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December 20, 2018 12:02 pm

Israeli Security Experts Weigh in on US Withdrawal From Syria, Emphasize Ongoing Iran Threat

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque.

A number of Israeli security experts have weighed in on US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, emphasizing the ongoing threat posed by Iran and the need for Israel to defend itself by itself.

Veteran journalist Ehud Yaari wrote on the Hebrew news site Mako that Trump was “applying the policies of his predecessor, Barack Obama: to uproot the US from the Middle East, because he thinks there is no great advantage to this presence.”

“We are talking about a dark day for the State of Israel,” Yaari added, because the American pullout meant the American-enforced separation between Iran’s Shi’a militias in Iraq and the Tehran regime’s allies in Syria — dictator Bashar Assad and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah — would “disappear.”

As a consequence of the US move, Assad’s forces would be able to take over the border area with Iraq, creating a clear passageway between Iran’s proxies in both countries, predicted Yaari.

Writing on Twitter, former IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin — currently the head of the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) — sounded a more reassuring note.

“There’s no reason to panic,” he asserted. “Israel was and remains the only actor enforcing red lines on the Iranians. Israel has always been defending itself, and seeks no foreign forces’ defense. Not even by our greatest friend and ally — the US.”

While noting that “Trump’s decision embolden its rivals which are committed to the region on the long term: Russia, Iran, Assad and ISIS,” Yadlin nonetheless posited, “there is no reason for immediate or military concern.”

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak also took to Twitter and expressed similar confidence, pointing out, “Israel alone is responsible for its future and destiny.”

Barak, however, strongly criticized the president’s decision, saying, “Trump abandons Syria and the Iranians are celebrating. Endless photo ops cannot conceal the truth.”

Appearing to make a dig at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close ties with Trump, Barak added, “True support for us will come when we are strong and stop surrendering to power.”

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