'Israel is capable of bringing down Assad'

Israel can bring down Assad, but if Russia joins the fight, the US will need to join, too. Opinion.

Res. Major-General Amos Yadlin,

Amos Yadlin
Amos Yadlin
Kobi Richter/ TPS

Two significant events are developing in the north: The US is discussing operations against Syria, after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons; and Iran is discussing a response to Israel's alleged attack on the T-4 airbase in Homs.

These two events seem to be separate, but they could consolidate into a very significant development.

The Iranians will respond to the alleged Israeli attack, even if not immediately, and even if not from Iran. Possible options include Syria, Lebanon, or around the world, and in addition to their usual emissaries, they will want to include an official Iranian response to the murder of their soldiers, in an effort to deter Israel from further harming Iranian bases in Syria.

Israel, meanwhile, has declared publicly that its strategic goals are to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria, and to cancel the 2015 "Iran deal." Both of these goals are important to Israel, and they aim to prevent enormous dangers in the future, even if they include dangers in the present.

We need to prepare for the next possible steps in this operation, including for our enemies' response, and Iran's possible establishment [in the area] in the future.

Israel is capable of dealing with many threats on its own - and if necessary, could deal with Assad's regime, and even topple it. However, if the escalation to open conflict with Iran continues, or brings in Russian interference - Israel will need US aid.

Here, too, the Israeli and American interests are similar. It's very important to strategically coordinate with the US, in preparation for such a scenario.

Regarding an expected US attack in Syria: US President Donald Trump has a few options. He can decide on a punitive act, such as the one last year. But true deterrence will be achieved only with a widescale and continuing operation. That is possible, but only if the strategic goals in Syria are widened to include, other than the conflict with ISIS, the goal of stopping Iran.