Syria has devolved into a morass of civil conflict, proxy wars, and an ostensive international effort to quash thriving terrorist groups, but one revelation might top the rest in potential contention: Israel has been covertly supporting Syrian rebels in the disputed Golan Heights territory — providing funds, fuel, food, and medical supplies — according to fighters insisting they’ve received such aid.
“But what makes these cases newsworthy is that the CIA has apparently turned its back on the two, offering no support and even cooperating with the plaintiffs by voluntarily turning over documents and refusing to supply CIA officers to serve as defense witnesses.
“Israel is opposed to the rule of Assad and his forces. It also sees militants belonging to Lebanese militia Hezbollah who support Assad’s regime forces as posing a threat to its security on the Golan Heights border.”
Fierce wrangling over Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights region surrounds rich hydrocarbon deposits and the rights for New Jersey-based Genie Energy, Ltd. — parent company of Afek Oil and Gas, and whose cadre of investors include Jacob Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney, and a number of others — to extract oil for transport and profit.
It could be no shock, then — given the potential for profiteering and political ramifications concomitant from safe fossil fuel extraction — Syrian rebels claim to be receiving such a high degree of assistance from the Israeli government.
“Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” asserted Moatasem al-Golani, spokesman for Fursan al-Joulan, or the Knights of the Golan, to the Wall Street Journal, adding the group of around 400 fighters receives $5,000 each month from the Israeli government — effectively ensuring its existence. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”
Fighters allege support began in earnest once the wounded were allowed to be treated in hospitals located inside Israel.
Although the WSJ did not name its sources — described albeit vaguely as “half a dozen rebels and three people familiar with Israel’s thinking” — that moderate rebels have been treated medically inside the border of Israel has long been known, making the account at least feasible, if not verifiable.
They claim, according to Haaretz, “Israel’s secret dealings with the rebels began as early as 2013 under former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and that they continue to this day, with the goal of keeping pro-Iranian groups, like Hezbollah, away from the border.”
Also unsurprising is Israel’s firm alignment with U.S. political aims to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — which, at least theoretically in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eyes, would prevent Hezbollah from securing a arms, supply, support, and transport line from Iran through to occupied Palestine and elsewhere.
Fursan al-Joulan, unlike other militant groups deemed “moderate rebels” by the West, does not receive similar support from coalition and allied entities, so Israel’s active assistance has literally kept the group from disbanding.
Beyond yearslong medical support for certain Syrian rebel groups, Israel claims only to have intervened directly in Syria’s quagmire upon ostensible threats to national security — primarily along the bordering, contentious Golan Heights.
Israel also asserts any funding crossing its border into Syria has been allotted for humanitarian reasons — a characterization disputed by Fursan al-Joulan, whose unnamed fighters told the Wall Street Journal Israeli funds are used for salaries and the purchase of munitions.
While the Israeli military refused to elaborate on supposed humanitarian assistance or comment on Fursan al-Joulan’s claims, Israel is “committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces … in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area.”
With the U.S. military now directly striking Assad’s forces in Syria — and the ultimate, longstanding goal of regime change not yet pulled from the table — news of contentious actor, Israel, directly supplying rebels intent on deposing the Syrian leader threatens to further destabilize an already-precarious powderkeg of hostilities in the war-ravaged nation.
Indeed, the downing of a Syrian military aircraft by the U.S. slid relations with regional proxy foe, Russia, further toward a nadir not even seen amid previous Red Scare tensions during the 1950s. Israel — being, of course, a nuclear power and itinerant if controversial friend to Washington — might yet find itself aligning with the U.S. against Moscow militarily should this simmering war by proxy abruptly explode into conflict on the scale of a world war.