Former Netanyahu security adviser Yaakov Amidror feels that the Syrian cease fire will result in an “inevitable war” between Israel and Iran. On a conference call with the media, he painted a gloomy picture which echoed what Netanyahu said earlier.
The Israeli leader doesn’t trust the Russians as they’ve supported embattled President Assad who is allied with Iran, and Israel’s hated enemy Hezbollah.
Iran is trying to build “an air base in Syria” and provide additional weaponry to terrorists in Lebanon in an apparent effort to threaten Israel from two directions, according to the Netanyahu ally. This fear has been brewing in U.S. and Israeli circles for years, but the Israelis think the terms of a nascent Syria ceasefire negotiated by the Trump administration, Russia and Jordan exacerbates the danger.
“Israel should take care for its strategic goal and this is to prevent the Iranians and Hezbollah from building launching pads in Syria,” Yaakov Amidror, who counseled Netanyahu from 2011 to 2013, told reporters on a conference call hosted by The Israel Project. “If [the Iranians] begin to build infrastructure which might be used against Israel in Syria and will connect this land corridor into Iraq and begin to move materials from this area into Syria, that will make the war inevitable.”
U.S. officials in both parties have raised the same concerns. “A permanent Iranian military base in Syria, potentially near the border with Israel or Jordan, would increase Iran’s operational capacity to inflict serious damage against two of our closest allies in the region,” Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., wrote in a May letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Netanyahu lobbied throughout the talks for Russia and the United States to keep Iran away from Israel’s border and said Russian forces ought not to be trusted to police the southern Syria safe zone. But Israeli officials say their position was ignored in the final agreement.
“The agreement as it is now is very bad,” an official told Haaretz. “It doesn’t take almost any of Israel’s security interests and it creates a disturbing reality in southern Syria. The agreement doesn’t include a single explicit word about Iran, Hezbollah or the Shi’ite militias in Syria.”
Russia and Iran have fought to protect Syrian President Bashar Assad for years, particularly after then-President Barack Obama declined to attack the Syrian regime in 2013 in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Tillerson’s ceasefire negotiations may have been influenced by the Trump administration’s overall determination to limit U.S. military deployments to Syria.
With the Islamic State’s defeat in Syria, the civil war against Assad will continue. And many in the US and Israeli governments feel the only ones who will benefit from this cease fire is the Iranians.
Then the only questions remain whether Israel will stand by and let Iran build an airbase on their border. And what the results will be if they decide to take action.
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