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A warning from Syria?

An article from the New York Times speculates that by allowing Palestinians to march on the Golan Heights border with Israel, Syria is sending a poignant warning:

For the first time in his 11-year reign, Mr. Assad demonstrated to Israel, the region and world that in an uprising that has posed the greatest threat to his family’s four decades of rule, he could provoke war to stay in power.

There are of course voices in Syria who are calling for, have always called for, the state to renew armed conflict with Israel.  But more likely is the scenario where Assad orders that the Golan Heights, which had been essentially off limits and therefore quiet, be open to those who wish to stir up problems for Israel.

To many in the Arab word, the frontier’s longstanding quiet has even become a source of jokes, especially as Syria chose to pressure Israel through proxies beyond its borders, particularly with Hezbollah in Lebanon. In Arabic, Assad means lion, thus the taunt of Mr. Assad’s father, Hafez: “A lion in Lebanon, but a rabbit in the Golan.”


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