Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime will be toppled within weeks, Defense
Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on
Barak said a deepening lack of unity and an increasing amount of
defectors from the Syrian Army will lead to Assad’s downfall.
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explained that it is difficult to predict what will happen after Assad falls
from power, but the expected anarchy that will follow may affect the security of
the Golan Heights.
According to Barak, Iran is uncomfortable with the
upheaval in the Middle East, and is sending aid to Syria and Assad’s family, in
an attempt to protect its strategic ties with Damascus.
Iran is also
facing increasing pressure from the international community, which recognizes
Tehran’s efforts to “protest and deceive” the world as it tries to obtain
nuclear weapons, he said.
Therefore, Barak explained, there is a new
opportunity to pressure Iran through diplomatic means, and Israel and the US see
eye-to-eye on this matter more than ever before.
“The US’s standing in
the world and the Middle East has been weakened,” he stated, “but it is still
the strongest power in the world.”
Although the US and other countries
will attempt to enforce sanctions on Iran’s central bank, Barak predicted that
such efforts will not lead Tehran to stop its nuclear program.
this, he said, it is important to try all available diplomatic
means. Barak said the central difficulty in increasing international
pressure and sanctions is that China and Russia are not cooperative.
defense minister also discussed changes in Egypt, pointing out that Islamist
parties gained more support than expected.
“It’s already clear that the
rising power in the Middle East, as a result of the current upheaval, is the
public and the streets, accompanied by Islamic forces gaining more influence,”
At the same time, he said, there is no way of knowing
how current trends will develop until the Middle East stabilizes.