By Simon Fischler
The brutal onslaught by the Sunni militia ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and greater Syria) that has conquered large swaths of Syria and Iraq should be an example to the Druze living on the Golan Heights of Israel.
In less than two weeks, ISIS has routed the feeble, Iranian-backed Shia government of Iraqi president Nouri al-Malaki.
Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell as Iraqi soldiers laid down their weapons and uniforms, and ran for their lives. Those who stayed were either killed by the ISIS in battle or were executed on video for all their family to see.
ISIS claims they executed 1,700 Shias in just one day. The number may be exaggerated, but anyone who has been following the disaster in Syria knows about the mutual executions that have been carried out between Hezbollah, a fervent Shia terrorist organization, and the numerous Sunni organizations. They also know that the number is not too far off ISIS’s claim.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah and Iran are barely hanging on in Syria. And this is with the military help of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Russia is now faced with a major military problem thanks to the over ambitiousness of Putin. The annexation of the Crimean peninsula has cost Putin more than he could have ever imagined, and the weaponry and funds he has been flooding into Syria will eventually come to a halt.
Iran has been bleeding daily in Syria; the supposed elite Republican Guard has been fighting poorly against a bunch of Sunni militias that can barely work together. Iran, to its surprise, has seen a friendly Shia government in Iraq lose more than half the country in less than two weeks, much closer to the Iranian border, brining back terrible memories of the long war fought with Iraq.
The point coming out of Iraq should be very clear for the Druze living freely under the protection of Israeli democratic law in the Golan Heights. There is only one country that has the strength to protect them and guarantee them their liberty and ability to live their lives freely, and that is Israel.
It is time for the Druze of the Golan Heights to give up any ludicrous dreams of Israel giving back land to Syria that is without a doubt Israel’s to keep. The majority of the people living on the Golan Heights today are Jewish. There has also been a surge of Golan Druze requesting Israeli citizenship. Thanks to the Arab Spring (which should really be called the Arab Winter of Demise) and the destruction and chaos running wild in the Arab world, Israel cannot even think of signing peace agreements with its neighbors. Arab Governments are rising and falling faster than dominoes.
But the Druze of the Golan face a bigger problem, one that only Israel can solve.
Since the aggression carried out by Egypt, Syria and Jordan that led to the 1967 Six Day War, the Druze of the Israeli Golan have been cut off from their brethren living inside of the Syrian-occupied Heights. It is now time for Israel to re-unite these communities.
At the moment, Sunni Jihadist militias have occupied many of the Druze villages on the Syrian side. Many Druze have been forced to convert or face execution.
If Israel were to take the initiative it could free the Druze villages from these oppressive groups using the Harev battalion, the Israeli Druze battalion of the IDF.
This would be to the great benefit of the Golan Druze and to the State of Israel.
It would push back those who have been launching rockets, mortars and other weaponry into Israel while re-uniting the Druze. When this is done, Israel could give the Druze full autonomy, like the Kurds of Iraq.
Under these circumstances, the Druze, knowing their families are completely safe and protected, would want to integrate into Israel and would claim Israeli citizenship. After building many relationships inside the Golan Druze community, I can say I have heard this from every side of the political coin, even those who claim to love Syria.
It is high time that the Golan Druze and the State of Israel work to make this dream come true.