Mideast Expert: Syria’s WMD Could Fall to Islamists

Monday, 22 Aug 2011 07:30 PM

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Israel is “very concerned” over the potential fall of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, according to Yaakov Katz, Israeli military expert and defense correspondent for the Jerusalem Post.

“All of this extensive, advanced weaponry that Assad has manufactured and hoarded over the past decade will find itself in the hands of people who might even be more radical than Assad, and who don’t have the political calculations that he had.”

In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Katz also suggests a more positive scenario: “If Assad will fall, the supply line to Hezbollah will be cut off and Iran will find itself more isolated without the friend it used to have in Syria. That could be a very good outcome for Israel. At the same time though, Israel is very concerned [that] no one in the world can say who will be the potential successor in Syria.

“[Assad] has an extensive chemical weapons program, and thousands of SCUD missiles . . . that could do a lot of damage against Israel,” Katz says, reasoning that western powers were able to militarily intervene in Libya because, “There was basically no place for Libya to respond to. On the other hand, If the United States or NATO starts to bomb Syria, Assad could fire SCUD missiles into Israel.

“It’s an extremely dangerous time, mostly characterized by uncertainty . . . a level of which hasn’t been seen for years. Israel could find itself as not only the only democracy in the Middle East, but the only country that’s not run by radical Islamists.

“Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel hasn’t faced enemies on its northern and southern fronts,” says Katz, regarding the tense situation on Israel’s border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where a Palestinian terror attack last week killed eight Israelis and ignited a round of fighting between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“Sinai has turned into a lawless Wild West of sorts. The Egyptians have completely lost the Sinai and are now trying to restore law and order, and Israel is allowing Egypt to deploy forces inside of the Sinai.”

Per the peace treaty signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, the peninsula was to remain demilitarized. “Israel is bending the peace treaty to allow them to insert those troops,” Katz explains.

After striking targets in Gaza through the weekend, Israel agreed to a ceasefire on Monday for two reasons, according to Katz: “What happens in Gaza affects Israel’s ties with Egypt. An Israeli onslaught against Gaza today is something the Egyptians refuse to accept.”

Also, “Israel restrained itself to some extent because of the potential diplomatic and international fallout it would face ahead of September,” when the Palestinians plan to ask the United Nations General Assembly to grant statehood to Palestine.

“Gaza today is linked to what’s happening in Egypt, and that’s due to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood is a growing force in Egypt, particularly on the political level . . . [and] is the founding fathers of Hamas.”

The Muslim Brotherhood aren’t the only players behind the scenes, according to Katz: “It’s all under the umbrella of the Islamic regime of Iran.”

“The weaponry comes from Iran, some are produced in Gaza with Iranian tech and knowhow. The model of the most recent attack [against Israel] was very similar to some IDF officers who are familiar with fighting in Lebanon against Hezbollah . . . It’s almost like they come off the assembly line straight out of Iran.”



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