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Is Israel pointing the finger at the wrong enemy?

The ISIS, al-Nusra Front and Hezbollah are all terrorist groups with the shared policy of not crossing the borders towards Israel

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

The Israeli government was wrong to shell Hezbollah posts and it is wrong to define them as “the enemy,” columnist Guy Bechor wrote in the Israeli Yedioth Aharonot daily newspaper in a criticism of his country’s government.

His opinion is that President Bashar al-Assad only governs one fifth of Syria and that Israel has plans and the power to confront Shiite terrorists but is not prepared at all to confront Sunni terrorists.

In fact we are not concerned about this way of thinking because it presents the analysis of someone who does not seem to differentiate between details on the ground. On the contrary to Bechor’s argument, it will be good if Israel also directs its cannons towards the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS), the al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups. It is the Assad’s regime itself that facilitated the emergence of such parasites vying against the revolting Syrian people. These extremist groups have succeeded at turning the revolution into a sectarian war and have distorted the image of many Syrians taking part in the uprising.

Saboteurs

Bechor wrote: “The Syrian territory in the Golan Heights is already filled with Salafi Sunni terrorist forces. In the whole of Syria they include tens of thousands, and they are continuing to multiply… there is already a jihadist Sunni country from Baghdad to our fence in the Golan. Until now, these forces were busy fighting the regime's army, but they are slowly taking over additional territories and finding time for Israel. If that is the case, is it possible that Israel is pointing an accusing finger at the wrong side?.... Because against Hezbollah or the Assad army we still have a deterrence ability, but against the Salafis there is zero deterrence. That is the situation in Sinai, in the Red Sea and in the Gaza Strip.”

Syria will be the biggest threat to Israel after it has been its top silent ally and its secure line of defense for 40 years

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Syria will be the biggest threat to Israel after it has been its top silent ally and its secure line of defense for 40 years. The threat stands, regardless of whether Assad remains in power or not.

Remaining weak

If Assad survives, he will remain weak and in control of only a few areas. The situation will be the same if the civil war continues and if extremist groups like the ISIS take control over important geographical zones. Israel’s interest lies in ending Assad’s security cover and in supporting the idea of establishing a peaceful civil state in its neighborhood.

The ISIS, al-Nusra Front and Hezbollah are all terrorist groups with the shared policy of not crossing the borders towards Israel.

Most of their fighting takes place in civilian areas, taking them as hostages. They enjoy the support of different parties in the region to the extent that one of them resorted to abducting foreigners or Christians for financial support. The operation is like money laundering. The countries that support these groups give them millions of dollars in funding disguised as “ransom” money to release the abductees. Truth is, this is a way of supporting terror groups without raising suspicion.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 6, 2014

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.