Daily Israel Report

Former Mossad Chief: Syria is Iran's Achilles Heel

Syrian unrest an "enormous opportunity," says Efraim Halevy. "What happens in Damascus will impact all the Middle East."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/2/2012, 5:18 PM

Ephraim Halevy at the Herzliya Conference
Ephraim Halevy at the Herzliya Conference
IDC Herzliya

Efraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad, said the Syrian situation is Iran's Achilles heel.

Halevy identified Syria as being a key to the current Middle East situation, saying: "If there is a change in Syria, this will have wide international ramifications… The future of what happens in Damascus will impact all of the Middle East."

The countries of the world, "and to some extent Israel," he said, make the mistake of seeing "Iran as a problem of Iran and Syria as a problem of Syria."

Instead, he explained, the world should be worrying about Iran's presence in Syria and whether this would continue, "We should have a main interest in ensuring that the Iranian interest is booted out of Syria. Look at Syria and see it as the Achilles heel of Iran" and as an "enormous opportunity."

"In facing Iran, like facing any other threat," he said, "we should look at where there is vulnerability and where [we can] gain maximum effects… not only regionally but internationally."

Halevy disagreed with those who have been saying that the sanctions regime against Iran have been ineffective. "The people on the streets of Iran," said Halevy, "would attest to its effectiveness."

As to whether things were moving fast enough with regard to action against Iran, Halevy said: "They never move fast enough." However, he added, "we're not doing all that bad… we need to look at the sunny side of the situation."

Helevy also said Israel and the world should "avoid self victimization. We're not victims. We should talk like a power, we should act like a power and we should gain results like a power."