Photo: AP
Bashar Assad
Photo: AFP

Ahmadinejad to visit Syria

Israeli analyst: Iran worried by possibility of Syria exiting axis of evil

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will arrive in Syria on an official state visit on Thursday, the Iranian media announced this week.


Ahmadinejad is planning to "congratulate (Syrian) President Bashar al-Assad on the beginning of his second seven-year term in office as Syria's president," the official website of the Iranian president stated, adding: "Ahmadinejad is to review (an) expansion of (the) Tehran-Damascus political and economic cooperation... and will probably have meetings with several senior Syrian officials."


Ahead of Ahmadinejad's visit, the Iranian state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) published an extensive interview with Samir al-Taqi, head of the Syrian Foreign Ministry's Strategic Studies Center.


In the interview, Taqi described current tensions in the region as being "extremely sensitive," adding: "The great significance of Ahmadinejad's second visit to Damascus is in the timing of this visit, keeping in mind the US role in Lebanon's internal affairs, the Arab world conflict with Israel, the chaotic conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Iran's nuclear issue, that are hand in hand driving the region into a great explosion."


'Iran continuing to advance nuclear program'

In Israel, however, the visit was viewed by Dr. Boaz Ganor, executive director of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism, as forming part of an Iranian effort to keep Syria onboard the Tehran-Damascus alliance.


"It's not in Iran or Syria’s interest to heat up the region at this time," Ganor told Ynetnews. "Syria's president, Bashar Assad, has his legs rooted in the axis of evil, but he his is facing outwards, towards the US," Ganor said. He added that the Syrian leader was examining the possibility of moving away from his alliance with Iran and winning legitimacy from the international community.


"Ahmadinejad also recognizes this, and his visit is aimed at nailing Assad down and keeping him in of axis of evil. He doesn't want him t to leave the alliance with Iran," Ganor said adding that Ahmadinjad would probably warn Assad "not to fall into an Israeli or American trap."


Yaakov Amidror, formerly a senior officer in the IDF's Military Intelligence Directorate, told Ynetnews that Syria and Iran were "trying to build an alliance based on rejecting stability in the Middle East".


"They have many joint interests, and many problems. Both are facing large amounts of pressure from the West," Amidror added.


Uzi Arad, Director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, said the Iranian threat should be Israel's main focus of attention. Speaking to Ynetnews, he drew attention to what he described as "worrying military signals from Syria," and added that the connection between Iran and Syria is "very disturbing."


"Iran on its part is continuing to advance in its nuclear program, while Syria is arming itself and preparing for the possibility of an ignition in the region. The Israeli military is worried about the possibility of an accident sparking a war (with Syria), and is following with concern Iran's nuclear program and regional activities. Therefore my recommendation, as it has been for years, is to concentrate on the main issue (Iran), and to build up a strategy of increased deterrence and defense based on an increase of power," Arad said.



פרסום ראשון: 07.17.07, 22:21
 new comment
This will delete your current comment