WASHINGTON – Far more than terrorism, the constant threat of Iran remains Israel’s preoccupying concern, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan told a Washington think tank this week.Speaking to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the former deputy chief of IDF staff said that terrorist organizations strike a particular chord in the United States due to the nation’s traumatic experiences incurring attacks.“All nations on Earth think in terms of trauma. And when you have a strategic discussion with someone, you should ask yourself before the discussion starts, ‘What is his shaping trauma?’” Golan said.For Israel, Iran is “much more threatening compared to the Daesh threat,” Golan asserted, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS, “because the Iranians are sophisticated, they are a higher form of civilization, they have a nice academic infrastructure, nice industry, good scientists, many talented young people.“They are very similar to us,” he said. “And because they are similar to us, they are much, much more dangerous.”Golan said that Israel has dealt for years with Islamic State-styled fighters, and has over the course of those years has learned how to cope.But its leadership has yet to come up with a strategy to fully counter the Iranian threat, he added.Golan expressed alarm over Iran’s growing presence in Syria, days after Israeli forces allegedly conducted an air raid against a Syrian chemical weapons plant.
The Iranians are reportedly helping Syria with its weapons manufacturing, and are even building missile production sites within Syria itself for easy transfer of precision weapons to Hezbollah forces.“A good peace is a peace based on values. Another form of peace [is] based on interests. And in some cases, you don’t have peace – you have hostility with no violence,” Golan said, expressing his best hope for peace in Israel’s region with its neighbors.“This is also a kind of a reasonable situation.”In the Syrian arena, as Iran has aggressively pushed west toward Israel’s border, Moscow has proven itself an operational partner, Golan noted.“Our interest and the Russian interest are not compatible. But I cannot describe the Russian influence only as a negative one,” he said.“It’s not easy. But I think that up to now, I can sum it up as a positive experience. It won’t necessarily remain like that, but hopefully that will be the future.“I don’t think that the Russians are pro-Iranian in their ideology,” Golan added. “They use the Iranian influence on their own behalf.”
Netanyahu: Iran is responsible for more than 80% of Israel"s security problems (credit: GPO)