Former National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror said on Monday that if necessary Israel will act to prevent Iran and Hezbollah from gaining a military foothold in southern Syria near the Golan Heights.
In the event that the U.S.-Russian arrangement on Syria does not provide guarantees for Israeli security on the border, “that might lead the IDF to intervene and destroy every attempt to build [permanent Iranian] infrastructure in Syria,” Amidror said.
The statement echoed that of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who declared on Sunday while in Paris that Israel opposes the U.S.-Russian-brokered cease-fire in Syria because it perpetuates Iran’s military presence in the country.
“We will not let the Iranians and Hezbollah be the forces that will win the very brutal war in Syria” and then turn their guns on Israel, said Amidror, now a fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies who has remained in touch with PM Netanyahu.
While in recent days, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others have been saying that Iran is essentially in compliance with the nuclear agreement signed two years ago, and that it has proven beneficial for Israel, Amidror sees it differently.
He said that the deal has served as a springboard for further Iranian penetration in the Mideast, putting them on the verge of attaining the strategic objective of a land corridor from Tehran, through Baghdad to Damascus and the Mediterranean.
“The ability of the Iranians to do what they are doing now in Syria and Iraq, and be involved in both Syria and Iraq, and their relations with Hezbollah, it is all built on the legitimacy they gained from this [nuclear] agreement,” he said.
Amidror did not dispute Iranian compliance with the agreement. But he argued that it is not a good thing. Rather, it is in the Iranian interests to abide by it, since it gives them time to expand their influence in the region. After the agreement terminates, they can then finish their nuclear project in a much-improved geopolitical position.
“The agreement is the source of all the problems ,” he said. “It is even more dangerous than we imagined when signed.”