The Deadly Golan Protests: Anti-Israel Eruption Gives Syria’s Regime a Welcome Diversion

When Syrian tanks and soldiers poured into the rebellious southern flashpoint city of Dara’a last month, the Twittersphere lit up with wry comments like “Hey army, that’s Dara’a, not the Golan!” mocking the fact that the same army shooting its own people hadn’t fired a bullet in decades to liberate the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 war and still the center of the long-simmering conflict between Israel and Syria. In fact, Damascus has long worked hard to ensure the strategic plateau remained one of the quietest border areas in the Middle East, branding the area a military zone and maintaining tight control.