Israel Eyes Iranian Presence in Syria

(Ha'aretz) Sima Shine - In addition to Israel's reservations about the Iran nuclear deal, a weighty and more urgent issue is Iran's desire to establish a massive military presence, together with Hizbullah, in Syria. High-ranking Iranian figures, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, present this as a top security interest, in part as a counter to Israel. Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei's top foreign policy adviser, recently confirmed that Iran and Hizbullah will not leave Syria. The chief of staff of Iran's armed offices has said that Tehran may establish a naval base in Syria. An Iranian presence in Syria, particularly in the south, near the Golan Heights, has grave significance. It would create an additional front for Israel against Iran and Hizbullah that could lead to a possible future confrontation. An Israeli demand to include the removal of all foreign forces in any future agreement regarding Syria is vital to Israel's security, and should be made of both the Russians and the U.S. The writer, a senior research fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies, was a deputy director general in the Strategic Affairs Ministry and the head of the Mossad's research division.

2017-01-23 00:00:00

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