Damascus, September 7 – In what experts are calling a sea change in Middle East politics, a new study demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of Syrian civilians would prefer to die at the hands of Israel than in an attack by Assad’s forces.
A poll last week of nearly 7,000 Syrians found that 91%, or more than nine tenths, of respondents had a more favorable view of being killed by Israeli forces than by loyalist Syrian troops, with the most common explanation of the preference that Israel was less likely to use chemical weapons, barrel bombs, and summary execution of all combat-age males in a given area. Respondents also expressed confidence that the women and girls of the family and community would be less likely to be raped by Israeli soldiers than by either Assad’s soldiers or the various armed groups fighting his regime.
But by far the most common response to explain the preference involved international attention to the killings: a full seven eighths of those who expressed a preference for being killed by Israel cited the likelihood that the United Nations Security Council would act to ensure that the perpetrators of the killing would face consequences. Alternatively, the Human Rights Council would appoint an investigative commission to probe the killings. Neither of those has happened, or is likely to happen, through four years and nearly 200,000 Syrian lives lost in the conflict with Assad.
“We’re seeing a revolutionary development in Middle East affairs,” says Irel Levant, who is writing a book on the Syrian Civil War. “The safest place for Arabs in the entire region right now is Israel, an irony that is not lost on Syrians.” She added that another point in Israel’s favor is its non-membership in the Arab League, a body that has repeatedly demonstrated its uselessness in developing and implementing actual solutions to the problems facing the Arab world.
The survey results should not be interpreted to mean that Israel is actually viewed positively, warns Levant. “There’s quite a formidable distance between preferring to be killed by Israel and actually liking Israel. In a way, the preference parallels whether a person would choose to be killed in a natural disaster instead of massacred with his family by a bloodthirsty megomaniacal sociopathic nepotistic reactionary regime.”
9% of respondents declined to answer, as they were too busy beheading the other 91%.
Find more of David’s snark at PreOccupied Territory.