Do we fear for the safety of the Druze or for Assad?
Israeli concern in developments in regards to the Druze situation in Syria has clearly appeared in Israeli media
Lebanese politician Wiam Wahhab’s recent warning of the possibility that the Druze may seek refuge in Israel to escape the takfirist threat did not provoke the ire of the resistance – neither on the media nor on the political levels. Wahhab went on and on yelling and making threats following al-Nusra Front’s murder of 30 Druze in Syria and he publicly flashed the Israeli card saying: “When people sense danger, they’d go to the devil,” meaning Israel.
His statements went unnoticed, just like the statements of Rami Makhlouf, Syrian businessmen and Bashar al-Assad’s cousin, once did. Makhlouf had at the beginning of the Syrian revolution said that Israel’s security will be threatened if the popular activity is not restrained in Syria. Wahhab’s statements were not considered to be issued by an “agent” and were thus met with consent just like Makhlouf’s statements were met back then. During these years separating between the two men’s stances, resistance figures have made plenty of statements that profess enmity to Israel when in fact they harbor other intentions.
Truth be told, Israeli concern in developments in regards to the Druze situation in Syria has clearly appeared in Israeli media. This concern was marketed as worry over the fate of Syrian Druze who are closely connected to Israel’s Druze. Israeli military preparations and further security measures in the Golan Heights have been announced.
We followed up on this propaganda campaign by Israel and the resistance who also used its media outlets to exaggerate fear of takfirists and to warn of a massacre that may target Druze. It’s as if we’re back to square one four years ago; stability is linked to the survival of authoritarian repressive regimes and Israel’s interest intersects with the resistance’s when it comes to that.
There’s no doubt that developments due to recent events targeting Syrian Druze have brought back questions regarding the situation of the Druze minority in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. What one group of Druze went through in Syria has directly affected the Druze of Lebanon and Israel – more than how other minorities and groups are affected when they suffer from similar incidents.
This brings into light the formulas which were imposed on our countries for decades and which marketed loyalty to a suppressive authority as a source of assurance to minorities and frightened groups.
Your security and safety in exchange of our authority and influence.
Undermining the threat
We must not make the mistake of undermining the threat posed against small groups due to takfirists’ progress on ground; however, we must also shed light on the threats posed as a result of employing minorities to protect regimes like the Baathist regime in Syria. If takfirists are a threat against minorities, and they truly are, then the Syrian regime’s exploitation of these minorities also threatens the latter’s existence just as much as the takfirists’ threatens it. Not to mention that the Syrian regime has always mastered playing the takfirists’ game to gain some of its legitimacy. At this point, Israel adds a new factor to the scene and complicates the whole situation. Druze clerics’ appearance on Israeli television channels accusing Israel of dereliction in terms of protecting Syria’s Druze is a new indication of the extent which fundamentalist groups from both camps, the resistance and the takfirists, have pushed us to and of the extent to which the Syrian regime can reach regarding its willingness to employ the Israeli card.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 23, 2015.
Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.