Despite an ironclad gag order within Israel prohibiting publication of even a single detail of the “espionage” case against Sedki al-Maket, Hilal Halabi and several other Golani Druze, word is beginning to circulate in foreign media. Beyond the two posts here, and the original video aired on Syrian state TV, now Press TV has published new pictures showing IDF officers meeting in broad daylight at the Quneitra border-crossing. This further bolsters the claims of al-Maket and my own reporting here.
Given the orientation of the picture, it was clearly taken on the Israeli-occupied side of the ceasefire line. That means it’s likely an IDF soldier took the picture. That could be where Hilal Halabi comes in. He was arrested this week, presumably as part of the same case involving al-Maket. I speculated at the time that Halabi may’ve notified the Golani reporter about the nighttime meeting. It’s possible the soldier took this picture as well. These are educated guesses about how this could’ve played out.
The IDF-al Nusra collaboration is the region’s worst-kept secret: the IDF has made an alliance of convenience with al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, al-Nusra. It’s done this because it believes that Hezbollah, al-Nusra’s enemy, is a more dangerous adversary. Keep in mind, that when Hezbollah was first founded, the Mossad too made common cause with it against Israel’s then enemies, the Palestinians.
If Assad were ever overthrown and the Sunni-affiliated al-Nusra took over Syria or large portions of it, and its agenda transformed them into enemies of Israel, then Israel will be fighting the same conflict with al Nusra it’s now fighting with Hezbollah. God, doesn’t this get old to any Israeli strategists? Don’t they get deja vu regarding crap like this? Apparently not. They’re gluttons for ongoing punishment. Or else they need to have a potent enemy at hand to justify the garrison-perpetual-war state they’ve created.
In breaking this story, I’ve observed an important principle: Israeli intervention in regional affairs is almost always toxic. No matter what short-term interest Israel believes it’s advancing, invariably military alliances like this (and the one with the South Lebanese Army in the 1980s) go all to hell and blow up in everyone’s faces. To the argument pro-Israelists advance–that Israel has no choice since its enemies have their own proxies who intervene in Israel’s affairs–I say: do the deal you know must be made. Get right with your neighbors. Accept the Saudi peace plan. Give back the Golan. Then you will no longer have any powder kegs into which your enemies can throw matches.
For his troubles, Press TV’s Golan reporter received a ‘friendly’ visit from the IDF. They asked where he got the pictures (which means the army already knew they were legitimate). Then they warned him that he was under special observation. Given the IDF’s murder of journalists in Gaza during the summer war, such a warning is not an idle threat. Nor did the reporter take it that way.
UPDATE: Since writing the following, I’ve since identified the location of the photo, as I noted above.
I should also add that we do not know the provenance of these pictures. We don’t know who took them, when they were taken or where (by the way, if anyone reading this knows the Golan and can identify this border crossing, please be in touch).