Intensive Israeli Effort to Convince Washington, Moscow of Iran Danger in Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel Syria
Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen (Gali Tibbon/Pool Photo via AP, File)

A delegation of Israeli defense officials are in the midst of an intensive, high-level lobbying campaign in Washington and Moscow to convince senior officials of the danger of allowing Iran to establish a base in Syria.

Mossad chief Yossi Cohen has already been in Washington four days, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intends to take him with him to Moscow later this week.

The Israeli delegation has been presenting documentary evidence of the massive flow of advanced weaponry and terrorist forces into various parts of Syria from Iran. Israel is particularly concerned about the recruitment and transport of fighters from Chechnya, Iran and elsewhere, under the aegis of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Along with Cohen, head of the IDF Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, and head of the Defense Ministry’s political-security department, Zohar Palti, have been meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Power, Mr. Trump’s special Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, and others.

Israel has made known its dissatisfaction with the ceasefire arrangements agreed to by the U.S. and Russia in southern Syria, which it says could allow Hezbollah forces to penetrate to the border with Israel on the Golan. So far, Washington and Moscow have reportedly brushed aside Israeli concerns, but the current efforts are designed to change that.