Israel Fears Rise of US-Supported Jihadists in Syria

Russia shares Israel's concerns as the US continues to recklessly arm Syria's rebel militias

The Israeli Defense Force is preparing for the possibility that jihadist terrorists will launch attacks on Israel from Syria if regime change topples President Bashar Assad, according to officials.

The chaos in Syria has long appeared intractable, but many prominent voices are now calling for regime change. The problem is that much of the opposition consists of Sunni extremists that may create an Islamist regime in Syria if the efforts of the US and its allies in support of the rebels are ultimately successful.

Indeed, current US policy, as Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria from the University of Oklahoma wrote in Foreign Policy this month, “is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria.”

Israel and the US are set to hold their largest ever joint military exercise in October, which will include thousands of soldiers and  a simulation of military attack from Syria.

Incidentally, Russia shares Israel’s fears about the rise of the Islamist opposition in Syria, which serves as their last valuable ally in the region.

“Russia is opposed to regime change in Syria not only on principle, but because the likely new regime would be headed by an Islamist government inimical to Russian interests,” reports investigative journalist Joe Lauria.

“Russia feels that the West doesn’t know how to handle regime change and that the outcome is almost invariably the kind of the chaos from which Islamic extremist movements arise,” Mark Galeotti, who chairs the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, told Lauria.

The US policy of arming and supporting the Syrian rebel militias could be catastrophic. As UN envoy to Syria said just this week: “Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.