It is curious how Arab leaders are voicing their umbrage in response to President Trump’s acknowledgment of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. These are the same Arab leaders that have isolated Syria, denounced Hezbollah and have developed covert links to Israel in the hopes of countering Iran. One wonders why, then, these leaders are now throwing their hands up in the air over the issue of the Golan Heights.
Firstly, it is important to remember that the Golan Heights was carved up by colonial powers and gifted to the newly created Arab Syrian Republic in 1924. It is not some sort of everlasting piece of an ancient nation. No, the modern Syrian state is a recent creation just like all the other nations in the region. Carved, cut and divided from the corpse of the Ottoman Empire, the Syrian state and her borders are a modern concoction. It is therefore preposterous to hear people discuss the Golan Heights as if it were eternally bound to Syria. It is also important to remember that Israel gained control of the Golan Heights as a response to constant threats from the Syrian state. Had Syria not attacked Israel constantly, it would still maintain control of the Golan Heights. But that is not what happened. The Golan Heights served as a launching point for attacks against Israel, and Israel was completely justified in capturing this strategic outpost. The Syrians have no one to blame but themselves for their territorial loss.
History aside, the more pressing fact is that there are no alternative options for the Golan Heights. The Syrian state has ravaged itself beyond recognition, and the forces of the Syrian Arab Republic have massacred hundreds of thousands of civilians. The barbarity of the Syrian regime even shocked the Arab world, hence why the state is banished from many regional organizations. So why, then, are these Arab leaders complaining now? Would they rather have this pariah state in charge of the Golan Heights?
The Arab world is now waking up to the imminent threat posed by the Iranian regime. If Syria regained control of the Golan Heights, the Iranians would dig deeper into the region. Iranian forces would also gain access to vital water sources that supply not only Israel but the Palestinians and Jordanians as well. Would the King of Jordan rest easy knowing that the fanatical Ayatollahs in Tehran had their claws on regional water supplies? Doubtful. And it is evidently clear what the Iranians would do if they set foot onto the Golan Heights. They would do there what they have done in Lebanon: Create a launching pad for regional instability. Attack tunnels would be dug, missile silos would be built and targets would be pinned on countless spots in northern Israel. While these facts may not cause concern in the hearts and minds of the Arab leaders, they should not think that they are immune from Iranian plots and schemes. Iran missiles can just as easily be aimed at Amman, Riyadh and Jeddah. Before launching into tirades, the Arab world should really stop and think about what an alternative to Israeli control over the Golan Heights would mean for the region as a whole.