by: Yoav Zitun, Tova Tzimuki and Moran Azulay
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 | Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared on Tuesday that if he was to choose between Iran and ISIS—“I prefer ISIS.”
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies’ (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv, Ya’alon sought to clarify that “Iran is our main enemy, after I heard voices saying different things.”
The defense minister was likely referring to comments made by IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at the conference on Monday, who declared that “there are opportunities in the nuclear agreement with Iran. Hezbollah—that is the most serious threat.”
Tehran, he said, “is a rogue regime with designs on a regional hegemony. Hezbollah is Iran’s proxy, with the ability to declare war. Iran currently has terror infrastructure in place in five continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and both in South and North America.”
The nuclear agreement signed between the Islamic Republic and world powers, the defense minister said, “pushed back the clock from three months to one year. If Iran feels economically secure, it can breakout and produce a bomb even faster.”
Ya’alon doesn’t put much stock in the Russians’ ability to retake Syria from jihadists—including ISIS—who took over large swaths of land. “The Russians thought they’d get to the Euphrates River in three months,” he said, noting the Russian army is not reaching its goals and failing to achieve much in the Golan Heights.
“There are achievements in the fighting against ISIS—led by the US,” Ya’alon said. “ISIS is suffering serious defeats in Iraq and Syria.”
“We believe ISIS will be eventually defeated territorially after the blows it has been suffering, and in light of the attacks on its oil reserves,” he added.
The strategy in Syria, he said, should be “to strengthen local forces with ‘boots on the ground,’ like the Kurds are doing.”
Posted on January 20, 2016
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