The Syrian inferno

If Syria teaches us anything, it is that territory still counts and counts big, contrary to trendy wishful-thinking.

Hezbollah members carry mock rockets. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)
Hezbollah members carry mock rockets.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)
Hezbollah is the first name that comes to mind when trying to figure out who masterminded the roadside attack on IDF soldiers on the Golan Heights on Tuesday. The Shi’ite movement’s motivation is obvious following the recent destruction of its missile transports into Lebanon.
Not only has it vowed revenge but its ally, embattled despot Bashar Assad, has served ample warning that he will no longer bar Hezbollah forces from striking at Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan.
With that in mind, the booby-trap explosion (and possible kidnap attempt) that wounded four soldiers was no surprise.
Nevertheless, nothing in is necessarily what it seems in Syria. The country has deteriorated into a free-for-all fire zone the likes of which even this erratic region had never known. It has become an arena for every terrorist group from the Sunni-supported al-Qaida to its Iranian-propped Shi’ite arch-rival Hezbollah. A myriad of bizarre, impenetrable and obscure varieties litter the spectrum in between and all of them are incendiary, violent and sadistic to extremes inconceivable in today’s liberal and pluralistic West.
What started out as the Syrian civil war, and has lured all these warring elements, has now marked its third unhappy anniversary. Events went by largely unnoticed in the international community where sporadic hand-wringing about the Syrian horror-spectacle is all that can be expected.
The underdog anti-Assad rebels are fading fast and losing to assorted jihadist interlopers. Assad and the diverse fanatics from outside the Syria rule isolated strongholds that have been turned into autonomous mini-states. All the protagonists in this internecine bloodshed are outand- out villains. Moreover, they all lie prodigiously. No words from Syria can be trusted.
The Syrian mayhem exposes both pan-Arabism and its antithesis – separate Arab nationalities – as synthetic hoaxes. The artificial and fragile outer national coating has disintegrated wretchedly (elsewhere in the Arab world as well, but most brutally in Syria).
This is not a conflict where decisive victory is possible.
Crimes against humanity are perpetrated blatantly by all sides and, occasional lip-service notwithstanding, the world hardly cares. The lust to massacre rages, underscoring the folly and naiveté of American initiatives such as the Geneva peace conference.
As the Syrian inferno continues to burn, it sends messages of existential importance to Israel – messages we must not ignore if we want to live.
If this is the way Arabs treat one another, what would they unleash on the Jews all of them had been brainwashed to abhor? If, furthermore, there is no distinct or remotely cohesive Syrian nationality, it is clear all the more so that there is no distinctive or remotely cohesive Palestinian nationality.
The merciless conflagration that consumes Syria could just as likely consume the Palestinian state for which the international community hoarsely clamors. Jihadist imports with nothing to lose would just as frenziedly turn Judea and Samaria into killing fields, should we yield them.
At that point, chaos would reign next door and inevitably hurt us day after day.
All the talk about territory no longer mattering in our technological and globalized reality has been revealed as so much cerebral claptrap. It is harrowing enough to envisage what our lot would now be had we succumbed to the advice of the weak-willed among us and surrendered the Golan to Assad.
It is incomparably more terrifying to imagine the same mad mutual-obliteration attempted between Salafists and Shi’ites – and their numerous kindred strains – on the edges of Kfar Saba, Petah Tikva and Jerusalem.
If Syria teaches us anything, it is that territory still counts and counts big, contrary to trendy wishful-thinking.
Defensible lines and protected sanctuaries have not been rendered redundant.
Just as crucially, we must not overlook the unresponsiveness of the family of nations. If that is how they sermonize ineffectually over the mass murder of Arabs with whom they sympathize, it is safe to assume that they would be far less moved about what befalls unpopular Jews.
This is all vital to consider as Syria descends into a fourth year of hell.