2010: When Assad said NO to Netanyahu on Iran

Barack Obama’s special envoy to Lebanon and Syria, Frederick Hof, who resigned from his post earlier this week – in a confidential document leaked this week has claimed that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak conducted intensive secret talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through him.

According to Frederick Hof, the negotiations were based on Netanyahu’s willingness to return to June 4, 1967 lines, giving Damascus full control of the Golan Heights which was occupied by the Jewish army during its 1967 invasion of its neighboring Arab lands. What Netanyahu demanded in return was a comprehensive peace deal that would include an Israeli “expectation” for the severing ties between Damascus and Tehran. However, according to the US sources, the deal fell-apart as Bashar refused to severe his friendly ties with the Islamic Republic.

On Friday, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth has claimed that Netanyahu resumed talks in secret with Bashar al-Assad to justify the stalemate in the negotiations with the Palestinians and because he viewed Syria as the weak link in the “Axis of Resistance”, which includes Iran, Lebanon and Hizbullah.

The idea was to see if we could drive a wedge in the radical axis of Iran-Syria-Hezbollah by taking Syria out of the equation – after that to pursue peace with Lebanon,” says Frederick Hof.

Another Israeli Jew involved in the failed negotiations was Michael Herzog, former chief of staff to Israeli defense minister. He has also confirmed the Netanyahu-Assad negotiations. Michael Herzog is currently Israel-based fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a policy-arm of Israel Lobby (AIPAC).

Frederick Hof, an Israel-Firster, is a former US Marine official. He served Army attaché to the US embassy in Lebanon during the Mossad bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983. He also worked under George Mitchell, Obama’s special envoy to Israel-Palestine. Hof has traveled to several world capitals to campaign against Assad-regime. In testimony to Congress last December, Hof delivered some of the harshest rhetoric to date on the Assad regime.

Our view is that this regime is the equivalent of dead man walking. Assad’s cruelty and isolation was turning Syria into “Pyongyang in the Levant,” he said.

According to the New York Times (October 12, 2012) – it’s not the first time the Israeli leaders tried to pull a deal with Assad. Former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and Netanyahu during his first term – all had conducted indirect secret negotiations with Assad through American and Turkish mediators in the past. Thus, the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power makes a good case for Israel and its western-puppet regimes.

During the 1980-88 western-sponsored Saddam Hussein war against the Islamic Republic, Syria was the only Arab country which did not join US-Iraq-Saudia alliance against Iran.

Israel-Russian journalist Israel Shamir had reported that Netanyahu told Putin that he preferred the “Somalisation of Syria, its break-up and elimination of its army”. He also stressed that Israel has no problem with Moscow’s choice for Bashar’s successor – but he “must break with Iran”. Netanyahu gave the impression that Israel was in a position to “influence the rebels”.

Chandra Muzaffar Ph.D is President of the Malaysia-based International Movement for a Just World (JUST). In his August 21, 2012 post, entitled ‘Custodian of the Custodian of the Custodian’, he wrote:

Since this is Israel’s agenda for Syria, all the moves and manoeuvres of states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to eliminate Bashar would be very much in line with what Israel wants. Any wonder then that both Israeli leaders and its media welcomed the suspension of Syria from the OIC. In this regard, Israel would have been thrilled to read a pronouncement by Al-Qaradawi in May 2012, widely reported in the WANA media that “If the Prophet Muhammad was alive today, he would lend his support to NATO.”

More than endorsement from within the region, what Israel has always been confident about is the patronage and protection of the US and most of Europe. On Syria, and in the ultimate analysis, on Iran, the Israeli political and military elites know that the centres of power in the West share its diabolical agenda. Indeed, it is Israel that determines the US’s position on critical issues pertaining to WANA. It is the tail that wags the dog.

Israel’s relationship with a major Arab state like Saudi Arabia, (with whom it has no formal diplomatic ties) on the one hand, and the US, on the other, tells us a great deal about who is in charge of who. The Kenyan- American scholar, Professor Ali Mazrui, once described the Saudi-US nexus this way: the problem with the custodian of the Holy Mosques is that there is a custodian of the custodian.

If I may add, since it is Israel that decides US foreign policy in WANA, it may not be inaccurate to say that there is a custodian of the custodian of the custodian.

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