Gilbert Mercier on RT: Israel Is Playing With Fire in Syria
Once again, Israel bombed Syria, ostensibly to destroy weapons meant for Hezbollah. Instead, the air strike on Saturday, May 4, 2013 killed 15 troops from Bashar al-Assad’s elite Republican Guard, together with more than 100 other Syrian soldiers. As Russia, China and the United States scrambled for a solution to the conflict in Syria that threatens to turn into a regional sectarian war, Russia Today Television (RT TV) called on News Junkie Post Editor-in-Chief Gilbert Mercier to analyze the geopolitics of the situation.
Mercier cautioned that “Israel is playing with fire” and explained that he thinks they are testing “the international community to see how they are going to react. According to various Washington sources, the attack on Saturday wasn’t green-lit by the White House. They were not even consulted…. Apparently it is a complete fait accompli. They might be testing the waters to see how the international community would move if [Israel] would attack Iran….”
He pointed out that the attack has won the sympathy of Turkey, “which is mainly a Sunni country and not a friend of the Assads. [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan basically stated that the attack by Israel was absolutely unacceptable, and this is [seconded] by the opposition in Syria.”
When asked about the possible outcomes of today’s meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Mercier proposed that “The international community should look into… a potential balkanization of Syria: perhaps splitting the… Alawite, Sunni, and Kurd areas into three parts, following the model of the former Yugoslavia…. Nobody has really considered this, and it could be a way out. Otherwise, the 1.2 million Alawites — providing Assad falls — would become very likely victims of a genocide.”
Regarding the claims of chemical weapons in Syria, Mercier said that the “deja vu of Iraq… doesn’t fly too well with the international community,” although the US insists that it just wants to make sure it is right on the chemical weapons issue. He also noted the implied threat against Assad in President Barack Obama’s comparison today of possible plans for Syria to previous US actions against Osama Bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi.
Mercier warns that Israel is “trying to provoke Hezbollah into a retaliation…” but appears not to have considered that it cannot “handle a front against Lebanon and a front against Syria at the same time.”
Editor’s Note: Photograph by AFP/HO/SANA