Israel planned the war on Syria years ago, and put pressure on Washington long before Washington’s announcement of “credible evidence of chemical weapons use” by Syrian forces, despite a dearth of actual hard evidence revealed…
November 2, 2010
In farewell meeting at the Knesset, Gen. Amos Yadlin says next conflict will hit Israel far harder than recent wars in Lebanon and Gaza – and hints for first the time at Israeli involvement in a 2007 strike on a nuclear plant in Syria…
In a final meeting at the Knesset, outgoing Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin warned on Tuesday that Israel’s next war would be fought on several fronts – causing far heavier damage and casualties than other recent conflicts. A new war would be far deadlier than Israel’s last two, relatively short, conflicts in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-9. Syria, particularly, posed a greated military obstacle to Israel than at any time in the past three decades, Yadlin said, having amassed advanced Russian-built antiaircraft missiles that seriously limited the operational freedom of the Israel Air Force. Yadlin also hinted at Israel’s involvement in attacking a Syrian nuclear facility in September 2007. That strike has been widely attributed to Israel, but the government has never officially taken responsibility for the operation. The veteran soldier, who turns 60 next year, told the committee that during his position as MI chief he had contended with two enemy nuclear programs – apparently a reference to Iran and Syria. Yadlin also warned of a growing threat from the Iranian nuclear program, saying Iran now had enough highly enriched uranium to build a bomb.
December 14, 2011
‘Israeli officials say Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is doomed’
JERUSALEM —In a shift, Israeli officials are welcoming the prospect that Syria’s embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, will be overthrown, an event Defense Minister Ehud Barak says could be weeks away.
The officials’ new tone contrasts with conventional thinking here in years past, when Assad was credited with maintaining calm along the frontier with the Israeli-held Golan Heights and considered a stable alternative to a possible takeover by Islamic fundamentalists.
As Assad has come under mounting pressure from a revolt at home and moves to isolate him abroad, initial wariness by Israeli officials of speaking publicly about the fate of his regime has given way to open speculation about how long he can hold on to power, who might replace him and the possible risks of a chaotic disintegration of his rule.
“Basically, it’s inevitable,” Barak said in a telephone interview before flying Wednesday to Washington for meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other administration officials. “The Assad family, through their own behavior, have lost their last drop of legitimacy and put themselves beyond the point of no return with their brutal slaughter of their own people. He has ceased to be something relevant.”
“It might take many weeks,” Barak added, “but it’s not a matter of months or years.”
In a separate interview, Moshe Yaalon, the minister of strategic affairs, said: “It’s a matter of time and bloodshed before we will witness Assad’s departure. That is our assessment.”
Obama administration officials have expressed equal certainty that Assad will eventually leave, but they and Arab countries that are trying to persuade him to stand down anticipate a far longer timeline extending well into next year.
“Our view is that this regime is the equivalent of [a] dead man walking,” Frederic Hof, the State Department’s point man for Syria, told a congressional subcommittee Wednesday. “But the real question is, how many steps remain?”
“I think it is very, very, very difficult to predict or project how much time this regime has,” Hof said.
Hof fended off calls by lawmakers to provide military support to the Syrian opposition, saying it is not yet unified and needs to gain the support of frightened minorities convinced by Assad that their rights won’t be respected in any new government. Promoting a violent response from heretofore peaceful demonstrators would play into Assad’s hands, he said.
A ‘major blow’ for Iran
Barak predicted that an eventual ouster of Assad would undermine an alliance of Israel’s enemies, including militant Islamist groups in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, backed by Iran and Syria, that have fought Israel across its northern and southern borders.
“When the Assad family falls, it will be a major blow to the radical axis led by Iran,” Barak said “It will weaken Iran, it will weaken Hezbollah and weaken the backing for Hamas, and it will deprive the Iranians of a real stronghold in the Arab world. It will strengthen Turkey, which is a natural rival to Iran’s hegemonic intentions. This is something positive for Israel.”
Photo: Jim Hollander/AP – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, second from left, now thinks it’s inevitable that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad will be deposed. He also predicts that Assad’s removal would undermine an alliance of Israel’s enemies.
28 April 2013
‘Netanyahu tells Israeli ministers to stay silent on Syria’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his ministers to keep silent about Syria to avoid the impression Israel is pushing the international community into armed intervention, army radio said Sunday.
Netanyahu gave the instructions after Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin suggested the international community might react militarily to “take control of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal.”
The radio station reported Netanyahu sought to avoid that Elkin’s words be seen as an Israeli attempt to push the United States into launching a military operation in Syria.