Beyond the present to Benyamin Netanyahu, this statement must be contextualised within the American policy agenda in the Middle East and particularly in Syria. It comes as an answer that must be found to the fact that Iran and Russia are maintaining Assad in power - that being seen as a failure for the United States and their European allies. Russia now cultivates close ties with Israel, which has become a more and more Russian country. Indeed, from 1988 to 1998, over a million Russians arrived in Israel, and the population of Russian origin now constitutes nearly 20% of the country. There is a privileged, even trilateral, relationship between Netanyahu and Trump and between Netanyahu and Putin: they are authoritarian, have the same language, the same political culture, and are the bearers of an illiberal democracy model. In the same vein, Israel also has privileged relations with Narendra Modi in India and Xi Jinping in China. Israel has therefore managed to emerge from its diplomatic isolation, but has done it, some would say, in the wrong way, since the world has evolved in a way that favours respect for force above all.
While Israel and Iran are sworn enemies, none of them really want a war. Israel is aware of the difficulty of destroying Iran's nuclear arsenal, and the Iranians, whose regime is weakened by its isolation, are aware that Israeli military superiority remains.
Trump therefore wants to show that he still exists in the Middle East, since he can influence the Israeli elections. The idea is also that for Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, the best enemy is Donald Trump’s best ally, namely Benyamin Netanyahu.
How does the resurgence of this question impact the Syrian conflict and Bashar al-Assad's position on the domestic and international scenes?
The recognition of Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights reinforces the argument of the "axis of resistance" (Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas). It constitutes such a flagrant denial of law that it can only exacerbate hostility towards Israel and American policy in the region, from Arabs and a fortiori Syrians. It is therefore a gift mainly to Iran and thus, subject to one aspect to which I will return in a moment, to Bashar al-Assad. All the more so since the State Department's statement invokes the Iranian threat to the Golan as a justification for President Trump's decision: this can only strengthen the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic as a leader in defending the rights of Arabs.
As was the case when the American Embassy was transferred to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan will be a setback in the movement that was observed - and which remains part of Trump's plan for the Middle East - to bring the Gulf States closer to Israel.
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