Barak: Fall of Assad would be a 'blessing' for ME

Defense minister says Syrian regime could fall "within weeks," would be a "blow to the Iran-Hezbollah axis"; threatens that Gaza situation "can not continue"; calls for new international sanctions on Iranian regime.

By
December 11, 2011 20:18
2 minute read.
Ehud

Barak 311. (photo credit: Ariel Harmoni / Defense Ministry)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The regime in Syria is doomed to fall “within weeks,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday.

Speaking at the World Policy Conference in Vienna, Barak added that Bashar Assad’s fall would be a “blessing for the Middle East” and a “blow to the Iran-Hezbollah axis.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Barak downplays 'shadow war' against Iran

“We are witnesses these days to battles between Assad-family loyalists and rebel forces. This is a continuation of the deterioration of the regime’s hold on power.

Assad has already killed over 4,000 people in the streets of Syria, and his regime is heading towards its end,” the defense minister said.

Barak reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and declared his and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s willingness to immediately engage in direct negotiations, without conditions, with the Palestinian leadership.

However, he questioned the Palestinian commitment to compromise, saying that “Netanyahu declared a moratorium on settlement building for 10 months, and Israel does not build new settlements...

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Altogether settlements take up only 2 percent of the West Bank, and therefore I don’t accept the Palestinian claim that settlements are the obstacle to negotiations.”

Barak also spoke about the recent surge in attacks from the Gaza Strip. “Since Friday, 36 rockets have been fired at Israeli towns. Israel will defend its citizens and will not allow the situation to continue,” he said.

The defense minister added that even though Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip under prime minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan in 2005, “Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets at Israel.”

He said that extremist forces are actively working in Sinai, giving credence to a Jerusalem Post exclusive on Sunday that stated that Hamas has established forward bases and rocket production facilities in the peninsula, in an effort to protect them from Israeli air strikes.

Expressing his concern about Iran, Barak said the Islamic Republic is “the entire world’s problem” and called for an international effort to impose sanctions on the regime. “An Iranian nuclear weapon would change the entire Middle East and would start a regional nuclear arms race,” he said.

Speaking about Israel-Turkey relations, Barak said he regretted the loss of life in the Mavi Marmara incident, but did not regret the siege of Gaza.

According to Turkish media reports, President Abdullah Gul avoided entering the conference in Vienna at the same time as Barak. He also refused to attend a luncheon hosted by Austrian President Heinz Fisher, or take part in a group picture of leaders at the conference, because of Barak’s participation.

Barak responded by leaving the conference hall after Fisher delivered the opening address to the group, and before Gul spoke. The incidents indicate that there is still a diplomatic crisis with Turkey.

Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN