Will al-Assad’s Isolation be Broken after the US Recognition of Israel’s Sovereignty on the Golan?

Will al-Assad’s Isolation be Broken after the US Recognition of Israel’s Sovereignty on the Golan?
Will al-Assad’s Isolation be Broken after the US Recognition of Israel’s Sovereignty on the Golan?
political analysis | Tuesday 26th March 2019

British newspaper Financial Times has warned of the serious consequences of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan, and considered that his decision poses a threat to the entire region.

 
The British newspaper pointed out that "Donald Trump’s Golan move sets a dangerous precedent" for international society and peace, and considered that by this resolution, Trump is showing his disrespect of international norms. The newspaper continued: "Trump has shown again a reckless disregard for international norms in his announcement of Washington's recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights."
 
In contrast, Israeli media outlets have reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump a "plan to resolve the Syrian conflict."
 
Times of Israel newspaper quoted on Tuesday an unnamed senior Israeli official as saying that Netanyahu had presented his plan to Trump during his visit to Washington on Monday.
 
The official added that the Israeli prime minister had previously informed Putin about his plan, saying that the Russian leader showed interest in the plan. The official said that the plan calls for the Iranian forces’ withdrawal from Syria, without giving further details, and stressed that Israel, Russia, and the United States would possibly follow a tripartite approach to solve the Syrian crisis.
 
Will the rules of conflict change in the region?
 
Dr. Makram Rabah, a political scientist and lecturer at the American University of Beirut, Department of History, said in an interview with Radio Rozana that the US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights would not break al-Assad's isolation.
 
He argued that many European countries are preparing for a kind of judicial files against al-Assad, especially concerning torture, in addition to the US Congress’s ratification on the law of Caesar.
 
Rabah added: "I think al-Assad is far from being isolated because his actions on the ground indicate that he does not want to be a part of this international community. I do not think that the Iranians will allow him to take this step."
In another context, Rabah considered that the Iranian militias’ effectiveness in the Golan Heights is similar to that in Lebanon, as investing in the people is one of Hezbollah’s main pillars.
 
He continued: "People under occupation in the Golan Heights are ready to interpret their support for Bashar al-Assad into military steps, knowing that any military attack will be harsh and there can be no kind of protection network like Gaza for example, where the Egyptian intervention has calmed things down."
 
Could the US recognition be considered a declaration of war in the region?
 
For his part, the writer and researcher in international relations, Dr. Makram Rabah, considered during his interview with Rozana that Trump’s recognition contradicts and renounces all international covenants and pledges to grant sovereignty to a state on occupied territories. This constitutes a legal precedent, according to him.
 
He also noted that the international position is now almost unanimous in rejecting American recognition. He said that “the majority of EU countries rejected this declaration, because it will constitute legal precedents in relation to the sovereign decisions of states.”
 
The Syrian writer thinks that, through American recognition, Washington seeks to fortify Israel's share of the Syrian crisis, especially as the battles and clashes have largely subsided in Syria, as he put it. He went on saying that “it seems that the political and geographical quotas of all the forces that participated in this crisis have begun directly and indirectly.”
 
He said that the United States wanted to cut Israel's share of this quota, by taking the Syrian Golan and granting it to Israel, with the close end of the Syrian file, as he put it. With regard to the declaration of war on Israel, Munawar stressed that all that happened in Syria is a proxy war by proxy forces on the ground for greater powers, both regionally and internationally.
 
The researcher in political affairs asserted that “even this war will be a virtual media war and we will hear about its losses in the media only, as we heard about the sudden disappearance of ISIS from Syria and Iraq.”
 
He added that “this war is intended to dedicate political results and outputs which determine the status quo and the shares of the victors, but on the ground context of events, it indicates that the only target in this war will be in the interest of Iranian influence on the Syrian territory. Therefore, Israel will find in this influence a direct target for its air strikes, while the regime will keep the remaining troops and play the role of spectator because it does not want to lose the remaining insurance policy that will provide it with the opportunity to stay in power.   
 
With regard to the possibility of a war in the region after Trump’s declaration, Munawar explained that the regime knew that not joining a war against Israel in this particular circumstance was an “insurance policy”, after Israel seized the Golan with a US decision. He added that “there are other forces that push it to do so, which are Iran mainly, and then Iraqi fighters. Meanwhile, Russia is trying to control the developments of this battle, in an attempt to avoid a direct confrontation between the forces of the regime and Israel.”  
 
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the United States is in talks with the Gulf States, Turkey, and Canada on the issue of recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan.
Since the June 1967 war, Israel has occupied about 1,200 square kilometers of the Syrian Golan Heights, which was a move not recognized by the international community, while around 510 square kilometers remained under Syrian sovereignty.
 
The Golan, which was previously part of the Syrian province of Quneitra, under international law, is an occupied territory and is subject to UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, which stipulates that Israel must withdraw from the area.