Night RAID: Syria is again under rocket attack
On the night of April 17, the Syrian military airfield “Sirat” which suffered from the attack. According to Arab media, the attack made the Israeli air force. This country is not at war with Syria, but tel Aviv said it would hinder the strengthening in Syria Iranian influence.
Why Israel fears the presence of Iran in Syria, “Газете.Ru” said the former head of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, major General Danny Yatom.
Arab portal “al-Masdar” referring to Syrian military said that the RAID on the military airfield “Shirt” made of the Israeli air force, although this information is not confirmed by the Israeli army. The portal noted that the Israeli air force carried out a second attack on Syria in the last week. Earlier it was reported that two F-15 Israel struck eight missiles on the airfield “Tifor”.
Correspondent “Газеты.Ru” talked about the situation in the region with the former head of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad Dani Yatom.
— Do you see any possibility of conflict or even war, given the situation around Syria?
— No one today can exclude the possibility of war. I think none of the players — even Iran do not want war. However, given that the situation is tense, it may worsen due to the inability to find a common language.
If Iran continues to strengthen presence in Syria, we will continue to attack Iranian positions and infrastructure that will lead to war.
Another question: what will be this war? The Iranians can use rockets and missiles at them a bit, they’ll probably resort to the help of Hamas and Hezbollah, who have missiles, mostly short range, but there are those that can strike at Israel. I think the Iranians themselves would send fighters of Hezbollah (the Lebanese paramilitary organization which operates in Syria — “Газета.Ru”) from Syria in South Lebanon to resist Israel.
— What in this case would be Israel’s actions?
— We then can sit idly by and probably even launch a preemptive strike to break the plans of the Iranians. I don’t know if such a campaign to include the use of ground forces. I do not advocate the use of ground forces, because Lebanon is a very difficult place for the use of military equipment. In addition, there may be another element — the destruction of the infrastructure of any party that will help Hezbollah to carry out the transfer of troops. If we have to bomb the water tanks Hezbollah, we will do it.
We — the Israelis — don’t want any clashes with the Russian military, but we cannot allow the Iranians to create a hostile infrastructure. And if there will be a new front on the Golan heights, it will make our defensive situation is dire.
— Iran’s influence in Syria is growing. What are the goals of Tehran?
— There are a few things that are important to Iranians. This idea of export of revolution, in which they believe the Iranian elite. In addition, Iran wants to become a regional superpower, and it prevents Israel. We see the influence of Iran in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and the desire to threaten Israel from the Golan heights. They are arming Hezbollah and Hamas, eager to use them against Israel. Also the Iranians have always wanted to have access to the Mediterranean sea.
— If we talk about the future of Syria, whether the occurrence at the place of Syria in different States to help resolve the conflict?
It’s possible, I wouldn’t have been deleted. Of course, it is hard to imagine what would happen if Assad will remain with the people who represent other groups. For example, the Sunnis, and their 80%. Will they obey him after what he did against them?
It is also difficult to imagine that Syria will remain United. For Israel, this would be a good idea as we can have with them good relations.
Syria, divided into enclaves will be weaker militarily than the country, which it was in 2011.
— You talked a lot with the Americans. The US is responsible for everything that happened in the middle East? The invasion of Iraq, for example, which also indirectly led to today’s events.
— I think it’s not without reason: the US made a lot of mistakes. After the war in Iraq, they destroyed the Iraqi armed forces, and what happened — suddenly hundreds of thousands of people who served in the army, was thrown on the street. And their decision was to join the terrorist groups to attack Americans. USA were to remove the top generals, replacing them with others, leaving the military untouched. This error has helped to strengthen [the terrorist organization], “al-Qaeda”, which at first was called “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” and then became “Islamic state” (all three of these groups banned in Russia — “Газета.Ru”).
It was the first error and the second is that the United States began to leave the Middle East when [ex-President Barack] Obama and, unfortunately, [President Donald] trump continues this [strategy]. It’s very sad because the middle East is a strategic point and if the US will lose influence in the middle East, they will become weaker globally, and it will give the trump card of Russia. And if countries in the Middle East will become Pro-Russian, not Pro-Western, it will play against US interests.
Many years ago, in 2008, you said that Israel and Syria can make peace. To look back why it didn’t happen?
— When I talked about the possibility of making peace with Syria, they talked about achieving peace with the father of Bashar [al-Assad] — Hafez al-Assad. We started negotiations with him, I’m in Washington held talks with the head of the General staff of Syria.
Then they continued with Bashar, but he was less sure, but we were very close to reach the world. However, the document, which contained negotiating positions of the parties, became public, and it destroyed the negotiation process.
However, if we talk in a broad sense, the “Arab spring” (a series of uprisings in the middle East in 2010, which began with Egypt. — “Газета.Ru”) killed the peace process and almost destroyed the Bashar [Assad]. It was a real surprise for everyone: for the Syrians, to the Egyptians, the Israelis, to Russians, to Americans.
Nobody thought that the people will suddenly rise — intelligence agencies there did not betray much importance to social networks. We didn’t think would happen. If you asked our people how much they appreciated [former President Hosni] Mubarak, they would you a week before of what happened said it was a strong leader who relies on strong party and a strong military.