Israel-Syria clash marks a new phase in the region, says Lebanese politician

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BEIRUT: Former Lebanese MP Fares Souaid said that what happened in the early morning of Saturday between Syria and Israel “marks a new phase in the region, especially after the visit of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield to Lebanon.”

Souaid told Arab News: “Downing the F16 Israeli jet means that Iran says that it has the political decision to shoot the plane down, and this means that there is a change in the rules of engagement which will take the region to a new stage that could aim to improve negotiations of the new phase.”

“Iran says that it is capable of changing the balance of power. The Israeli side says that it is the victim, and the US has the role of deciding on the issue and will implement the new phase,” he said.
As for the role of Russia, Souaid said: “I do not believe that the Russians have the ability to exert any influence.”

And as far as the effects of the events on Lebanon, he thinks that “Iran is targeting Israel from Syria and Lebanon, and the question is whether UN Resolution 1701 remains relevant and how it can be dealt with. Lebanon’s argument is weak on the issue of the construction of the Israeli concrete wall unless Israel builds it in the disputed points between Lebanon and Israel, and Satterfield’s visit to Lebanon was meant to prepare for US Secretary of State Tillerson’s visit to Lebanon. Tillerson is working on a settlement for the Middle East crisis, and the features of this settlement began with President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

“Since the US declaration on Jerusalem, two positions have emerged. The first of which came from Hezbollah in southern Beirut, when it called on the factions and fighters to prepare for the major war, as he called it, for the march to Jerusalem; and the second position was announced by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from Al-Azhar, where he said that there is no alternative to peace, and called upon Muslims and Christians to visit Jerusalem,” he said

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