(January 8, 2019 / JNS) Former Israeli Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror said on Tuesday that the situation in Syria is “symbolizing the change in the Middle East” with Egypt and other counties working with Israel, a prospect that was once remote, in addition to its connection to other regional issues.
“Syria is symbolizing in a way the situation in the Middle East,” he said in a conference call hosted by the American Jewish Congress. “One is the fact that after the long [war] in Syria, the decision now is that [President Bashar] Assad is strong again, controlling part of the state,” thanks to support from Russia, in addition to Iran and its proxies, such as Hezbollah.
Amidror remarked that the U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Syria “means that the whole Kurdish area will be under threat from Turkey. And the question is: Is it good for the Middle East or it is bad for the Middle East?”
“The more the Turks will be inside Syria, this will be the winning of Assad to limit the Iranians because you need to balance between these forces and [the reaction] of the Russians,” he continued. “We are touching all these elements: the tension between the Sunnis and Shi’ites, Turkey versus Iran, and the war inside Syria between the Sunnis and the other minorities.”
The former Israeli military leader mentioned Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah El-Sisi acknowledging in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” the security alliance between his country and Israel to fight the Islamic State in the Sinai.
“The Air Force sometimes needs to cross to the Israeli side,” he said. “And that’s why we have a wide range of coordination with the Israelis.”
Amidror said, “At the same time that the Americans are puling out [of Syria], the Russians are coming in, pressure from Turkey, the Arab states, those states [that are trying] to keep the status quo … when they look around and ask themselves, ‘OK, with whom can we cooperate to contain Iran and fight ISIS, there is only one answer: Israel.”
“This is one of the big differences from the old Middle East and the new Middle East,” he said, “in which Arab states understand that for their benefits, not for the sake of the Palestinians and not for the sake of Israel. For their interests, they have to have different kinds of relations with the State of Israel. It is a new change in the situation of the Middle East.”