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Israeli intelligence divided on "who serves Israel's security interests better; the Syrian regime or the resistance"

February 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

With regards to the debate on whether chemical weapons were used in Syria, “Maariv” wrote on its website that there are differences in opinion within Israeli intelligence agencies regarding “who serves Israel’s security interests better; the al-Assad regime or the resistance.”

The newspaper mentioned that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, held a meeting for the “political-security” Ministerial Council for the first time since the formation of the new government to discuss the situation in Syria, and Israel’s responses to the developments.

It also pointed out the differences in opinion within the Israeli intelligence agencies about what action should be taken regarding Syria. One of these agencies said they must focus on the Iranian nuclear program, and in the event that the al-Assad regime falls, the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis would be dealt a harsh blow that would serve the purpose of dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.

The predictions made by another intelligence agency called for the focusing of more attention on the borders between Syria and Israel, and less on the Iranian strategic threat.

Based on the predictions of this agency, the fall of al-Assad will lead to a state of chaos and the dismantlement of the central authority, causing resistance organisations to station themselves on the borders with Israel and redirect their energy to carrying out operations against Israeli targets.

This agency concludes that it is better to allow the two parties in Syria to continue to exhaust each other for as long as possible.

According to intelligence agencies supporting the fall of Al-Assad, “the collapse of the Syrian regime will eliminate the threat posed to Israel by the Syrian army as well as weaken Hezbollah and will cause Iran to lose its ability to retaliate in the event an Israeli attack is launched against it.”

A third point of view that opposes the fall of the Syrian regime noted that the battle between the Syrian army and resistance has led to a regression of the threats posed by the Syrian army on Israel. Moreover, the “Islamic extremist” organisations against al-Assad are distracted with fighting the Syrian Army and, “as long as the opposition is busy fighting, the borders between Israel and Syria will remain calm.”

According to “Maariv”, the position of the Israeli Prime Minister is unclear; he fears the opposition being supplied with arms from the West in a manner that will lead to the determination of the battle with the Syrian regime, and also want to make sure that the “armed groups” will cooperate with the West to reach a political solution. Furthermore, it is unclear if Netanyahu supports military intervention which may lead to the outbreak of a regional war on the northern borders and will divert attention from the Iranian nuclear program.