Ex-Mossad official: No military solution to Israel-Iran conflict in Syria

Israel and Iran are on a collision path. Iran wants to stay in Syria. We are determined not to allow them to stay there."

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May 9, 2018 16:02
2 minute read.
AN ISRAELI soldier stands next to the Golan border with Syria. Iran’s encroachments into Syria has l

AN ISRAELI soldier stands next to the Golan border with Syria. Iran’s encroachments into Syria has led to increased tensions.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Jerusalem and Tehran will eventually need to cut a deal regarding the current Syria conflict as “there is no military solution,” former Mossad official Sima Shine said on Wednesday.

Israel and Iran are “on a collision path... Iran wants to stay in Syria. We are determined not to allow them to stay there. If both sides adhere to their positions, there will be several rounds of conflict,” Shine, who is also the former deputy director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, said.

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“What will come at the end?” she asked and proposed that “as in all wars and conflicts... the solution is a political one. I am looking at what happens with the prime minister’s [current] visit in Moscow. I hope it will be different than the six to seven prior visits in Moscow which did not lead to a solution to the problems.

“The Americans are not here. So we don’t have an American-mediated solution to the problem, but I hope the Russians will... be part of a solution,” she said.

Shine also expressed doubts about a solution including Russia because of its co-dependent relationship with Iran.

“I believe we cannot make sure there are no Iranians staying in Syria,” the former Mossad agent emphasized and suggested that a three-part understanding between Israel and Iran could cool the conflict.

Such an understanding would first, clarify how far any Iranians who stay in Syria must be from the Israeli border; second, emphasize that there can be no missiles, drones or any similar level of Iranian weaponry brought or left in Syria; and third, specify how many Iranians and their proxies will stay in Syria in the long run – with a presumption that Iran will gradually reduce the numbers.

Moving on to the Iran nuclear deal, Shine criticized US President Donald Trump’s decision to leave it.
Trump quits Iran nuclear deal, reimposes sanctions on Tehran (Reuters)

“The decision yesterday to leave the nuclear agreement in the immediate term complicates the situation,” she said, arguing that the move meant the US had squandered its main leverage for pressuring Tehran regarding its actions in Syria and its ballistic missile testing.

“With the deal in place, Iran was more constrained. As time passes, as the secondary sanctions will bring Iran to a point in time where they are not benefiting anymore from the agreement...they will go back to... the nuclear project,” she said.

Shine was unclear about how far she thought Iran would move in the nuclear direction, saying she did not think it would immediately expel the IAEA inspectors and that she did not think Iran would “give a pretext to Israel to bomb it.

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