'High price for WMD use will deter other leaders weighing attack on Israel'

Former MI chief Yadlin says potential US strike on Syria will deter those contemplating use of unconventional weapons against Israel; argues it is vital for Israel that "Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah axis" not win in Syria.

Amos Yadlin 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Amos Yadlin 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A US strike on Syria will reinstate American deterrence in the region and will dissuade other leaders contemplating an unconventional attack on Israel, a security expert said on Sunday.
Former Military Intelligence chief and the director of the Institute for National Security Studies, Amos Yadlin, and INSS researcher Avner Golov published a paper outlining where Israel’s short-term and long-term interests lay in the context of a possible US strike on Syria.
The most important Israeli interest in terms of a strike “is that it creates an unequivocal clarification that the price of unconventional weapons is high. This interest is important for the deterrence of all Middle Eastern leaders who are contemplating the possible use of unconventional weapons against Israel,” Yadlin and Golov wrote.
From a broader perspective, it’s important for Israel that the US once again positions itself as an actor with strategic influence in the Middle East, and improves its regional credibility and deterrence in the region in relation to conventional and unconventional conduct by its rivals, they added.
American credibility and deterrence suffered an erosion throughout the period of Arab unrest in the past three years, the paper said, and cited “public declarations by administration officials, who called for decreasing American involvement in the region, as well as a strategic shift towards east Asia” as causes.
Reinstating American deterrence will strengthen Washington’s status and the status of its allies, Israel among them, within the context of the struggle between the moderate camp and the radical camp in the region, it continued.
Israel has a supreme interest in safeguarding the quiet on its borders and with its neighbors, the former military intelligence chief stated. “Continuing the calm security routine with Lebanon and Syria… is a moral, security, and economic interest. Israel must avoid as much as it can being dragged into the Syrian civil war.
“If Israel is attacked, the decision on an Israeli response does not have to be automatic, and as long as there is no significant harm to Israel, the attack can be contained,” the paper said.
Meanwhile, Iran is observing events in Syria and is examining the American response, according to Yadlin.
“For Israel, it is very important that Iran sees high determination in Washington to keep presidential promises on red lines, as Tehran weighs its policy on the American red line against it, meaning preventing Iran from going militarily nuclear. The actions of [US President Barack Obama] and the cooperation he will obtain with his Western and regional allies will have implications for the Iranian nuclear issue,” they wrote.
In the long run, “it is vital for Israel that the fighting in Syria does not end with a victory for the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah axis,” they added.
Furthermore, they stated, an Assad victory with strengthen Israel’s enemies in the region, chief among them Hezbollah, and encourage the isolated Hamas to once again loyally serve the Iranian patron. Israel has a clear interest in safeguarding the trend that is seeing these terrorist organizations grow weaker.