The former head of Israel’s military intelligence, Aman, called on Monday for a parallel agreement between the United States and Israel to mitigate the “problematic” elements sown by the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers.
Writing for Israel’s Institute of National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, a former Israel Air Force pilot who was also the IDF attache in Washington, said the nuclear agreement between Iran and the U.S.-led P5+1 presents Israel with several “potential dangers,” most notably that Iran will renege on its commitments or exploit the deal itself to dash for nuclear weapons, whether domestically or by acquiring or developing nuclear weapons in another country.
To counter this and the conventional threats Iran poses through its missile programs, regional meddling and support for terrorist proxies — such as Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border — the U.S. and Israel should negotiate a 10-year memorandum of understanding, also suggested by President Barack Obama, to ensure Israel’s security. This understanding should include concrete measures to counter the nuclear and conventional threats posed by Tehran.
Among Yadlin’s more creative suggestions is working to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s “murderous” regime, which is closely allied with Iran and its powerful Revolutionary Guard. The Guard’s secretive Quds Force operates to spread the regime’s “Islamic Revolution” outside Iranian territory, and the group has focused its efforts on the Syrian civil war in recent years, apparently to guarantee that Assad remains in power.
Yadlin said working with the U.S. to remove Assad from power, as well as working to isolate Hezbollah and stop the flow of weapons to the Lebanese group, which has been heavily engaged in defending the Assad regime from competing factions, would be an effective blow to Iranian interference in the eastern Mediterranean.
Additionally, Yadlin said, the U.S. should promote recognition of Israeli sovereignty in its share of the Golan Heights captured from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War, especially given Syria’s precipitous “dissolution.” He also said the U.S. should recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move its embassy there from Tel Aviv, even without a separate accord between Israel and the Palestinians.
This, Yadlin said, is especially relevant, as U.S.-Israeli relations hit a critical snag due to the nuclear deal with Iran, and such political measures would demonstrate to Iran “the strength of their bilateral alliance, and the far-reaching levels of support Israel enjoys among the American people and in Congress.”
Yadlin was responding in part to a missive sent by Obama to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) shortly before the New York Democrat announced his support for the deal — much to the chagrin of a very vocal group of his constituents — which discussed 10-year agreements on U.S. military funding, co-development of new missile defense systems, tunnel detection and mapping technologies.
Yadlin said the threats outlined by Obama paled in comparison to the strategic threat of a nuclear Iran.
“It is important to understand, however, that compared to the strategic nuclear threat emanating from Iran, issues like tunneling are of tactical, secondary importance. The potential risk they pose to Israel is orders of magnitude lower than the risk posed by Iran and its proxies,” he wrote.