Assad Hits an Israeli Nerve in the Golan

After the weekend's bloody clash between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in the Golan Heights, Israel claimed the violence was being fomented by Syrian President Bashar Assad in an attempt to divert attention from Syria's own anti-government uprising and his heavy-handed attempts to crush it.

While such assertions may be impossible to prove, close observers says Syria suffers no shortage of motives to try to convince Israel of the danger that could lay ahead should Assad's government collapse.

"Basically what Assad is saying to the Israelis is, 'If I go down, you're entering the realm of the unknown with the Palestinians along the Golan,'" says Aram Nerguizian, a research fellow on Middle East and North African security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

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