February 12, 2019
An Israeli senior security official, who remains unnamed by media reports, made a remarkable note on Israel’s policy on curbing the entrenchment of Iran in Syria, saying that Tel Aviv did nothing to cut back on Tehran’s “civilian role in Syria,” especially on reconstruction.
But the official said Iran’s partaking in reconstruction efforts in Syria is only warranted so long it does not aid its expansive military policy in the Levantine country.
“We are adhering to our strict position against the Iranian military position in Syria. If reconstruction is a cover for Iranian military activity, we will treat it as a military action by all standards. We will fight it in every possible way,” the official said.
These remarks, according to media leaks, were made during a defense meeting with the Israeli army Chief of Staff on evaluating regional developments, the defeat of ISIS and, US withdrawal from Syria and re-coordination of Russian-Israeli security in the Middle East.
Israeli security officials have been balancing out on contradictions within the Russian-Iranian alliance. Iran and Russia are partners in certain number of common objectives, such as maintaining the Syria regime under Bashar Al Assad, but they stand on opposing sides on other matters.
“Russia is not interested in full Iranian control over Assad, a key Tehran goal. Moscow also is not concerned with war breaking out with Israel over the Iranian ambitions to settle inside Syria—neither is it satisfied with Iranian efforts to expand influence in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. The Iranians know it well,” the Israeli official said.
As for Syria’s ties with Arab countries, the official noted that Damascus will be spiting its Iranian ally should it move towards restoring ties with fellow Arab states.
Nevertheless, the official noted that Syria remains, “after all, an Arab country and Iran knows that.”
There is no doubt that its return to the Arabs will be at the expense of some of the Iranian influence. The Israeli official also shed light on the potential of a Syrian-Iranian conflict breaking out, especially that many reports on misconduct and aggressive behavior being detected on behalf of Iranian forces led by the notorious Quds Force Chief Qassem Soleimani against Syrian recruits.