In an op-ed published in Al Ahkbar, Lebanese professor As’ad AbuKhalil details the dilemma now facing Assad after Israel executed an airstrike in Syria last week.AbuKhalil, a professor at Cal State Stanislaus who is a staunch critic of Israel and U.S. foreign policy, states that “despite its pathetic lack of a response to past acts of Israeli aggression against Syria, [the Syrian regime] is now in a more difficult position.”
If it does not act in response to Israeli aggression, it will be quite embarrassing for the regime to justify the use of fighter jets and helicopter gunships in its internal conflict (for purposes of regime preservation), but not for defending Syrian territory against Israeli attacks. The Syrian army, which has by and large remained loyal to the regime, could face major defections in protest against this regime reluctance. But if the regime responds to Israeli attacks, Israel can inflict severe damage to the military power of the regime which is needed to protect the regime. Either way, the regime could suffer, although it would change the contours of the conflict if it were to respond against Israel in a major way.
The dilemma will likely persist as intelligence officials told Time that Israel had a “green light” from the U.S. to launch more strikes on targets it deems as threat for conventional and/or unconventional weapon proliferation.
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