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Syria vows to recover Golan Heights as Trump policy shift draws criticism

25 Comments
By Tom Perry

The Syrian government vowed to take back the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as its allies and enemies alike condemned U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday for moving to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory seized in war.

Trump's statement on Thursday marked a dramatic shift in U.S. policy over the status of a disputed area that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East conflict and annexed in 1981 - a move not recognized internationally.

Against this backdrop of hostility towards the U.S. move, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Beirut where he took aim at Israel's main regional foes - Hezbollah and its backer Iran and declared the success of U.S. sanctions against them.

Trump's declaration is the latest U.S. step to fuel anger in the region, both in states that are hostile to Israel and others that have relations with it and are allied to the United States.

It follows the U.S. recognition in December 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a decision that also stirred international criticism as the city's disputed status remains at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Russia, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad with forces in Syria, said Trump's comments risked seriously destabilizing the region, and it voiced hope the statement was just declaratory.

Iran, Assad's main regional ally and which also has forces in Syria, condemned the statement as illegal and unacceptable.

"The personal decisions of Trump...will lead to crisis in the region," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said.

Turkey, a U.S. ally and an adversary of Damascus, also said the move had brought the Middle East to the edge of a new crisis and the legitimization of the occupation of the Golan Heights could not be allowed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for his gesture "at a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel". It could help Netanyahu in the midst of a tough re-election battle, analysts said.

The Syrian government said the Golan was an "indivisible" part of Syrian territory and recovering it "via all means guaranteed by international law is still a priority".

It said United States with its "stupidity and arrogance" had no right to decide the fate of the area and any move to recognise Israeli sovereignty over it was "an illegal action with no impact".

After remaining calm for decades since a 1974 armistice monitored by U.N. peacekeepers, Golan re-emerged as a flashpoint for regional tensions during the Syrian war. Last May, Israel accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards of launching a rocket salvo into its territory from the Syrian side of the truce line.

Israel, which has mounted numerous air strikes against what it has called Iran-backed targets in Syria, has demanded Russia keep forces allied to Tehran away from the boundary.

The Syrian side was held by rebel forces for years until pro-government forces recovered it in July.

Jason Greenblatt, a senior White House adviser, said on Twitter that "under any conceivable circumstance, Israel could not give up the Golan ... To do so would endanger Israel's very existence".

But Fouad Mundhir, a Syrian whose home village is in Israeli-occupied Golan, said Trump was "cancelling the will of an entire nation.

"You say you are carrying the flag of democracy. Okay, Mr. Trump, have you taken into account the will of the people of the Golan?" he told Reuters in Jaramana, near Damascus.

In the Golan itself, Druze Arabs also rejected the move, while Israeli settlers welcomed it.

The European Union said its position on the status of the Golan Heights was unchanged and that it did not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the strategic plateau.

Germany said any change in borders should be "done through peaceful means between all those involved", while France said it did not recognise the Israeli annexation of the Golan and any recognition was contrary to international law.

The Arab League, which suspended Syria in 2011 after the start of its civil war, said Trump had paved "the way for official American recognition" of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan and called this "completely beyond international law".

Egypt, which made peace with Israel in 1979, said it still considers the Golan as occupied Syrian territory.

Israel says Syria's civil war has reaffirmed the need to keep the plateau - coveted for its water resources and fertile soil - as a buffer zone between Israeli towns and the instability of its neighbour.

In Lebanon, Pompeo said the United States would continue to use "all peaceful means" to choke off funding that "feeds Iran and Hezbollah terror operations".

"Lebanon faces a choice: bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation, or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future," he said.

Hezbollah-aligned Lebanese leaders including President Michel Aoun told him the group was a Lebanese party with popular support. The group has three cabinet ministers and together with its allies controls more than 70 of parliament's 128 seats.

The United States is a major donor to the Lebanese army but its allies, including the Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, have been weakened as Iran's role has deepened through Lebanon, Iraq and Syria and Saudi influence has receded.

Washington has reintroduced sanctions on Iran and imposed new financial sanctions on Hezbollah which Lebanon's Hezbollah-aligned president, Michel Aoun, said on Thursday were hurting all Lebanese.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
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This just further confirms the control that Israel has over American politicians.

BTW, what happened to Trump's America First and MAGA?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

BTW, what happened to Trump's America First and MAGA?

Look at the amount of money Sheldon Adelson and others pushing similar politics gave to Trump's election campaign. GoTrumpers (US and 'foreign') need to review the posts they've written saying Trump was too rich to be bought. Slimy businessman, slimier politician.

Does anyone know how many trump properties Jared's arranged for in Israel? Has anyone seen Trump's latest tax returns?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

No upside for the US, only downside.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Now that collusion with Russia has been ruled out, perhaps collusion with another foreign country should be investigated.

But that ain't gonna happen, the US is not a sovereign nation.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Syria will do what? Dear lord, they sure are suicidal.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Syria will do what? Dear lord, they sure are suicidal

I personally wouldn't put my money on it. I say this because Syria has proven it can withstand US+IS pressures. This is also the reason why I believe Israel has to consolidate and control the Golan Heights, else its very existence is at risk from Syrian+Iranian/Hezbollah.

As a side comment, the fact Trump has only just tweeted about it just go to show how 'slow' and 'casual' the US is to what is a very important territory for its best ally in the middle east, and it doesn't have that many there.

IMHO, if Israel fall, the western world will be seeing serious disruption to its petro-driven economies.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I wonder if Trump’s move on the Golan Heights has anything to do with the fact that Cheney, Rothschild and Murdoch are on the board of Genie Energy, an American-based oil and gas company, which was recently granted exclusive petroleum exploration rights to a 153-square-mile region of the Golan Heights by Israel.

https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/01/15/cheney-rothschild-fox-news-murdoch-drill-oil-syria-violating-international-law/

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Did an elephant just walk through the area?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Trump wants to build a tower there!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I wonder if Trump’s move on the Golan Heights has anything to do with the fact that Cheney, Rothschild and Murdoch are on the board of Genie Energy

Go ahead and do some googling, then see if you'd believe Genie and invest your money.

I've looked at it as DD for other investments, and I would not bet on it. Some are even saying most oil deposit in Israel are not commercially exploitable.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yet another stupid move from Trump. What an idiot.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is one of the issues on which I disagree with Trump. On one hand if Israel hands over the Golan Heights, it does make it harder to defend northern Israel. On the other hand it's not Israeli territory, it's Syrian territory.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yet another stupid move from Trump. What an idiot.

Trump wishes he can call it his move! A bit late to the party to claim credit or be blamed for it IMO.

Ted Cruz June 2018

http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/06/03/efforts-underway-to-secure-us-recognition-of-israeli-sovereignty-over-golan/

Senate bill Cruz, Cotton December 2018

https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2018/12/19/cruz-cotton-push-for-u-s-recognition-of-israeli-sovereignty-over-golan-heights/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is one of the issues on which I disagree with Trump. On one hand if Israel hands over the Golan Heights, it does make it harder to defend northern Israel. On the other hand it's not Israeli territory, it's Syrian territory

This is exactly how I feel as well, it's a balancing act to maintain peace and stability, and if the Syrian follows through with their threat, the middle east will become very messy again...I think it would have been better if Trump had let the issue slide under the radar because the main stream media didn't really pickup on it when Ted Cruz floated it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Trump's advisors believe that pandering to Jewish-American voters will somehow attract more of them to his base (as did the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem). It's part of an ongoing campaign to smear the Democratic party as being anti-semitic based on politically inexpedient remarks by two goofy first-term female congresswomen of the Muslim persuasion, but who hardly constitute a threat. Probably won't have much of an impact on 2020.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good timing, Syria is already badly beaten in civil war!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Russia can't really help Syria here since Russia did the same with Japan's Northern Territories after WW2 and de facto held it for decades, just like Israel took the Golan Heights in the 1967 war and de facto held it for decades

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Syria can vow all it wants. It’s not going to recover Golan any time soon.

It's part of an ongoing campaign to smear the Democratic party as being anti-semitic based on politically inexpedient remarks by two goofy first-term female congresswomen of the Muslim persuasion, but who hardly constitute a threat. 

No smear campaign. Democrat leaders gave tacit approval to those Congresswomen. They know they’ve got the secular liberal Jewish vote anyway. The religious Jewish vote they’ve already written off.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Trump's advisors believe that pandering to Jewish-American voters will somehow attract more of them to his base (as did the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem).

Obama was pandering the Muslim world to garner support as well as support to every foreign business investor. Every politicIan plays to their base.

It's part of an ongoing campaign to smear the Democratic party as being anti-semitic based on politically inexpedient remarks by two goofy first-term female congresswomen of the Muslim persuasion, but who hardly constitute a threat. Probably won't have much of an impact on 2020

The Democrat party is not Israeli friendly. They didn’t support the embassy move, they didn’t call and censure Congresswoman Omar for her anti-Semitic and racist comments single handedly, criticizes Israel’s Right to exist. This group of Democrats have been extremely outright hostile towards Israel and it's policies. The average Israeli doesn’t think US Democrats are fair and impartial or loyalty to the Jewish State.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Trump is so ridiculously unqualified to make such a decision it really isn't funny. Luckily his 'presidency' is just a temporary error that will be rectified next year (if not sooner) and all his stupid decisions will be reversed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Trump is so ridiculously unqualified to make such a decision it really isn't funny. Luckily his 'presidency' is just a temporary error that will be rectified next year

Probably not next year at the rate the Democrats are going, if they continue with their socialist and Marxist policies they might not even make 2024, so we have a lot of time.

(if not sooner) and all his stupid decisions will be reversed.

And remember, a Republican President can reverse your guys policies as well.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The loss of control over the Syrian Golan (and the Lebanese Farms) is something that the Israeli regime rightly fears. After all, in many ways the loss of control over the territory of its neighbors was the beginning of the end of the White State in South Africa. The other factor in the end of the second last surviving Apartheid regime was the change in the acceptability of blatant discrimination against people like those who were denied residency and voting rights by the regime in question amongst the populations of the foreign powers that propped up the regime. Whether Christchurch has pushed official Islamophobia into the unacceptable to the public territory in France, the UK, and the US remains to be seen, but that it is headed that way is pretty clear.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Armageddonists are probably ecstatic!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Israel was in no danger of losing the land. It should have been negotiated as part of a larger deal. Nothing at all on the ground has changed, the US loses it's credibility as a negotiating 3rd party, and just raises tensions. No upside.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Democrats are going, if they continue with their socialist and Marxist policies

This is literally not happening. Meanwhile, Trump's legitimising of the illegal land grabs will be yet another catalyst for dangerous upheaval in the region. Even more frightening is people like Pompeo, claiming that Trump is endorsed by a deity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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