy supporting radical Palestinian groups. But at the time, and instead of announcing the formation of some liberation movement, someone ran an article in the Syrian daily al-Thawra in which he admonished that Syria should learn from the “victory” achieved by Hezbollah in South Lebanon and establish paramilitary groups along Islamist lines that can operate in the Golan to “force” Israel troops and settlers out.
Now, lest I be misunderstood here, let me rush to assert that of course I want to see the Golan Heights return to Syrian sovereignty, and I want to see the thousands of broken up families unite again, and of course, I do not doubt the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause, but I always believed that overplaying our hands and involvement in radical politics will put the entire country in an untenable position and will only benefit the extremists, especially those of Islamist persuasions.
As such, I have always argued against the armed intifadah, and I have always argued against policies of confrontation with the international community. We should learn how work for our national interests while avoiding such unnecessary confrontations. I am not interested who won in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or South Lebanon, all I know is that the price in all these situations have been too high and, for this reason, we’d better not take the issue of confrontation with powers that are politically, economically and military far superior to us too lightly and callously.
The Vietnamese won their war against the Americans, but they are still saddled with a dictatorial and corrupt regime to this day. The Afghans won their war against the Soviets, but they inherited a broken up state and society in which only Islamists, of the most extreme and enlightened could flourish. If the situation appears to be slightly better in Lebanon, it’s because of the fact that there are other players on the scene and that the entire situation is till unfolding as we speak. Whatever the case may be here, I don’t want that fate for Syria. But the course being charted by the Assads and their Islamist and ultra-nationalist allies can only lead to this.
This is indeed another argument in favor of regime change in Syria, and like all our previous arguments, this one, too, is made on our behalf by the Assads themselves, may they live long and prosper, in hell.