Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, also known as Aman, is expecting for Egyptians to thwart the military dictatorship of Egypt’s Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. On account of Egyptians’ growing awareness of their rights and desire to be liberated from a state of fear, Yadlin reasons that they will no longer accept living under military rule.
Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper published Yadlin’s analysis on Tuesday. In the report, he noted that those Egyptians who refuse military rule represent a major strategic risk to Israel in 2014, since they encourage instability and diminish the state’s ability to impose its control over the Sinai, which in turn increases the chances of global jihadist organisations targeting Israel.
Yadlin, who heads Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, added that the outbreak of the “Arab Spring” in 2011 had liberated Egyptians from their “fear factor” and thus reduced the military’s chances of survival in 2014.
However, Yadlin also recognised that the power balance tilted in 2013 towards Israel both on the Egyptian and the Syrian fronts. According to Yadlin’s analysis: “the Egyptian army, which constitutes Israel’s most supportive organisation among Egypt’s executive institutions, removed the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and waged a relentless war against terrorist organisations, mainly Hamas, while Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime has succeeded to stay in power; both developments have narrowed down Israel’s strategic threats in 2013 that followed the outbreak of the Arab Spring”.
The Egyptian Army, Yadlin explained, has played the main role in serving Israel’s interest by protecting the Camp David peace treaty, which constitutes Israel’s most important pillar of national security.
On the other hand, the Syrian army has been preoccupied with its war against its own people, and this has significantly weakened the army and left it in a state of near collapse after having lost most of its arsenal. Yadlin stressed that when President Al-Assad volunteered to give up his chemical weapons arsenal, this removed a major strategic threat that had worried Israel for a long time. He also explained that, “2013 has witnessed an unprecedented state of convergence between Israel and ‘moderate Sunni Muslims countries’, mainly the Gulf States, especially in regards to their positions towards Syria, Egypt and Iran.”
Remarking on the Palestinian front, Yadlin explained that: “The Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, was weakened when it lost its alliance with the Syrian-Iranian axis in 2012, and then lost its relationship with Egypt following the military coup against Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi. This in turn has strengthened the Palestinian Authority’s position to resume negotiations with Israel and helped decrease diplomatic and international pressure against Israel, as well as slowed down, albeit temporarily, the pace of the campaign to delegitimise Israel that has grown in recent years.”
Meanwhile, Yadlin warned of catastrophic risks if the US role in the Middle East region continues to weaken, especially because it would harm the US-Israel strategic partnership, which represents “a major pillar to Israel’s national security and an essential factor in Israel’s deterrence force”.
According to Yadlin, “The US position was weakened after the current administration failed to use force to deal with several issues.” He added that: “The Obama administration, which clearly favours South East Asia over the Middle East, due to strategic and economic considerations, has decreased America’s role in the Middle East. The US has succeeded in developing the technological capacity to extract oil and gas from scratch, which encourages it to disregard the region or even to leave it entirely.” However, he warned that there is no substitute for the relationship with the US, as “there is no country in the world that could employ its resources to serve Israeli interests as much as the US does”.
In a different context, Yadlin pointed out that Israel’s major threat in 2014 could potentially be the failure of the West and Iran to reach a final agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme, leaving the interim agreement to serve as a final agreement, which would allow Iran to remain on the brink of gaining nuclear weapons capabilities. He called on Tel Aviv to speed up reaching a comprehensive understanding with the Obama administration on the red lines that must be met in the final agreement between Iran and the West, and noted that Israel will have to take tough decisions on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme in 2014.
The Jerusalem Post newspaper noted that Yadlin’s report will be put for discussion at a major conference to be organised by the Institute for National Security Studies in March.