Hezbollah and Iran were actively helping Syrian President Bashar Assad because of concern of losing a key ally if he falls, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Sunday as Israeli leaders unleashed a torrent of criticism both on Syrian policies and the world’s ineffective reaction to them.
“The Iranian government and Hezbollah sent troops, since they are very worried about the possibility that Assad will fall,” Ya’alon said.
“Therefore they are investing more than a little in arms, intelligence support and the active assistance of fighters for Assad’s regime.”
Ya’alon’s words added some detail to what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been saying for the last couple of weeks, and which he repeated Sunday: Iran and Hezbollah were actively assisting Assad in the butchering of his own people.
At the outset of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu again asserted that Iran and Hezbollah were assisting in the slaughter of children and the elderly in Syria.
“Today the world needs to see this axis of evil: Iran-Syria- Hezbollah,” he said. “The true face of this axis of evil is fully revealed for what it is, and everyone should understand the environment in which we live.”
Ya’alon said that the international community needed to take a more significant role in stopping the slaughter in Syria, both by increasing economic sanctions that will bring about the regime’s collapse, and through action.
“The pictures that are difficult to watch coming from Syria are further proof that the crazy regime of Bashar Assad needs to disappear from the stage, for the sake of the Syrian people,” he said.
“Our heart is with the Syrian people, but Israel is in a very sensitive position because any involvement on behalf of one side is liable to hurt that side.”
Netanyahu also called for more international involvement last week during an interview with the German daily Bild, but stopped short of calling for Western military intervention.
One of the West’s major concerns is the chemical weapons that are controlled by the Syrian government, Ya’alon said, adding he had no doubt that the Assad government would fall, but could not say how long it would take.
Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz also joined the Israeli chorus condemning Assad on Sunday, accusing him during an Israel Radio interview of committing genocide.
“A crime against humanity, genocide, is being conducted in Syria today. And the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic,” Mofaz said during an interview on Army Radio.
He said the world was making do with weak condemnations, rather than actively intervening to bring about Assad’s downfall.
“Worse than that is the Russian conduct, which weakly condemns the slaughter while continuing to arm Assad’s murderous regime,” he said.
Using harsh words, Mofaz said that in the best-case scenario this was irresponsible behavior, and in the worstcase it was “partnership in the slaughter.”
“We need to enlist the West. We need our voice to be heard. This slaughter is being carried out not far from Israel’s border,” he said.
While Israel cannot get involved for obvious reasons, Mofaz said the West and the US had a responsibility to ensure that genocide in Syria does not take place.