Syria and the Invisible Hand of Foreign Intervention

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by Eric Margolis The National Interest

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The Polish Zionist ideologue Vladimir Jabotinsky, the father of Israel’s right wing, observed nearly a century ago that much of the Arab world was a fragile mosaic. A few sharp blows, he wrote, would cause it to shatter, leaving Israel the region’s dominant power. Jabotinsky may have been right.

Even if the Bashar al-Assad regime manages to hang on in Syria, that country’s economy is being wrecked, its people driven into poverty and neighbors tempted to intervene. Israel just threatened to attack Syria’s modest store of chemical weapons. Turkey is stumbling into the morass, egged on by the Saudis and Gulf Arabs. Russia’s national prestige is increasingly involved in Syria – which is as close to its borders as northern Mexico is to the United States. Iran may yet get involved.

We could be observing the beginning of a twenty-first-century version of the 1930s’ Spanish civil war, which became a proxy struggle between Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union. The only thing we know for sure about Syria’s civil war is that it is extremely dangerous to the entire region. Its outcome is entirely unpredictable. Meanwhile, the West keeps fueling the fires.

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Eric Margolis [send him mail] is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

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