Syrian Dissidents Look to Israel for Support

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 |  Israel Today Staff

Hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced in Syria’s ongoing civil war. And still, the international community and the Arab world drag their feet, to the growing frustration of Syrian dissidents, many of whom are now ready to seek aid from even their worst enemy: Israel.

The Syrian arena is being used as a kind of chessboard by world powers and powerful regional Muslim groups. And as the Syrian people are paying the price, it is becoming increasingly clear that Israel is one of the few nations that just wants the fighting to end in a way that is most stable and most secure for all involved.

“The Saudis were the worst, followed by the French, the British and the Americans,” leading Syrian dissident Kamal al-Labwani told The Times of Israel regarding recent Syria peace talks held in Geneva.

Noting that Washington was making the same mistakes it made in Egypt, Labwani said, “More than once I’ve heard Americans say that ‘the [Muslim] Brotherhood must lead this stage.’ We told them: ‘The Brotherhood are extremists, not moderates. This is not Islam which is appropriate for civilization.’”

According to Labwani, the Syrian revolution, like those in Egypt and Tunisia, didn’t have to descend into civil war. It was only after the Assad regime treated demonstrators in a “criminal, unacceptable way” that people began to take up arms. Assad “intentionally humiliated people and killed them in cold blood. This is why the revolution began,” said Labwani.

Of course, with war raging, the situation has been exploited by numerous different radical Islamist groups, many of them originating from outside Syria itself. Nevertheless, there is no turning back until Assad falls. Labwani and many others hope that Israel will increasingly assist in achieving that goal.

“If you want to befriend the Syrians, send a message of friendship. I tell you, my people are ready,” he said.

What Labwani and others want is for Israel to use its influence with America, Europe and Russia to spur more serious action on the part of the international community. Ideally, he’d also like to see Israel directly supply weapons to the rebels, and perhaps even enforce a no-fly zone over southern Syria.

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