WASHINGTON – In a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Tuesday, Vice Premier Shimon Peres said the Syrian economy is in a terrible state and that its army is outdated.
Peres, who derided Syrian President Bashar Assad by referring to him as “the son of a wise leader,” is expected to meet later on Tuesday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Steve Hadley and Senator Hillary Clinton.
Syrian tank in Yom Kippur War (Archive photo: GPO)
Peres said he does not believe Syria would go to war against Israel alone due to its obsolete military apparatus, adding that he does not foresee a regional war ‘because Jordan and Egypt will not rush to Syria’s side.’
Syria has enjoyed the best of both worlds for a long time, but now it must decide whether it is part of the terror camp or part of the camp that is battling terror, he said.
Peres went on to say that Iran’s strength derives from the weakness of the international community, adding that the Security Council vote on Iran’s nuclear program, which is scheduled for Monday, is a first sign of world unity.
'No wars without mistakes'
"The Iranian nuclear issue is more important than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Peres said.
As for the war against Hizbullah, Peres said it marked the first time that a democratic country was fighting a terror group that has no uniforms or boundaries but was equipped with hundreds of modern rockets and missiles.
He said the terror organizations hoped for Israel’s psychological, economic and physical collapse, which would never happen ‘because Israel is unified like never before.’
Turning his attention to the incident in the Lebanese village of Qana, Peres said ‘there are no wars without mistakes,’ adding that ‘the biggest mistake is war itself.’ The vice Premier mentioned the accidental bombardment of the Chinese embassy in Kosovo by US Forces.